JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of people have reported getting spam calls from an unknown number that appears to be coming from France, Russia or another foreign country.
These "foreign" calls seem to be targeting AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon customers. Experts don't think these calls are actually originating overseas, but the spammer is spoofing the phone numbers -- the same way they spoof return numbers from your area code and even your prefix to make you think the call is coming from someone you know.
Aaron Backherms said she's started getting the calls about two weeks ago.
"It's annoying but I'm going to get it changed because I don't want people harassing me on my phone number," Backherms said.
Haley Tinkle's most recent international call came in at 10 a.m. Monday. She called customer service.
"They had no answer," Tinkle said. "I hope they figure out what's going on because I don't know anyone in France, so I don't know why I am getting calls from there."
Cellphone service providers have call-block features, but these international phone calls adapt to being blocked and will change the number by one digit and call you again.
TheJournal.ie advised to not answer the call or call back.
A recent WashingtonPost.com article on robocalls recommended activating your service provider's free protection, which the phone company's have realized is part of their service they need to provide
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon now offer free services to monitor network activity and crowdsourced reports to block suspected fraudulent calls.
AT&T's app is called AT&T Call Protect. The free level of service will label suspected spammers and gives you the option to automatically block calls that are a fraud risk. To automatically block nuisances like spam, political calls and telemarketers, AT&T requires you to pay $4 per month.
T-Mobile: Most T-Mobile customers have the company’s Scam ID and Scam Block service by default. They do have an option to pay $4 per month to get better caller ID and the ability to send certain calls straight to voice mail.
Verizon: Download an app called Verizon Call Filter, available now for iPhones and coming soon for Androids. Verizon said it has stopped charging for basic service even though the company's website on Monday said it costs $3 per month.
News4Jax asked the four largest wireless phone providers for comments on this latest rash of robocalls. By close of business Monday, only Verizon had responded with a statement that it "has been a leader in working aggressively to try and stop them."
"Currently it's not illegal to spoof another person's phone number but we believe it should be and we support federal legislation that would go after the spammers that are making these calls," Verizon spokeswoman Kate Jay wrote in an email.
All carriers are being required by the Federal Communications Commission to deploy a new STIR/SHAKEN authentication standard that would verify to end users that the Caller ID is the number that originated the call.