What to do when your own number appears to ring your home phone

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1 Ask Kurt What to do when your own number rings your landline


If you are like me and refuse to give up your home landline, you’re probably no stranger to… well, strange calls. Landlines are more prone to spam calls than cellphones, which offer better call-blocking options

If you’re used to getting the occasional spam call on your landline, you likely already have a system in place to handle it. Perhaps you just hang up the call as soon as you see a number you don’t recognize (or, maybe you recognize it at this point because they call so much!). Or, maybe you even pick up the line and give them a piece of your mind. However, is this the right thing to do?

And what happens when your landline rings and the caller ID lists your number? Strange, right? This is what happened to one of our CyberGuy Report subscribers, who reached out to ask us about it. Crazy as it sounds, this person said the scammer got a hold of their home phone number and used it to call the same number they were spoofing. This is obviously a bit more of a cause for concern than ordinary scammers.

Man yelling into the phone (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)

Maybe you pick up the line and give spam callers a piece of your mind. But is this the right thing to do? (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

If the scammer appears to be calling from your own number

Now, if the scammer you’re seeing on your caller ID seems like they are calling from your own landline phone number, you’ll want to do the steps above in addition to the three steps below:

1) Alert your phone provider: If your number has been spoofed, you should inform your phone company as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, they may be able to guide you on the best way to proceed.

2) Get your personal information offline: There are several ways that phone spoofers can hijack your phone number, but it’s most likely because they can easily find personal information online. There are several tools you can use to find where your personal information is lurking online and get it offline, away from scammers who want to steal your information and exploit that information, whether to commit identity theft or something else.

While no service promises to remove all your data from the internet, having a removal service is great if you want to constantly monitor and automate the process of removing your information from hundreds of sites continuously over a longer period of time. Check out my top picks for data removal services here.

3) Change your number: If all else fails and your phone company is not really able to help, a good idea is to change your home phone number altogether. While you may not want to do this, it may be the only solution, especially if the scammer continues to call you on your same number and if friends and family are getting those calls as well.

Man talking on a landline phone (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson

Engaging with unknown callers can expose you to scams or other forms of fraud. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

HOW TO STOP PHONE NUMBER SPOOFING AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMMERS

3 reasons not to engage with scammers who call you

Now, let’s shift our focus to why it’s best not to engage with scammers who call you, regardless of whether they’re using your own phone number or another one. Here are a few reasons why: 

1) Safety: Engaging with unknown callers can potentially expose you to scams or other forms of fraud.

2) Privacy: Even if you’re giving them a hard time, they might still be gathering information about you in the meantime. And, now, with AI voice scams, these scammers can clone your voice to use for other types of scams.

3) Encouragement: Responding to these calls, even negatively, can signal to the caller that your number is active, which might lead to more calls.

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Man talking on a landline phone (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)

Ask yourself one simple question: “Did I ask for this call?” If the answer is no, then hang up. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Stop scam calls: 4 ways to protect yourself

Of course, nobody wants to continue to get scam calls. So, there are a few recommended steps you can take instead:

1) Let the answering machine answer or go to voicemail. This allows you to screen calls without directly engaging with potential scammers. You can avoid direct interaction with them and listen to the message at your convenience to determine if it’s legitimate.

2) Block the numbers: If you notice certain numbers repeatedly calling, you can block them. Take a look at our best landing call-blocking devices. These are especially helpful in blocking robocalls but can also help block individual scammers.

  • Use Star Codes: Many landline phones allow you to block calls by using star codes. For example, you can dial *60 to block specific numbers.
  • Call-Blocking Devices: Devices can be attached to your landline to block unwanted calls. These devices can come preloaded with known spam numbers and allow you to add numbers manually. Check out my favorite call-blocking devices for landlines by clicking here.
  • Service Provider Features: Contact your landline service provider to inquire about any call-blocking features they offer. Some providers have services that can help manage unwanted calls.

3) Report the calls: If you’re in the U.S., you can report unwanted calls to the Federal Trade Commission.

4) Add yourself to the no-call list: Consider adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry, which can help stop some of the scam and telemarketing calls you’re getting.

Remember, while these methods can significantly reduce unwanted calls, it may not be possible to block all spam calls completely. Always exercise caution and avoid sharing personal information over the phone with unknown callers. My rule of thumb involves asking yourself one simple question: “Did I ask for this call?” If the answer is no, then hang up.

HOW TO AVOID BEING DUPED BY ROBOCALLS NOW AND FOREVER

Kurt’s key takeaways

Getting spam calls on your landline is no fun, and even more so when those calls are coming from your own number. Remember, it’s important to protect your personal information and privacy and always to be cautious when dealing with unknown callers. Using the techniques above can help ensure you’re not only using best practices when dealing with scammers but also protecting yourself in the long run from future ones.

How do you think phone companies should address scam calls and caller ID spoofing? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter

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