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Thread: Really rotten robocallers

  1. #1
    Rewind is offline
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    Really rotten robocallers

    Recently, really rotten robocallers have been running rampant. Even though our telephone number is on the "Do not call" list, we get at least six calls every day from scammers and robocallers who seem to have the misguided notion that we're on a "Do call" list. Most of the callers never leave a message. Of the messages that are left, some are from legitimate businesses such as insurance companies and solar panel installers but most are scams: "You owe the IRS money"; "We offer cheap viagra from India"; "You have a refund coming from Apple." (We own no Apple products.)

    Our phone has caller ID but often does not ID the callers. It will show UNKNOWN NAME and not show the phone number. Sometimes the number shown is only a 1 -- and sometimes even our own number.

    When we get scam calls, we report them to whocallsme.com, spamcallerinfo.com, check-caller.net and other websites that maintain databases of unsafe callers and telemarketers. Many of these scammers call once or twice a day, for many weeks. They're persistent, I'll give them that.

    Some phone providers now offer Scam ID and/or Scam Lock. If a call comes from a known scammer, the caller ID will replace the number with SCAM ALERT.

    Sirius Buzz is a forum. That means other people besides myself participate in the discussions. If you've been bombarded with scam calls and robocalls -- and who hasn't? -- share your stories here. Don't make me beg.

    Sick of robocalls? They're about to get even worse.
    Jim Axelrod, CBS News, Sep 20 2018 6:39 PM

    If it feels like you are getting more robocalls these days, it's because you are. Last year, some 30 billion spam calls were made in the US. This year, that number is expected to climb by more than 10 billion.

    Alex Quilici runs the robocall blocking company YouMail.com and says the most alarming part is the number of spam calls that are actually scams. Of the 4 billion robocalls made in August, nearly 1.8 billion of them were fraudulent. Next year, analysis by First Orion predicts half of all mobile calls will be scams.

    Quilici's company makes an app that tells robocallers your number is out of order, tricking them into leaving you alone. But he said technology also enables robocallers to be ever more efficient. "It's so easy to go make an enormous number of robocalls to people," he said. "If I'm a scammer, I can go annoy Seattle for 500 bucks."

    If you send out enough lines, someone will bite. "You get a call where it says, 'It's the IRS, you gotta pay us today or we're going to go to your work tomorrow or arrest you in front of your kids,'" Quilici said. "If you think you might owe money, it's a really compelling scam."

    The number one way to deal with robocalls is never answer the phone with a number you don't recognize. But that's getting tougher to do, since scammers now use programs that make calls with familiar numbers or even with your own number.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-...-to-get-worse/

  2. #2
    Rewind is offline
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    The Federal Communications Commission receives more complaints about scam calls and robocalls than any other subject. This report details what the FCC is doing to stop them -- although it seems to be a losing battle -- and steps we can take to stop the calls -- although it seems to be a losing battle:

    Stop unwanted robocalls and texts

    https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides...alls-and-texts

  3. #3
    Penguin is offline
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    I get a lot of calls that play a recorded message and the message usually starts in the middle. I figure that is because people hang up before the message finishes playing and then it does not start over from the beginning.

  4. #4
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    The good news: There is technology which will put a stop to robocallers who use spoofed phone numbers to disguise their identity. The bad news: The technology could cost each telephone company millions of dollars and there are around 4,000 phone companies in the US. In other words, we'll continue to get several calls a day from robocallers who use spoofed phone numbers to disguise their identity.

    FCC slaps a huge fine on telemarketer caught 'spoofing' but the industry still needs to step up
    David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, Oct 5 2018 3:00 AM

    Federal authorities say it's an open-and-shut case. They say they caught an Arizona company "spoofing" phone numbers to make millions of telemarketing calls that falsely appeared on caller ID screens to be from local residents. The Federal Communications Commission is so sure of its joint investigation with the Federal Trade Commission that it announced a proposed $37.5-million fine in the case. "This is the commission’s first major enforcement action against a company that apparently commandeered consumers' phone numbers," the FCC declared.

    I don’t doubt that authorities have uncovered something. But when I tracked down the various players in the drama, I came away with more questions than answers. The company in question, Tucson-based Affordable Enterprises, "made more than 2.3 million maliciously spoofed telemarketing calls to Arizonans during a 14-month span starting in 2016 to sell home improvement and remodeling services," according to the FCC.

