Fraud summit held in Huntsville, officials warn against caller ID ‘spoofing’

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama ranks 8th in the nation for reported fraud cases according to 2017 data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The most commonly reported fraud claims in 2017 were IRS fraud, imposter scams and identity theft.

Redstone Federal Credit Union partnered with the Better Business Bureau to hold a fraud summit to educate people about risks they face everyday.

The phone rings, but who is on the other end of the line? An FBI special agent says the grandparent scam is very prevalent right now.

"The grandson or granddaughter calls and had a DUI and is in trouble and needs money," Special Agent Christopher Hendon said.

He says more people fall for that than you might think.

"My own mother fell victim to that which is hard to believe."

Redstone Federal Credit Union hosted this summit to talk about very specific ways scammers or fraudsters work to get people to pick up the phone.

"What started the idea for the summit was the significant increase we saw in caller ID spoofing," Jonathan Kirby, Assistant Vice President of Security and Investigations said.

Spoofing is when you get a phone call and for example, the caller ID shows that it's your bank, but actually, a fraudster is on the other end.

"We've had reports from 100's of folks that have had this happen," Kirby said.

Kirby says they were recently used in this kind of scam. Fraudsters were calling clients asking them to validate their cards by providing the three numbers on the back.

"And we would never ask you for that information to validate the card," Kirby said.

He says in this day and age, it can literally pay to be vigilant and recommends to immediately hang up if someone ever has any doubt about who is on the other end of the phone.

If you are a victim of identity theft, a representative from the FTC recommends checking out this website: https://www.identitytheft.gov/