Caller ID Spoofing

It has come to our attention that the Clearwater County Courthouse phone number is being used for Caller ID spoofing in the area. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines Caller ID spoofing as follows: "Caller ID spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. It is often used as a part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally."  Unfortunately, Caller ID spoofing is quite difficult to stop and although we would like a simple resolution to this issue, the only option for us would be to change our telephone number and that is not a practical solution for this issue.

The FCC has provided some ways you can avoid spoofing scams and they include:

1. Not answering phone calls from unknown numbers and if you do answer the call, hang up immediately.
2. If there is a recording when you answer the call and it asks you to press a button to stop getting calls, please hang up. Scammers will use this to identify potential targets.
3. Do not respond to "yes" or "no" questions.
4. Never give out personal information including account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or any other identifying information to unknown callers, especially if you are at all suspicious.
5. If you get a call from someone who says they represent an organization or government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, or look on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
6. Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
7. If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
8. Talk to your phone company about blocking tools they may have and check into apps you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on robocall blocking tools are available at https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-robocalls-and-texts

We would like to thank you for your attention to this matter and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have additional questions about Caller ID spoofing scams, please contact your phone provider.