“Caller ID spoofing” occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing. This phone scam is a relatively new tactic used by telemarketers to make robo-calls using local phone numbers to mask their real identity to lure the recipient into answering the phone. New technology has made spoofing easier to do and harder to detect. PIE&G received a recent report from a member who received a call where the caller ID displayed “PIE&G”. When the member answered the call, there was a recording announcing a sales pitch to a resort for a vacation offer.

Related scams include callers claiming to be from your utility (or from the IRS) demanding that you pay your electric bill (or back taxes) immediately by credit card to avoid immediate shut off (or to avoid arrest and jail time). Scammers often use these types of threats and urgency to pressure you into giving them your bank account or credit card number or loading a pre-paid credit or debit card.

If you receive a robo-call involving “caller ID spoofing”, hang up. Don’t press 1 “to speak to a live operator” or any other phone key “to take your number off the list”. Don’t say “yes” to any questions the caller may ask. News reports were that scammers were recording these affirmative answers to commit identity theft or to fraudulently open credit cards. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers some great tips online about this scam (www.FCC.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id ).

If you have any doubts about a call from Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, get the person’s name, hang up and contact our Member Services department in person or by phone at 1-800-423-6634 to report it.