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Why do scam calls show up as coming from small Colorado towns?

Some of the towns, like Allenspark in Boulder County, have fewer than 500 people and no cell phone service.

ALLENSPARK, Colo — Welcome to Allenspark, Colorado. Population: around 500, depending on the time of year.

One of the best things about this place is there’s hardly any cell phone service. Still, scam calls show up on cell phones around the state as coming from this small mountain town in Boulder County.

The calls are clearly scams. So why are all these scam calls coming from a town where most phones don’t even work? The trend has caught the attention of Colorado's attorney general.

"In little towns across the United States, there are often small phone companies who have antiquated technology," Attorney General Phil Weiser said. "These scammers have this technology called spoofing. For them, it’s all about imagining what’s going to get you to pick up."

Credit: KUSA

Weiser said there are a couple of reasons why your phone keeps lighting up with calls from places like Allenspark or Springfield, Colorado.

"One reason is those scam artists, they want you to pick up," Weiser said. "So they think if it’s maybe a charming small town, you’re more likely to pick up than if it’s a big city."

The other possibility is that small towns like this one provide a back door of sorts to get around the technology that detects scam calls.

There is new technology that detects spam calls when they’re coming in. Those numbers come up as "spam likely" on your phone. Spoofing the calls through small towns avoids that, according to Weiser.

"It’s possible that you have a small phone company that hasn’t built in this new technology, shaken and stirred, that helps identify scam calls as opposed to legitimate calls," Weiser said.

He said they’re working on technology to close those loopholes, but it takes time.

"The point of these scam calls is not to be truthful, it’s not to be realistic," Weiser said. "It’s to get your attention."

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