As if to show they hold nothing sacred, bad actors have used the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) in an attempt to scam consumers in the New York metropolitan area using spoofed caller ID. The FCC and the Federal Trade Commission have recently received consumer complaints about the scam.
In a Consumer Alert, the FTC cites reports about callers using spoofed phone numbers with New York area codes. The callers tell their targets they may be entitled to money and then request personal information to determine eligibility.
Requested information may include Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, bank account numbers, medical histories and proof of whether a person worked in the 9/11 exposure zone.
Be aware if you get a call from someone saying you may be entitled to compensation if you lived or worked near the World Trade Center in the early 2000s, or if they have questions about your claim with the VCF. The VCF may call you, but it will never ask for your full Social Security number or for a credit card number. If you are uncertain whether a caller is from the VCF, hang up and call the VCF directly at 1-855-885-1555.
The VCF scam is targeting a specific group, but other spoofing scams target consumers indiscriminately. Read the FCC's consumer guide about caller ID spoofing to learn more about what you should do if you think the number on your caller ID is being spoofed.
The FCC and the FTC work closely on phone scams. We share complaint data as part of our efforts to investigate possible fraud, thwart scams and raise consumer awareness. We also take individual enforcement actions against bad actors.
File a complaint with the FCC
Consumers can file complaints with the FCC about unwanted calls and spoofing, along with telecom billing, service issues and other matters the FCC oversees. Information about the FCC's informal complaint process, including how to file a complaint, and what happens after a complaint is filed, is available in the FCC Complaint Center FAQ.