September 8, 2020

Spammed by a local call? Here's how to stop neighbor spoofing (updated for 2023)

Spammed by a local call? Here's how to stop neighbor spoofing (updated for 2023)

Neighbor spoofing is spam callers' newest trick. It’s become more prevalent as consumers get wise to phone spam and as apps like Robokiller get better and better at blocking unwanted spam, telemarketing, and robocalls.

Really, it only makes sense that the bad guys would get more sophisticated. They’re trying to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. And they’re using neighbor spoofing to try.

Neighbor spoofing is a new strategy that spam callers use, worldwide — designed to trick you into answering the phone. Not only is neighbor spoofing legally questionable, it’s a massive threat to the security of your personal information.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to effectively stop neighbor spoofing.

  1. What is neighbor spoofing?
  2. How does neighbor spoofing work?
  3. Why is neighbor spoofing a threat to your safety and privacy?
  4. How can you stop neighbor spoofing, for good?

What is neighbor spoofing?

Neighbor spoofing is used by telemarketers, scammers, and robocallers to make spam calls even more difficult to detect. It uses auto-dialing and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services to send unsolicited phone calls that trick caller ID.

The Federal Trade Commission explains it like this:

"Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal? Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust, like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with, like your bank or cable provider."

Why’s neighbor spoofing so successful? Easy. It’s because people believe someone important is trying to contact them. It's a mind game. Recipients may not have expressed interest in receiving the call, but because it looks like a local call — they might think someone’s trying to reach them with important news. Possibly their bank, the government, or law enforcement. That’s exactly why scammers tend to use local numbers. It makes their calls appear genuine — until the recipient takes the call, at least.

Often, these calls are for fraudulent purposes, where scammers will try to sell a fake product or ask the recipient to provide their bank details. For people who "fall" for this type of scam, the consequences can be devastating. For others, caller ID spoofing is simply a huge annoyance.

Here are some facts about caller ID spoofing:

  • In 2018, around 70% of scam calls in the US used local neighborhood numbers
  • In 2018, more than 26% of all calls in the US were robocalls
  • Experts predicted that, by the end of 2019, 45% of all calls in the US will be robocalls, and many of these will use spoofed numbers

By mimicking their caller ID as closely as possible to the phone number they are placing the call to, spammers can trick more of their targets into answering the phone. This strategy ultimately increases the odds that spammers will successfully get victims to give up personal information that the scammers can use to steal.

If you live in the U.S., caller ID spoofing is technically legal, except for one important caveat. If a caller’s intent is to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, then the call is illegal. That rule was a key point in the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009.

In addition to enforcing these rules about spoofing, penalties up to $10,000 per violation could be imposed. Sadly, though, most scammers operate outside the U.S. and aren’t afraid of these fines.

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How does neighbor spoofing work?

Back before mobile phones (really, there was once a time), phone numbers were given out on a local basis. Just by looking at a phone number it was easy to associate a rough location with the number.

So, if your phone number was 203-950-2317, anyone could guess that your 203 area code (“NPA” in technical jargon) put you in Connecticut, and your 950 local exchange (“NXX” in technical speak) put you in a specific town.

The same process is still valid today to some extent, but as area codes and exchanges get crowded, and as people move between cities while keeping their old numbers, it's now less exact. So, if your area code is 908 and your local exchange is 555, your NPA-NXX would be 908-555.

Here is how you can identify your phone number’s NPA-NXX to identify incoming neighbor spoofed spam calls:

stop neighbor spoofing

Neighbor spoofing is a simple process

Caller ID spoofing is a practice where scammers falsify the information that appears on your caller ID screen. They use third-party call spoofing technology to call your phone with a false phone number. The spammers’ technology allows them to send a high volume of neighbor spoofed spam calls at the push of a button.

Here's an example of neighbor spoofing in action:

  • Scammers use clever software to set up robocalls
  • Scammers can make any name or number appear on your caller ID, such as a number with a local area code or the number of someone you should trust, like the government
  • Scammers can make millions of calls over the internet in just a few minutes

Spam callers hope they will trick you into answering because it looks like a phone number you might recognize. Often enough, it works because people would prefer to take a chance at dealing with a spammer than miss an urgent phone call.

Spammers use neighbor spoofing to play mind games

stop neighbor spoofing

When we see an incoming call from a number that starts with the same six digits as our own, we are much more likely to answer it. It's easy to be duped by this clever and villainous tactic.

