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November 19, 2014

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota residents across the state have been receiving scam recorded messages that appear to come from their own telephone number, said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

“Seeing their own telephone number displayed has consumers worried that their phones may have been hacked. Instead, this is simply the latest effort by scam artists trying to trick people into answering the phone,” said Stenehjem.

According to the reports received by the Consumer Protection Division, the robocalls are variations of the credit card interest rate reduction scams that have been circulating in North Dakota for the last few years. This time, the scam artists are using spoofing technology to display the recipient’s own telephone number.

Scam artists routinely use readily available spoofing technology to hide their true location, and use auto-dialers capable of dialing thousands of telephone numbers a day. These types of scam calls are becoming more prevalent, bombarding consumers across the nation. Because the origin of the phone number being used is blocked it is almost impossible to determine the true location of the scam artists, but federal enforcement authorities believe the calls originate outside the United States.

“Although it may not be possible to stop the scam artists, it may be possible for the telephone companies to block the scam calls,” said Stenehjem.

In September, Stenehjem joined 38 other Attorneys General in a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow telephone carriers to use existing technology to block these types of calls. To date, the FCC has not issued a decision.

Until the FCC authorizes the telephone providers to block these scam calls, Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division, offered the following tips:

  • If you receive a call displaying your own telephone number, do not pick it up.
  • If you pick up a call and it’s a robocall, simply hang up. Do not select any of the options.
  • Never provide or “confirm” any personal information, bank account or credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited telephone call. 

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