Spammers Imitate City Government on Solicitation Calls
City residents have begun receiving solicitation calls that use municipal government information as their Caller IDs.
Under most circumstances, municipal employees make calls for official business during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays). There are exceptions, such as emergency messages and services with extended hours (such as historic sites and public safety).
To confirm a City of Fairfax government call, dial 703-385-7800 during regular business hours and provide the employee’s name and phone number for verification.
Anyone who makes phone calls used fake called ID information to defraud, intimidate, or harass the recipient can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. City residents who receive such a call may contact the City of Fairfax Police Department at 703-385-7924 to report it. Cases like this historically are difficult to prosecute because many of the calls originate from another country; however, if you wish to proceed with charges, here is the information police will need:
- Caller ID number and caller's name (even if it spoofed)
- Description of the caller's voice (gender, pitch, accent or speech pattern)
- Description of what caller was asking about and asking for
Here are phone safety tips and information offered by the City of Fairfax Police Department and the FCC:
- Don't answer calls from unknown numbers; however, if you do, hang up immediately.
- Hang up immediately if a caller or a recording asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls.
- Callers have two typical tactics:
- Proceed slowly and build trust to obtain information
- Frighten you to get information quickly
- Do not respond to questions, especially those answered "Yes" or "No."
- Never give out personal information on the phone, especially account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information.
- If a caller says they're from a company or a government agency — particularly if they're asking for payment — hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Always set a password for your voicemail service. Without a protective password, hackers may be able to spoof your phone number and gain access to your voicemail.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls. Information on available robocall blocking tools is available at fcc.gov/robocalls.