Frauds & Scams

The Federal Communications Commission Helps Consumers Avoid Scam Calls

June 20, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: June 20, 2019

You know those robocalls from scammers that you keep getting on your phones? We get them at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), too.

Scammers use a technique known as spoofing to mask their caller ID on your phone and disguise their identities to steal valuable personal information, including your bank account passwords and Social Security number. In one recent case, the toll-free number of the FCC’s Consumer Center was used to disguise the actual incoming call number.

We’ve alerted the public to the problem and have taken measures to prevent this from happening again. We’re aware that the same thing happens with Social Security’s phone number. Some callers may pressure you for personal information or immediate payment; others offer deals that seem too good to be true. The number of calls is daunting, but we are taking action to turn the tide against spoofed robocalls.

The first line of defense is consumer awareness. The FCC provides guidance about spoofing scams and robocalls, including consumer resources for call-blocking apps and other services. We also post timely articles on the FCC Consumer Help Center website to alert you to the latest scams and amplify consumer warnings from Social Security and other government agencies. Consumers can keep track of these alerts by following @FCC on Twitter.

We recommend the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a call scam:

  • Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
  • If the caller is not who you were expecting, hang up immediately.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, or other identifying information if a call seems suspicious.

In its continuing efforts to help stifle malicious phone scams, the FCC empowered phone companies to aggressively block by default unwanted and illegal robocalls before they reach consumers.

It’s all about safeguarding the American public. We’ll continue to partner with Social Security, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies to get the job done.

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About the Author

Patrick Webre, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission


  1. Pauline D.

    If the phone companies have been empowered to block these robocall, why are these calls increasing? Example, this week my home home and my cell phone both rang at the same time with the same number displayed. I must get on average 8 calls a day on each of our phones that we have (home phone & 3 cell phones).
    Why can’t the phone companies make it impossible for anyone to change the phone number displayed in order for the call to go through. Make the call disabled at time of originating the call if it the not the actual true number.

  2. Frank G.

    Get as many as a dozen calls per day from robo-calls that I don’t answer if don’t know the number or name on caller ID. Some for donations and some trying to give me something that medicare will pay for per them. I used up all my “Block call” (only 15) on my phone. They are from all over the USA and a lot 0f local area code numbers.

    • Jenna Y.

      Thanks for letting us know, Frank. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams, here. Thanks also for helping us fight fraud.

  3. essam e.

    i this applicable to citizens over sease thanks

  4. azure a.

    FTC and the FCC have done little to stop these calls. Amazing that the NSA is able (I’m sure the NSA still is) track & store so many e-mails, yet somehow the FTC and FCC are unable to track calls back to the spoofers & phishers. Instead, I was just notified by a state agency that thanks to a “phisher” my confidential information was hacked along w/that of thousands of others.
    So, I wouldn’t say the FCC and FTC are doing a good job. That’s the THIRD time it’s happened, a credit reporting entity, a health insurer, a state agency. It doesn’t matter how careful I AM, when all these entities that demand to get & store my confidential information are careless (one breach occurred because the credit reporting corporation failed to install a security patch for several months after they’d gotten it, been warned to install it). And NOTHING happened to the insurer or the credit reporting agency. NOTHING. No fines, no penalties, nothing.
    No wonder it keeps happening, over & over again. As usual, individuals are left to deal with hassle and potential damages for stolen data.

    So I don’t agree, I think the FCC & FTC are doing a lousy job. And Congress. The EU passed stronger data privacy protection laws years ago. The current Congress still can’t manage it.

  5. Gloria

    I rec’vd several calls whose prefix numbers are always (510) 112. The last four are always different. Some of the numbers are (510) 112-7884, (510) 112-7864, (510)112-7850, to list a few. Claim to be SSA. Are these calls legit or scams?

  6. Don P.

    The telephone companies ARE able to prevent this. They are complicit in these practices. With computerized switching systems and a little extra programming, they can tell when spoofing and robot type calling occurs. They COULD stop this! They would if the FCC were on the ball and got whomever needs to pass whatever law is necessary to force the telephone companies to eliminate this–OR–merely put a policy in place that forces them to eliminate this type of terrible invasion of privacy.

  7. Verena A.

    in addition to not answering these calls, does it help to block them??

  8. Fleur T.

    My mother keeps getting automated calls saying her SS was compromised and today she received one saying it was cancelled. All messages were left on her voice mail. The number used was 661-567-1214.
    Luckily she is smart enough to not fall for this!

  9. Felicta Z.

    Receiving call from: +1(1)866-374-453 leaving massages that My social security number is going to suspended because of suspicious activity. I want to if this is scam number I haven’t answered the phone call or return message. I would like to report this number.

  10. Roy B.

    Create an easy remember three-digit number that a recipient can enter into his or her phone when receiving a spoof call to call-block that number in the future.

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