Spoofing: How to protect yourself from robo call scams

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - If you've been a victim of spoofing, you're not alone.

This particular scam is a robo call, often disguised as numbers you know and recognize.

"I get calls on my cell phone every day."

We've all heard of the dreaded robo call interrupting your dinner, offering you free trips to tropical destinations, and more.

But Maine's Attorney General, Janet Mills, says some of those calls are coming from numbers you may recognize, making it harder to avoid the scam.

"Very often, they are spoofing. They're neighboring, they're taking a phone number that looks like a phone number you might know, or they're making it look like it's the local police department, or the District Attorneys office, or the IRS."

If you fall prey to their deception, you can report it to the state's consumer protection division. But legally, the options are limited.

"It's extraordinarily hard to prosecute these entities. They're almost always offshore or overseas. They use disguises, IPS's and phone numbers that really can never be tracked to an individual."

"People have lost thousands and thousands of dollars. Because once that money leaves your pocketbook, it's never coming back."

As a general rule, Mills says all scams have similar traits.

"These are very aggressive scam calls. Please don't take them. Do not ever give out your financial, personal information over the internet or over the phone."

You can also download an app called Nomorobo.

"It Identifies robo calls that are inevitably scams and entities that are trying to separate your money from your wallet."

Last year, the mobile authentication task force was formed to develop a solution to help protect consumers from identity theft and fraud.

Telephone providers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are expected to roll out an ID authentication system by the end of the year to prevent robo calling.

Until then, remember this.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it really is."

Nomorobo is now available for iPhone and Android smartphones and costs $1.99.

To report a potential scam, visit maine.gov and click the privacy, identity theft and consumer scams tab.