QUAD CITIES (KWQC)- I'm sure you've heard the robocall before, asking about a free vacation or your credit card.
The number appears to be local, so you picked up. But, the call could have came in from anywhere.
Telemarketers are now using what is called Caller ID spoofing, which allows them to change the Caller ID number on your phone.
Another method is called neighbor spoofing, which means they change the number to look almost the same as yours. Sometimes just one digit off.
"You cannot participate in caller ID spoofing if your intent is to do any kind of harm or fraud," said Dr. Sayonnha Mandal, a cyber security expert and St. Ambrose Professor. "Telemarketers kind of evade that concept because they're not technically doing any harm, or they don't have intent to do any harm."
Over the last three weeks, I recorded incoming calls from these telemarketers. Some were trying to lower credit card rates, others wanted to fix a computer or sell a cheap vacation.
"Where are you guys located?" I asked to someone on the other line with a number almost identical to my cell number.
"We're here in Orlando," a lady with a bit of a southern accent said.
When I asked about caller ID spoofing, she said it was through a third-party marketing company, but wouldn't provide more details.
Dr. Mandal says there are ways to prevent these calls from coming to you.
You can block the number in your cell phone's settings. But, that may not be the best option because a telemarketer can just spoof a different number the next time.
Or, if you feel its a scam, you can refer to your local police department.