    The FCC said the company "apparently manipulated the caller ID information so that many calls appeared to come from consumers who were unconnected to the operation. Calls also appeared to come from unassigned phone numbers and numbers assigned to pre-paid 'burner' phones. In each case, the caller ID was spoofed and consumers were unable to identify from the caller ID that the call was from Affordable Enterprises."

    A particularly insidious aspect of spoofing is that call recipients often dial the number on their screen to complain. That means they're calling some unsuspecting nearby resident — the one who had his number spoofed — rather than the actual telemarketer. One woman told the FCC she received about a half-dozen calls a day from cheesed-off people who thought she was responsible for violating the do-not-call list. It was actually Affordable Enterprises making the telemarketing calls, the FCC said.

    Yet when I reached Affordable Enterprises' co-owner, Jessika Cabrera, she professed total surprise at being the target of an FCC investigation and a massive fine. She said she hadn't even been notified by the commission. "I didn't do anything wrong," Cabrera told me. "I don’t see how this is even possible." She pointed a finger at an Arizona company called JB Comm, which her firm hired to provide the automated dialing system for Affordable Enterprises' telemarketing. "They’re the ones you should be looking at," Cabrera said.

    I reached Bruce Manning, co-owner of JB Comm, who immediately pointed a finger back at Cabrera. "She’s telling you a fib," he insisted. "All we did was provide the system for outbound dialing. All the numbers called were from her. This is on them, not me." I took that back to Cabrera. "Not true," she said. "I purchased the phone numbers from him." Back to Manning. "She did not buy them from me, I guarantee it," he said. "She bought them from a broker." Nothing like a multimillion-dollar fine to send telemarketers scurrying for cover.

    Amid all this finger pointing, the FCC dug in its heels. Will Wiquist, a spokesman for the commission, said the proposed $37.5-million fine "follows a strong investigation by Enforcement Bureau staff." He said the investigation was based in part on a whistleblower tip from a former Affordable Enterprises employee, as well as company phone records, "which were then cross-referenced against the complaints submitted by consumers to the FCC and FTC."

    I can’t say how all this will play out. But I can certainly speak to the huge problem of spoofing — and the need for the telecom industry to play a more active role in safeguarding customers. "There are definitely things they could be doing," said Marc Bartholomew, chief executive of the Sherman Oaks cybersecurity firm Integritechs. "However, they generally don’t seem interested in doing them." A big reason for that: money. "It's a matter of making small changes on a massive scale," Bartholomew told me. "That’s expensive."

    I asked the FCC what could be done. Wiquist steered me toward an initiative called SHAKEN/STIR. Yes, it’s a geeky James Bond reference. It’s also a clunky acronym for an automated system that would make sure all calls are from the numbers that appear on caller ID screens. The way it works is a digital "token" is issued at the outset of a call and that token is verified when the call reaches its intended recipient. If the tokens match, the call receives a thumbs-up and the recipient knows the call is legit. A spoofed call wouldn’t pass muster and would receive a thumbs-down from SHAKEN/STIR and the recipient would know not to bother answering. The technology apparently is ready for prime time. However, as Bartholomew noted, it's pricey.

    I reached out to major phone companies to gauge their interest in taking action against spoofed calls. An AT&T spokesman said the company is working to implement a new industry standard which will help eliminate the use of illegitimate spoofed numbers from telephone systems." He was talking about SHAKEN/STIR, but "working to implement" isn’t exactly a call to arms. At least AT&T is acknowledging the issue, though.

    Most of the responses I received were along the lines of what a Frontier Communications spokesman told me when he said "strong enforcement against illegal robocallers is critical, and Frontier is actively engaged with industry efforts and the FCC to combat this growing problem." Go, team!

    If the telecom industry can’t handle this on its own, lawmakers should require timely implementation of SHAKEN/STIR. Otherwise, robocallers and spoofers will continue making our phone lives miserable. Except for the occasional time someone gets busted. Whoever that may be.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/laza...005-story.html

  5. #5
    Rewind is offline
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    This Business Insider headline is wrong. Google Assistant will use the new "Call Screen" feature to answer phone calls and transcribe the messages. It does not "end" telemarketer calls. It merely enables users to read what the message was. We will continue to get inundated by rafts of really rotten robocallers.

    Google's new phone software aims to end telemarketer calls for good

    https://www.businessinsider.com/goog...screen-2018-10

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