PORTLAND, Maine — State officials have issued a warning about a phone scam that shows up in Caller ID displays as coming from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Bangor office, a practice called “spoofing.”
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said the practice is relatively new for phone scams reported to his office and “shows some sophistication” by the scammers.
The callers reportedly said they sought unpaid fines and threatened to suspend the call recipient’s license and issue an arrest warrant if the fees go unpaid.
Dunlap said that any legitimate warning of such fines from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would not come by phone but through mail originating either with his office or the courts if a license is pending suspension. The calls in the scam reported Monday appear to come from the BMV branch number, 942-1319.
Other cases of phone spoofing have been reported in the state, including a 2008 case where the number of the Skowhegan-based Maine Fire Equipment Co. was spoofed and a similar scam in 2012 reported by Bangor Police Office Chris Blanchard. Earlier this year, the Maine Judicial Branch reported a phone scam was using a courthouse number to call potential victims. The Federal Communications Commission in 2010 adopted new rules under the Caller ID Act of 2009, allowing assessment of fines for people altering their Caller ID information.
Dunlap encouraged anyone receiving such a call to contact the secretary of state’s office at 626-8400.