My mother is not a telemarketer
April 8, 2016 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I just received a phone call from my mom's number (on my cell phone, so it showed up with her photo and everything), but when I picked up it was some scam offering me free nights at a motel. What just happened? How or should I report it? Do I need to worry that that my identity has been compromised?
posted by thecaddy to Technology (10 answers total)
If you look on your cell phone provider's website or bill, you may be able to see what the network itself thought the number was. If it wasn't your mom's number, your phone likely just had a weird bug.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2016

Phone scammers use spoofed (fake) caller ID's all the time. This seems a new twist on the same technique, perhaps picking up a recently called/received number. I wouldn't assume your or your mother's identity has been stolen. You can report this via the FTC website.
posted by Atrahasis at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't worry. I used to get telemarketer calls from a number that was my phone number minus 10 (ie my number 555-555-5555 would be called by 555-555-5545).

Check out the FTC Complaint Assistant.
posted by gregr at 11:03 AM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Could be a coincidence, could also be really accurate databases. Birth records are public, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that your mother's name is connected to yours in their call list. Once they spoof the caller ID number, which is sadly trivial, then your phone provides the name and photo.
posted by wnissen at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2016

Like gregr, I weekly get texts that are one digit off from mine, e.g. 555-1244 instead of 555-1234 or 556-1234 instead of 555-1234 (it varies every time). I ignore them. They don't actually have any valuable data, they are only trying to fool you into voluntarily giving away your data and/or spending your money. Buh-bye.
posted by Melismata at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2016

My guess is that they're collating public records information to try and spoof a number that you'll answer a call from. Totally gross, but probably not anything to worry about.
posted by maniactown at 11:47 AM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Once or twice a week I get calls like this from a number that is very similar to my own. It is really annoying.
posted by trbrts at 12:35 PM on April 8, 2016

The number may have been either luck or science, but the reason they used a fake number when telemarketing to your cellphone is because it's illegal.
posted by rhizome at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

In the last 6 months I have been inundated with spam phone calls where the spoofed phone number is the same area code and prefix as my cell phone, but different last 4 digits. Seems like it would be pretty easy to program into an autodialer. If your mom has the same AC/Prefix as you, they may have just gotten lucky and spoofed a number that happened to be in your contacts list. I seriously doubt there's anything to worry about. "You won a hotel stay" scams are rampant right now.
posted by SquidLips at 8:48 PM on April 8, 2016

My boyfriend has gotten calls FROM HIS OWN CELL NUMBER to himself. Telemarketers spoofed his own phone number. Nothing is off limits for these number spoofers.
posted by MultiFaceted at 4:59 PM on April 9, 2016

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