My phone number is 456-123-XXXX (American phone number + area code). Over the past few months I get fairly regular spam calls from other numbers also beginning with 456-123-XXXX, where the last four digits are always different. The calls are clearly spam, telling me I won a trip and then asking for my credit card number. After getting one such call, I ignored it and called the number back. The guy that answered seemed genuinely confused and said he hadn't called me. I warned him that his number was likely being used for spam. I've already called my carrier, but the operator who answered seemed totally confused and basically just suggested I change my number, which I really don't want to do. My number is attached to a cell phone, although when I originally got it 15 years ago it was a landline.

So... what do I do? Also, I'm curious as to what's actually happening... as well as if my number is also being used to spam other people.

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    The spammer probably uses Caller ID spoofing. So, I'm sorry to say, they may be spoofing your number as well when calling other people. Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 15:51
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    For what it's worth, if it were possible to block all 456-123-XXXX numbers, that would probably work for me. I haven't lived there in fifteen years and I don't know anyone with that number pattern. Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 19:53
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    Here’s something interesting: the same thing happened to me, but from my mom’s old, now-disconnected phone number. I never actually removed that number from her contact, so it showed up as “Mom” on the caller id, then it was spam. Fascinating and extremely annoying, because I usually pick up from area codes that I’m familiar with out of habit. Commented May 15, 2018 at 2:18
  • Heck, I once got a spam call from my own phone number. It actually showed my own name, and I felt like I was in that one scene in that David Lynch movie. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 18:02

5 Answers 5


The telephone system has been designed so that a caller can replace their phone number with a fake, and some unscrupulous companies use this to change their number to appear to be local to the person they are calling. They aren't using specific numbers of people you know, just something picked at random. The thinking is that a person is more likely to pick up if they think it's a local call.

It is illegal to spoof your number with intent to defraud in the US and Canada, so what they are doing is probably against the law. You could report this to the phone company and they may look into it. Other than that you can't do much about this unless your phone company offers an add-on service to prevent it.

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    To add to this (I've also been getting these calls), I think the line of reasoning is that they hope you will recognize the number because it looks closer to your own number you might be more likely to pick up. Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 0:45
  • @timgcarlson Let me know if you find a solution. I've just learned to ignore them Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 2:19
  • The FCC has a consumer's guide on Spoofing and Caller ID, which they update periodically with new information (e.g., hurricane insurance scams).
    – Parker
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 17:52

As GdD said, it's CallerID spoofing with the hope of tricking you into answering a 'local' call. I've had this happen where they used my own number as the Caller ID number! I answered because I thought there might have been a glitch in the matrix and that it was a legitimate caller, but no, it was spam (and yes, I should have known better.)

Their real goal may be to poison the spam blacklists. Consider services like NoMoRobo, which operate an effective CallerID blacklisting service to millions of people. By causing the addition of millions of legitimate numbers to the blacklist, the direction of the spammers could be to weaken blacklisting as a viable approach to dealing with spam.

Preventing CallerID spoofing will require a technical solution from the phone companies to end the problem. But they can't just shut if off, as there are still legitimate reasons for allowing substitute CallerID numbers. They are used by every company that runs their own Private Area Branch Exchange (PABX), so it's not like they can instantly stop supporting the feature without breaking a lot of their clients' phone systems. But the value of CallerID substitution to their clients is small, and the mountain of complaints is large and growing. They should just bite the bullet and end support for it.

  • I wouldn't really assume that the blacklists operate where just one call/report from the same number puts that number on the blacklist. It's far more likely that it takes tens, if not hundreds of calls/reports within a short period of time from the same number. I'd also add that using a similar number to the called party lets the spammer evade blacklists. Commented May 10, 2018 at 14:10
  • @SteveSether There will be many reports since callerID spoofing spammers can and do reuse the spoofed numbers.
    – geoO
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 13:24

Block it with CallControl by downloading it from the Android app store. Use the wild card option to block all numbers from that specific exchange.

  • I'm an iOS user; is there anything similar? Commented May 5, 2017 at 18:13
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    It's actually on iTunes, too. Didn't realize that, at first. For some reason, the ratings aren't as great for the iOS version, but I don't see how they'd be any different. Commented May 5, 2017 at 18:18
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    play.google.com/store/apps/… says it contains ads. Are we all expected to pay for some addon/app to stop criminal behavior?
    – bgoodr
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 3:05

I have the same problem. On my "landline" it started on April 10 and has repeated one or two times a day since. Then it also started on my cell phone on May 12 and again has repeated almost daily. A few days ago it started on my wife's cell.

Specifically I get a spam call with caller id as a number from my area code and exchange - the first 6 digits are the same as my number and the last for are random and never the same. The numbers are legitimate private home numbers that show up in white pages. My caller id display gives the correct real name for that phone number! Nomorobo and call block can't block these because they can't have then in their blacklists - they are legitimate numbers. As mentioned previously it is the phone system technology design that needs to be changed to solve this. Basically spoofing is a fraud should be made impossible.

The way I solve this problem is to add to by blacklist any number that starts with the same six digits as my number. There is a very slight chance that this will block a legitimate call - but all my blocked calls get sent to voicemail, so I can live with that.

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    How do you blacklist all those numbers at once instead of one by one? The chances of my getting a legitimate phone call from someone from my college town are slim... Commented May 20, 2017 at 14:00

In addition to what was said, callerID spoofing (and more precisely in your case neighbor spoofing known as NPA-NXX spoofing) is also used to get your voice signature. By collecting sentences of the target voice, the attacker may use them back to trick customer service associates or digital security systems. Now to avoid some of these spams consider registering your number with the Do Not Call registry, and take the time to report this call to the Federal Trade Commission to dispute charges!

Here is a step-by-step to report it.

You can find more here

Ps: The RoboKiller app is available for iOS

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