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Half of calls to your cellphone next year will be scams: report

(iStock Photo)

'Neighbourhood spoofing' is becoming commonplace, fraudsters also posing as banks 'advising of data breaches'

Fraudsters prey on people's fear, are able to stay ahead of police by constantly changing their numbers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You think you get a lot of scammers calling your cellphone now? It seems the problem is only going to get worse.

A company that provides carriers and their customers caller ID and call blocking technology claims almost half of all calls you’ll get next year will be from scammers.

Jonathan Sasse with First Orion says “neighbourhood spoofing” is becoming more common these days. That’s where the scammers appear to be calling from a local number in the hopes that you’ll actually pick up the line.

“They’re masking their phone number to look more like your phone number. So, when your phone rings, you’re more likely to think it’s something you should potentially answer. Often, on the other line is a seasoned criminal who’s looking to take your information, your money, or both.”

Fraudsters are also paying attention to the news.

“When there are breaches, people will pose as banks, letting them know that ‘their account has been compromised’ and they need to provide some information. Consumers will sometimes give up some information very quickly, thinking that is their bank,” says Sasse.

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Sasse says fraudsters prey on people’s fear, and are able to stay ahead of the police because they’re changing their numbers all the time. “Because of the types of technology and the way that they can masquerade their numbers, scammers are hitting our cellphones really hard. Frankly, because it’s effective.”

He adds the criminals simply disregard whatever laws are out there. “They are intentionally breaking the law. They’re moving fast and they’re changing their numbers quickly.”

The numbers can be changed within minutes, says Sasse.

“Call-blocking solutions for your phone can provide a certain level of security. But for these types of scam techniques, really, the kind of solution that’s needed is something inside the carrier network… in order to ensure that the call patterns — call behaviour — from those scammers is something that can be detected, rather than the actual number itself.”

This warning comes the same day the CBC reports many callers behind one of the most common scams — one where someone claims to be from the Canada Revenue Agency and says you owe money — are based out of India.

 – With files from Mike Lloyd