Neighbor spoofed spam calls look and feel like a regular phone call. They typically happen during the day and look precisely like they are from the same neighborhood as us. It is entirely rational to confuse a neighbor-spoofed call for a call from your child’s school or the doctor, for instance. You may think it’s a critical message that you do not want to miss. Spammers use this to their advantage.

Neighbor spoofed spam calls do not contain any info to help you or your family. Neighbor spoofing is illegal, and is intended to steal something from you: your time, your money, your identity, and your security.

Take easy steps to stop neighbor spoofing robocalls

stop neighbor spoofing

Want to stop scammers from getting through to you? There are some simple steps you can take to slow down the spoofing, but they won’t completely put a stop to spam calls. You can try these steps:

  1. Don’t answer calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize. Let the call go to voicemail even if a number appears to be local
  2. Neighbor spoofed calls can appear to be coming from doctor’s offices, pharmacies, local law enforcement, or even your child’s school. If you aren’t 100% sure whether the call is legitimate, ignore the call and check the voicemail if the caller leaves one
  3. Register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry. Most spam calls originate from illegal operations who pay no attention to this government list. However, it may cut down the number of calls you received from legitimate telemarketers
  4. You could block all calls from a specific NPA-NXX. But, that solution has two obvious pitfalls: It’s overkill, and it can cause you to miss legitimate calls

How can you stop neighbor spoofing for good?

Not only are neighbor-spoofed phone calls a nuisance in our busy lives, they can also be a danger. But the unfortunate reality? Few practical solutions will stop neighbor spoofing completely.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could block these calls based not just on the phone number, but by knowing what is happening in the actual call? You can. Robocall blocker apps are made for this, and downloading an app to block spam calls on your iPhone or Android is the most effective solution to combat dangerous neighbor spoofing.

Robocall blocker apps like Robokiller put a stop to spam calls. Many even create a nationally sourced database of prominent NPA-NXX phone numbers that are likely being used for phone scams, ensuring protection from the prominent scam callers.

Here's how you can beat phone scammers that spoof

Follow these simple steps to stop neighbor spoofing on your iPhone or Android phone:

  1. Go to the Apple App Store
  2. Search for “Robokiller” and tap "Download"
  3. Open the Robokiller app and tap “Continue” to begin signup
  4. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll be asked to enable Robokiller’s “Call Blocking & Identification” extensions in your phone Settings

If you already have Robokiller, here’s how you can enable Neighbor Spoof Blocking:

  1. Open the Robokiller app and go to Settings ⚙️ on the bottom right of the app's screen
  2. Tap Blocking Settings
  3. Turn the switch next to Neighbor Spoof Blocking to its ON position

If your spouse or other family members have phone numbers similar to yours, they will not be blocked as long as their numbers are saved in your contacts

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Robokiller is the #1 solution to stop your neighbor spoofing problem

Robokiller is the #1 app to stop the spam calls and neighbor spoofing madness. Unlike most robocall blocker apps, Robokiller is designed to valiantly fight illegal scammers, spammers, and robocallers.

With Robokiller, you can effectively block neighbor spoofing spam calls and take revenge on illegal spammers. Here’s how.

Robokiller uses a highly sophisticated (and also patented and award-winning) audio fingerprinting system to analyze the audio of every single spam call. While the numbers may be spoofed, the actual call is almost always the same. They come from a robocall or even a call center somewhere in another country.

Robokiller uses this “fingerprint” to tell if the call is from a good guy or a bad, regardless of the phone number it appears to be originating from.

What does that mean for you? Robokiller can tell you which NPA-NXX calls are the ones you want and which you don’t. There is nothing you need to do except sit back and know that with Robokiller you’re getting the industry’s best spam and neighbor spoof call protection — and you’re taking action in the fight against the robocall epidemic.

When you use Robokiller, you are protecting yourself from spam AND making a significant impact on the worldwide epidemic of illegal spam calls. You’re helping to prevent other people from getting scammed over the phone, too.

Robokiller users can drain financial resources, countless hours, and erode the morale of unlawful spam callers. If you fight for a phone free from spam calls, we highly recommended you try Robokiller today!

Start your free one-week trial of Robokiller today!

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You’re one step away from a spam-free phone (and a little poetic justice, thanks to Answer Bots).
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