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If you rely on caller ID, beware of spoofing

Wednesday - 9/19/2012, 2:06pm  ET

Blocked Phone
Callers can block their name and number from caller ID by dialing *67 before dialing a phone number. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Caller ID does not always do its job of alerting recipients of phony numbers.

The Federal Communications Commission warns of caller ID "spoofing" that can make nefarious incoming calls appear to come from a bank, charity or government agency.

Crooks can manipulate caller ID to try to trick people into revealing personal information. But people who want to remain anonymous can turn caller ID off to block their names and the source of calls they are placing.

The FCC says consumers should never reveal to unsolicited callers data such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, date of birth or a mother's maiden name.

To determine whether a call is legitimate, WTOP Call for Action Director Shirley Rooker recommends collecting the caller's name and phone number and returning the call after finding the caller's phone number from an independent source such as an official website or account statement.

Consumers who wish to have their phone numbers blocked from caller ID can place calls anonymously by dialing *67 prior to dialing a phone number.

The recipient's caller ID will show the incoming call as "blocked" or "unknown." The blockage works for one call at a time. *67 must be re-dialed prior to each new call.

The FCC wants to know about ID spoofers. Complaints can be filed online at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints or over the phone. Call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

Follow Kristi King and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Tags: caller idfcc