Why Does My iPhone Call Itself? Careful: It’s A Scam!

You get a phone call, and it’s from you. Is it really you, from the future? Probably not. In this article, I’ll explain how scammers try to trick you into giving up your credit card number by making it look like your iPhone is calling itself and how to stay safe from scammers online.

Don’t Trust Caller ID.

I once toyed with the idea of setting up a business phone consulting service, and I realized something alarming as I was learning how to set it up: I could set a phone’s caller ID number to any number I wanted to. I could make it look like anyone was calling when I dialed their number.

Caller ID is 100% not trustworthy, even though it seems like it would be. In truth, caller ID isn’t linked to a phone number – it’s just another piece of information that gets sent to your iPhone when you receive a phone call.

A Clever Way To Fool Blacklists

A lot of people have signed up for the do-not-call blacklists that block known telemarketing numbers, but here’s the catch: Your phone number isn’t on the blacklist.

It’s tempting to pick up the call when your own phone number calls you on your iPhone. I might think, “Only my wireless carrier has access to my phone number, so it must be them calling.”

The scammer then asks you to verify your credit card information for the security of your account (clever, right?), you enter your credit card number, and then goes on a shopping spree at Scam’s Club. (Not a real wholesale members-only discount store for scammers.)

What Do I Do When A Scammer Calls Me?

If you get a phone call from yourself, the best thing to do is just to let it ring. If you pick up, it’s OK – just don’t press any buttons or give away any personal information. If you think you may have received a phone call from a scammer and did enter your credit card number, call your credit card company right away and ask them how to proceed.

How Can I Report Scam Phone Calls?

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have fraud sections of their websites that provide information about how to deal with fraud and, in some cases, allow you report the scam phone call you received.

Aside from reporting scammers to your carrier, there’s not much else you can do. Eventually, the wireless carriers will find a way to shut down this scam for good, and the scammers will come up with a new way to dupe people into giving up their personal information, like this clever text messaging scam I wrote about in a previous article.

I’d like to hear about your experience with this scam on your iPhone. Did you pick up the call? Or was it really you, calling yourself from the future? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading, and remember to pay it forward,
David P.
Featured image photo by Uncalno Tekno and licensed under CC BY 2.0.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 months ago

My phone keeps calling itself. Is it a scam or software glitch? If it’s a glitch how do I fix it?

Joseph Migyanka
1 year ago

With a pick up to your own number, can a scammer then use it to receive text messages with third level codes to access bank accounts, etc.?

5 years ago

Mine rang twice in the last 15 minutes. I didn’t answer the first time. I just answered it…the second time it rang. All it said was, “Goodbye.” Weird.

5 years ago

First my Garmin tracker started to vibrate. A couple seconds later the cell phone rang. Cell phone stated I was receiving a voice mail. Such a meaningless waste. Four calls on the first(?) day.

6 years ago

My iphone, my husband’s & a handful of friend’s so far have all called itself in the middle of the night last night. No one answered the calls. Weird how they are all iphones on AT&T.

6 years ago

Could you just block yourself? (I know, very digital-existential)

6 years ago

Excellent, and well-written article, David! Yes, much as you referenced, I received a call as if from myself today. What a laugh, as my title and photo was outdated (so, was it me from the past? Haha). Luckily, I was busy and didn’t know the call had come in. However, upon seeing it, I found it disconcerting. As one usually does, I turned to a quick Google search and there was your article. You answered not only my assumption’s, but far better, soothed my instant concern. I’ll share your wise advice. Thanks again!