The McGraw-Hill Company headquarters building in New York City (image credit Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Poughkeepsie, NY (written by Sarah Bradshaw/Poughkeepsie Journal) -- An apparent identity thief is using the caller ID of a major company headquartered in New York City to target victims.
A McGraw-Hill Cos. spokesman said they have been aware for "several weeks" that their phone number is being used fraudulently to allegedly steal people's personal information.
When asked if the company issued any press releases or scam alerts, McGraw-Hill's Jason Feuchtwanger said in a written statement: "We are aware of this scam spoofing one of our phone numbers and are actively investigating it with authorities. We urge people who have been defrauded to contact local police."
Annmarie Ashton of Wappinger. N.Y., received a phone call Wednesday afternoon from a woman with an accent who identified herself as being from "McGraw-Hill Security."
The caller told Ashton, a real-estate professional, that her computer had a security issue -- it was sending error messages to "McGraw-Hill Security" and that Ashton should turn her computer on. The caller hung up when Aston replied she didn't own a computer, a lie.
The Federal Communications Commission warns that callers can falsify the telephone number and/or name relayed on the caller ID information to disguise the real identity of the calling party.
This is called spoofing, a tactic used by identity thieves who want to collect sensitive information, such as your bank account or Social Security number, the commission said.
Feuchtwanger didn't immediately respond to a request for any company-issued information on the scam. A Web search of the company's news releases resulted in no information on "spoofing" or "scam." The McGraw-Hill brands include Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education and J.D. Power and Associates.
"It tempted me for half a second because she had such urgency in her voice," said Ashton, who declined to give her age.
Ashton's caller ID showed the call was placed from 212-438-7895.
The voice mail message there states: "This is McGraw-Hill Corporate Security. Please be advised that if you have received any telephone calls displaying the telephone number of 212-438-7895 requesting you give information regarding your computer, this is a scam and the McGraw-Hill telephone number which appears has been spoofed. This is not legitimate and is not affiliated with the McGraw-Hill Companies. The caller may be calling from overseas trying to access your personal information on the computer."