BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – How many times did your phone ring today? Was a scammer on the other end?
The Federal Trade Commission says more than 25,000 people in America are targeted by phone scammers every day – and that’s just the people who report it.
Everyone thought the Do Not Call List would keep those pesky calls away in the past, but Congress is now learning that the list isn’t working anymore.
Bill Spiker works inside Louis Candies in Boardman. He gets dozens of scam and fake calls every day to both his office and personal lines.
The most concerning was one from the electric company. It almost took him in. The caller said they were going to shut off his service if he didn’t pay the bill right away.
The caller said his name was Peter and that he was a certified technician with Ohio Edison. He told Spiker to call and confirm his account to avoid any disconnection. The scammers wanted him to pay $800 right away.
“I went online and looked and looked at Ohio Edison, and they said that is a common scam,” Spiker said. “They are never going to call and ask for immediate payment.”
All of Spiker’s personal numbers are on the Do Not Call registry, but in a hearing in the Senate this month, lawmakers learned that the registry isn’t working as well as it once did.
When the Do Not Call law was passed, companies had to use telephone lines to call you. Now, many calls route through the internet, and it’s very easy to hide your identity online in a way that is impossible to trace. With just a few clicks on a computer, a new number can be created and caller IDs can show that the number is coming from just about anywhere anyone chooses.
This happens tens of thousands of times every day. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate took up the issue on Capitol Hill.
“Scammers don’t pay attention to the law. When they use these spoof technologies to get around it, it is very troublesome,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Shapiro asked the FTC to keep after phone scammers and to help the industry develop new tools to fight against spoofed and scam calls. Lois Greisman with the Federal Trade Commission admits they have a lot of work to do.
“We know we still have a significant consumer protection problem, and I commit to you that we will not let up on our efforts to curb these abusive calls,” Greisman said.
Spiker got curious about the man who tried to scam him. He called the number back that showed up on his caller ID and it was a sex line. Now, he rarely answers the phone.
The FTC advises everyone to report every scam call that comes in. Those can be reported on its website.
While businesses aren’t technically included on the Do Not Call registry, the FTC does go after scam phone calls made to both businesses and personal lines.