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ACG-CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN NO 143 UNDERSTANDING ROBOCALLS SCAM AND NEIGHBOR SPOOFING

The following information was obtained from different cyber security sources for notification to all parties concerned pursuant to the mandate of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG).

The information provided was classified as “Restricted” pursuant to the PNP Regulation 200-012 on Document Security and Impact Rating as high based on PNP Information Communication Technology (ICT) Security Manual s.2010-01 p. 22 and p.129.

SUMMARY

Are you experiencing an increase in the number of local calls to your home and/or cell phone?  This phenomenon is called “neighbor spoofing” and it’s the latest caller ID spoof strategy being used by phone scam artists in an attempt to get people to answer the phone.  While robocalls scam is phone calls with pre-recorded messages. These calls have increased in recent years because technology has made it cheap and easy for robocallers to make calls from anywhere in the world while hiding their identities by displaying fake Caller ID information.

For phone scams to be successful, scammers need people to pick up the phone so they can initiate the conversation. Neighbor spoofing uses a spoof caller ID to trick a person into thinking somebody local, possibly even someone they know is calling.

Answering one of these caller ID spoofed calls will indicate to the robocaller that you have an active phone line.  Active phone lines are valuable to phone scammers and will often put you on what is referred to as a “sucker list,” potentially opening your phone line up to more scam calls.

These unwanted calls can be way more than mere annoyances; some of them are crimes waiting to happen. More than 25 percent of these calls come from scammers looking for victims to defraud of money, identity information or both.            

Whilst the majority of the population has the sense to hang up on scammers, the sheer number of robocalls means some gullible individuals inevitably fall victim to the fraudsters, who often use fake caller IDs to aid their deception.

Once you determine that the caller is trying to sell you something or scam you by collecting personal information, hang up. If it's a robocall, avoid speaking or pressing buttons, even if the recording instructs you to do so in order to stop receiving calls.  

Most mobile phones have built-in call-blocking options, but these generally block single numbers on individual devices. Scammers and robocallers use rotating numbers, so built-in blocking is unlikely to prevent future spoofed calls.

RECOMMENDATION

All PNP personnel as well as the public are advised to follow the tips in order to avoid the risk of Robocalls and Neighbor Spoofing, to wit:

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller - or a recording - asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with "Yes" or "No."
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls

For additional information, please refer to the following websites:

  • hhttps://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-robocalls-and-texts
  • https://www.verizon.com/support/consumer/consumer-education/robocalls/nomoroboI
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocall
  • https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stop-robocalls-scam-phone-calls_us_5b05da80e4b05f0fc8445c6c
  • https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id
  • https://www.bbb.org/en/us/article/news-releases/16670-a-new-kind-of-phone-scam-neighbor-spoofing

POINT OF CONTACT

            Please contact PCINSP ANGELICA STARLIGHT L. RIVERA, Chief, Personnel Records Management Section thru e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact us on telephone number (632) 7230401 local 3562 for any inquiries related to this CYBER SECURITY BULLETIN.