Spoofing is a funny sounding word, but there is nothing funny about spoofing, which is the name for the scam tactic used by scammers by which they are able to fool your caller ID such that when you receive a call, it appears to come from a legitimate company, governmental agency, such as the IRS or even your own telephone number. Sometimes the spoofed calls are automated robocalls in which you are asked for financial information in order to assist you in obtaining a lower interest on your credit card or some tempting ruse. Other times there will actually be someone on the line purporting to be from a legitimate company or governmental agency. Using either the carrot or stick approach, they either try to instill fear in you in order to lure you into providing personal information in order to avoid a problem with your bank, the IRS or some other entity or they use the carrot and try to entice you to provide your personal information in order to receive a prize or some other financial benefit. In all cases you risk identity theft when you provide personal information by phone in response to any telephone call you receive.
There are some basic precepts to remember to help protect you from being scammed by spoofed calls. First, remember that your caller ID is not fool proof. You cannot trust your caller ID to accurately inform you as to who is really calling you. Second, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or phone calls so if you receive such a communication, you can be sure that it is a scam. Third, robocalls are illegal except from charities or politicians so whenever you receive a robocall that purports to be from a company or governmental agency, you can be sure it is a scam. You should never provide personal information to anyone over the phone whom you have not called. If you ever receive a communication requesting personal information and you think it might possibly be legitimate, merely hang up and call the entity back at a number that you know is accurate and even then do not provide personal information unless there is a real need for it.