Local business gets over 2,000 calls because a scammer used their number

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IDAHO FALLS — You know those fraudulent phone calls you’ve likely received from someone promising auto warranties in exchange for personal information? The recording tells you to call a number and to take advantage of the unbelievable offer.

The majority of those calls are scams, but the phone numbers that come across your caller ID are local and very real, in most cases. Just ask Cure Touch Massage Therapy in Idaho Falls.

The company has been getting thousands of calls since Thursday as their number is being used to mask the true number of the alleged warranty providers.

“People are being called multiple times by our phone number,” Daniel Larson, President of Cure Touch Massage Therapy, tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We’ve received calls back from Boise’s Fourth of July parade organizers to Hawaiian islanders.”

The Better Business Bureau addressed this issue in May and calls these types of scams “Neighborhood Spoofing.”

Scammers use this method of a spoof caller ID to trick a person into thinking somebody local or even a phone number they recognize is calling. They usually try to get callers to answer the phone and engage in conversations, noting their victim’s active lines in which they can call for future scams.

“In many instances, it is a random number with the same area code and first three digits as your own phone number. In other cases, the number displays as coming from a local business or person in which you’ve previously communicated,” Better Business Bureau of Western PA stated.

Larson said his business has received some 2,000 phone calls from people saying they’ve missed calls from them. Some callers have been understanding, and others have been angry.

“We’re obviously very concerned that it’s giving us a bad reputation,” Larson said.

Not only is Larson concerned about his 10,000 customers in the area, but he’s worried about locals engaging in these scam calls.

“We care deeply about our community and that they have a good image of us. But also – we’re concerned that people have been giving up their personal information to strangers over the phone. We just want to make sure that there’s an awareness out there about call scamming,” Larson said.

Other local companies, including Idaho I-Repair in Rexburg, have confirmed they have been having similar issues. Larson is aware of spa companies in California and other massage groups that have received calls back because of neighborhood spoofing.

“Sometimes you think it’s going to be somebody who you think you know but it’s not,” Larson said.

Larson has not reported the issue to law enforcement as he doesn’t feel it will solve the issue. He said if threats take place in the future, or if this issue persists, he will report it and possibly change his business phone number.

“We’ve been established in this area very well and we have lots of marketing tools out there,” Larson said. “Changing our phone number could be detrimental to that.”

The BBB advises avoiding answering calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize, even if they appear to be local. To be safe, wait for the caller to leave a message.

“You shouldn’t give personal information over the phone if it seems suspicious,” Larson said.

Report any phone solicitations to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

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