Harassing phone calls that come to phones from a four-digit number have become an everyday problem for one Utah woman, who is now afraid to be identified for fear the scammers may track her down.
“He started going off and wouldn’t stop calling me really bad names and using foul language,” the woman said of the time she finally picked up — after a dozen previous calls she didn’t answer.
The Davis County woman said the call she answered began with the man offering to email her information about some colleges, and then turned into him probing her for personal information. He already had her name and email.
He started harassing her, she said, when she asked to be placed on his “do not call” list, and he didn’t stop until she hung up the phone.
“If anything, that made me even more nervous of the number and more hesitant on why he’s calling,” she said.
The call came in as just four digits — 1002.
A quick check around the Web revealed others have been falling victim to calls from the same number.
“He made personal threats and threatened to hack my bank account,” one person posted.
Nobody knows exactly how this scam is being done, but KSL discovered it is fairly easy to replicate the same scam through a caller ID spoofing service.
The particular website KSL found offered users the ability to generate the numbers they wanted to appear on caller ID. The site featured “pay as you go” rates and even the ability to disguise a voice.
There is a federal law prohibiting caller ID spoofing for the purpose of defrauding or otherwise causing harm to someone.
It remains unclear whether Davis County sheriff’s investigators will be able to track down those responsible.
“I’m not sure how able they’re going to be to be able to make contact with these people,” Sgt. Susan Poulsen said.
Still, she acknowledged it was early in the investigation.
Poulsen wasn’t certain what kind of technology the scammers in this case were using. She acknowledged some sort of number-generating software was likely involved.
The woman said she doesn’t believe she will be able to stop the calls.
“I went into my phone provider and they said they cannot block it because it is a four-digit number,” she said.
Poulsen said some reported cases across the country involved scenarios where the calls continued for as long as a year.
Sheriff’s investigators recommend that people not answer numbers they don’t trust, and if the calls prove to be too harassing over time, changing a phone number could be a possibility.
Andrew Adams is a multimedia journalist for KSL NewsRadio and KSL-TV. His work also regularly appears in the Deseret News. EMAIL: email@example.com