Phone scammers using 'digit spoofing' to mock your friend's numbers

(NBC) - It looks like a friend is calling you, but it may actually be a phone scam.

According to Truecaller, more than $9-billion was lost due to phone scams in 2017. That's up from $7.4 billion in 2015.

And more than 7 million complaints were filed with the national do not call registry last year according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Experts say scammers are increasingly spoofing phone numbers to make them look familiar to consumers on the other end.

Some numbers may even use your same area code or the first six digits of a friend's phone number to make you take notice and pick up the call.

Half of all phone scams today use this tactic of digit spoofing. To avoid this type of phone scam, experts say if a phone number looks familiar but something seems off, just tell the person you'll call them back.

You can also add your name to the national do not call registry. And if you're not expecting any phone calls, just refrain from answering.