Why are spam calls showing up as local?

Spam robocalls are prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission. However, you have probably received some of these calls yourself. They are very common and they are one of the top complaints that consumers have: They get spam calls from people they don’t know, which they didn’t sign up for and never wanted to receive.

The FTC gives general advice that consumers should always avoid calls from unknown numbers. If you are not sure who’s calling you, just ignore it and let them leave a voicemail if it’s important. If they do not leave a voicemail, it was probably a spam call anyway, and you can block the number.

But what often happens is that these calls will show up as local numbers. This tricks people into answering because they assume it may be someone important – the hospital, a local business, etc – or someone that they already know. Why does this happen?

Spoofing local phone numbers

The problem is that many of these systems can spoof local phone numbers. The call isn’t coming from the local area. It may be coming from overseas or from another part of the country. But the caller is using a computer program to make it appear as though they’re calling from the same city or geographical area.

As such, even if calls do appear local based on the area code or other factors, it’s often best for consumers to ignore them. Those who feel they were wronged or suffered harm due to these types of scams – including legitimate callers whose phone calls are being blocked because consumers assume they are scam calls – need to know about all the legal steps they can take.


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