HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's an all too common occurrence these days: Your phone rings and you pick it up expecting it to be a friend or loved one because that's the number that pops up on your screen. Then it turns out not to be someone you know, but a scammer trying to get your personal information and your money.
"Your power will be cut off." "Your computer has a virus." These are just two of several tactics potential scammers use to get you to give up your information.
And Julia Cherry with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama said they're getting more deceptive every day.
"Nowadays, scammers are so technologically savvy that they can spoof your caller ID to make it look like a large tech company is calling you," she said. "So that could be Apple or Microsoft or any of the other large technology corporations."
In some cases, scammers spoof common numbers of local companies, like Huntsville Utilities, or global companies like Apple.
One of our employees received a scam call from what appeared to be Apple, because, like many other iPhone users, he still had the default contact entry in his phone.
WHNT even received a call from one. Our caller ID said Apple Incorporated. But the caller wasn't from Apple - they'd just spoofed Apple's number.
Scams aren't just limited to local and global companies either. Federal agencies such as the IRS are warning to public to be wary of scams asking for taxes to be paid with gift cards.
Cherry said spoofing is a way scammers can trick caller ID.
"So they can go into the caller ID system and make their number look like a specific number or specific company calling you."
In all cases, Cherry said the advice is the same.
"The best thing to do is hang up, just don't engage. A lot of people get upset and want to say their piece about it to the other person on the line but they don't care. They still know your number is active."
So when the phone rings and you hear a recording about your power getting cut off or your computer needing tech support, follow Cherry's advice - just hang up.