North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice

North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

Scammers Use Caller ID to Pose as Cops

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Caller ID is helpful, but it isn’t foolproof. In fact, tech-savvy scammers can use it to pose as legitimate businesses or even the police to try to fool you.

In a scam reported in Rockingham County this week, a business owner got a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The caller said she owed back taxes and needed to pay them immediately, similar to other fraudulent calls we’ve warned you about recently. The business owner became suspicious and hung up.

The woman’s phone rang again, and this time Caller ID indicated that the call was coming from the Rockingham Police Department. When she picked up the phone, the caller threatened to arrest her if she did not pay the phony taxes.

This kind of scam, where crooks make it appear that their calls or emails come from another telephone number or email account, is called “spoofing.” Fraudsters may spoof the number for your power company, your bank, your local government or law enforcement.  This means you can’t rely on Caller ID to provide accurate information about who is calling you.

If you get a call and have questions about whether or not it is coming from the company or government agency listed on your Caller ID, hang up and call the business or agency back at a number you know to be valid.

If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or visiting our website at