Neighbor spoofing, otherwise known as NPA-NXX spoofing, is a form of caller ID spoofing used by telemarketers, scammers, and rob callers. Neighbor spoofing uses auto-dialing and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services to send unsolicited phone calls. These calls have an outgoing Caller ID that closely matches your area code and phone number.
By mimicking their caller ID as closely as possible to the phone number they are placing the call to, spammers can trick more of their targets into answering the phone. This strategy ultimately increases the odds spammers will successfully get victims to give up personal information scammers can use to steal. The spammers use a third-party call spoofing technology to call your phone while showing a phone number that appears to be from your specific area code or NPA-NXX. The spammers’ technology allows them to send a high volume of neighbor spoofed spam calls at the push of a button.
Spam callers hope they will trick you into answering because it looks like a phone number you might recognize. Often enough, it works because people would prefer to take a chance at dealing with a spammer than miss an urgent phone call.
If you live in the U.S., caller ID spoofing is technically legal, except for one important caveat. If a caller’s intent is to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, the call is illegal.