"Spoofers" Stole Bellevue Woman's Cell Phone Number; You Could Be Next

(WOWT) - Last week Andrea Ericksen's cell phone was flooded with calls from people she didn't know. She told WOWT 6 News: "They said, 'I just saw a missed phone call from you.' And I said, 'I didn't call you.' Then they said, 'Yeah, I have your number right here.'"

Ericksen contacted her cell phone carrier and was told nothing was wrong with her phone. She said she was advised to get a new SIM card, which she did.

It didn't help, though.

In just one day more than 20 people contacted Ericksen asking who she was and why she called them. However, Ericksen didn't make any of those calls -- scammers did -- using her phone number.

It's called "spoofing," where someone uses a real phone number to create fake caller I.D. information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, spoofing is a technique often used by off-shore telemarketers.

Spoofers will steal local numbers to gain the trust of targets in a certain area. In Ericksen's case, the spoofers who used her number called other numbers in the Metro.

When Ericksen brought the problem to the FTC helpline, she learned all she can do is wait for the scammers to move on and steal someone else's number. Spoofers are nearly impossible to trace.


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