I’ve noticed for a while now that annoying calls are coming to both my home phone and my cell phone that look like local calls. Sometimes they even have the same exchange numbers as my phone (those first three numbers after the area code)–unusual because not even my other local friends have the same exchange numbers, so now I don’t even answer a number that looks too much like my own number. One day I also had a woman call and say she was returning a call that had come from my number–after I hung up I suspected she had been called by someone else faking my number, so I did a little internet research and found this page from the FTC about how scammers can fake caller ID info. If you’ve been getting calls that look a lot like your number, you are not alone. It’s a new scam and it’s dangerous for people who assume they are real local numbers and pick up expecting it to be a neighbor or local business or organization. The link has tips for handling these calls. Please share this info with friends and family who might be vulnerable to falling for scam calls.

Another thing you need to know is about a new scam where you get a call about an iCloud breach. I learned about this today when I got a call on my landline. The name said Apple Inc. and the phone number had my same area code. I answered out of curiosity and heard a recording telling me that my data was exposed in an iCloud breach and I needed to call a number (the number started with 833) or I could hold to talk to someone before I used any of my Apple products. (I don’t remember verbatim what was said, but that was the gist.) This annoying call came 5 times today (and left voicemails, which scam callers don’t always do) before I had the time to get on the phone company’s website and block the number. As soon as I heard the first call, I was skeptical (I mean, of course, that’s just how I am). So I got online and just googled “Apple iCloud phishing calls” and found this helpful article from MacWorld.  It explains that it is indeed just a scam and some tips for how you can tell it’s a fraud (some of the same things were red flags for me and some was just my skeptical instinct).

It’s truly disgusting that people will make up hoaxes on the heels of a horrible tragedy, but it happens.  Here’s one link from BuzzFeed with many hoaxes that already popped up in the wake of yesterday’s shooting in Las Vegas. You can see from this list (if you can bear to look at it) that these lies can be dangerous–people yesterday were accusing innocent people of being the shooter. Angry vigilantes might not see the correction soon enough and go after someone completely innocent.

And here is a link with info about Las Vegas shooting hoaxes and how to avoid spreading misinformation like this yourself (with tips much like what I’ve shared–no matter the source of information, the ways to check are the same).

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but experts are doubtful (and ISIS has made false claims before–big surprise–murderers also lie)  so I’m skeptical of this claim until we learn more. I’ve seen that it’s very possibly a false claim from multiple reliable sources.

Finally, here’s an excellent article on how to spot lies on social media after a mass shooting. Do a very little homework and you can avoid adding to the spread of lies.

Always check your sources–random Twitter accounts are not good sources. Many sites that claim to be news sources are not good sources. Check MediaBiasFactCheck.com for some help with discerning what are good sources or you can do like some of my friends do and ask me about a story you’re not sure about–if I have time I’ll help check. I’m lainiefig on Twitter. Please let friends know if they are spreading misinformation. It’s obvious Facebook and Twitter can’t catch it all.