• Man receives thousands of calls after 'spoofing' scam


    (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Jim Callahan's oil business is in overdrive this time of year, and to make matters worse he is the victim of a 'spoofing' scam that caused him to receive thousands of unwanted calls.

    "It's busy all winter. I get calls all night long. Out of heats. Out of oils," says Callahan, who owns an Arlington heating company.

    But in the last week Callahan's received calls he doesn't want to take.

    Yesterday he got nearly 900 nasty calls and texts. He called Verizon, his phone carrier, and they said they couldn't help.

    "It's called ID spoofing and there's nothing they can do about it," he said.

    This started last Friday after someone called Callahan trying to sell pharmaceutical products over the phone. They even asked for his credit card number.

    After a third call he said no, again, and they issued a warning.

    "They basically threatened to hijack my phone and I didn't believe them. I hung up," he said.

    Minutes later, calls started rolling in from angry people.

    "They're yelling at me, giving me threats and telling me they're gonna report me," he said.

    Those callers think Callahan is calling them. It's called spoofing. A person or business uses a number, in this case Callahan's, to have a U.S. caller ID.

    Callahan believes it's being used by a company in India now robot-calling people. Since last week, and using Callahan's number, they've called nearly 14,000 people across the country.

    Spoofing's been around for about eight years according to Verizon, but this latest version is a problem that even the group in Washington representing cell phone companies is unsure how to deal with.

    John Walls, from CTIA the Wireless Association, told FOX 25, "The way this has been portrayed at least for now, this is something new."

    While FOX 25 Reporter John Monahan was speaking to Callahan, his phone started ringing. The first call was from San Francisco.

    The man on the phone told Callahan that he received several calls from Callahan's number.

    "It's an international company that stole my caller ID," Callahan explained to the man.

    Then, two minutes later he received another call from Louisiana. The woman on the phone said she missed a phone call from him.

    Again, Callahan apologized and explained what happened. He is stuck apologizing and unable to work.

    "Where I run a business I have to answer my phone. My customers can't even get through or leave me a message," he said.

    And he can't get help from anyone including Verizon, or the FCC which referred him to the FTC.

    So far it seems there is no way to stop whoever is behind this.

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