MASON CITY, Iowa – Police are issuing a reminder about the danger of “spoofing.”
The word refers to criminals using technology that identifies calls as coming from legitimate numbers. The Mason City Police Department says it was contacted Monday about a local business that got a call that listed the correct number for Alliant Energy on the business’ caller ID. The call threatened the business with service disconnection in 30 minutes unless they called back to a different number to arrange payment.
The business was suspicious and did not call back, referring the matter instead to police. Officers called the number and say they spoke to someone who called himself “Richard” with Alliant Energy. Police say when they asked where “Richard’s” office was located, he immediately hung up.
Mason City Police Department says people should avoid giving out personal or payment information over the phone to unsolicited callers or emails, especially if there is pressure or urgency attached. You should contact your local affiliated representative, look up the business’ customer service phone number and call yourself, or check your account online. Police say once you give a stranger your personal information or payment over the phone, wire transfer, or by email, it is basically too late to stop the transaction.