Sandy man's cell phone number hijacked by an identity thief

Sandy man's cell phone number hijacked by an identity thief (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) I you try to call Jeff Nilsen right now, you won't get through. His phone is being kept in airplane mode because when it's not, it won't stop ringing for more than a few seconds at a time.

When Jeff answers the calls, the folks on the line are ticked off. Some go so far as to threaten tracking him down using his number and beating him up.

The harassing and threatening calls began last week.

“Someone has somehow taken my phone number and is trying to scam people with it - hundreds if not thousands of them," he said.

As Get Gephardt has investigated before, disguising a phone number to look like another number is easy and can be done for free on many websites. It's a tactic called spoofing, frequently used by scammers to make it look like the call is coming from the IRS or some legitimate company.

It's less common for a scammer to pick a random person's number, like Jeff's. Based on a call that Jeff took while Get Gephardt was at him home, whoever is behind the calls seems to be an identity thief trying to dupe folks into handing over their personal information under the guise that they're speaking to a potential employer.

As for getting the harassment to stop, Jeff has few options. He says he plan to contact his cell phone provider and get a new phone number.

According to this report released this month by the Federal Trade Commission, in the state of Utah, impostor scams and identity theft are one and two for most frequently reported complaints to the federal consumer watchdog. That's one third of all complaints.

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