The Robocalls are Getting Worse

I’ve had five today alone, and now my auto-reject list is full.


Most recently I’ve seen:

  • “Business Opportunity” scam (multi-level marketing, one-up gifting scams, etc.)
  • “Congratulations! Your phone number has been randomly selected by Expedia / Travelocity / Whatever to receive two vacations for a promotional price of $799.00!”
  • “Business Loan Center”

All of these have reps working in call centers in India, the Philippines, and other such places.

I’ve written about these calls before, but the landscape has changed a bit. Instead of using dead numbers to use for their caller ID spoofed number, they are using randomly-generated or dynamically-created phone numbers; since my phone number is based in Utah, I’ve been getting a lot of calls that seem to be from local numbers but which actually originate elsewhere. The Caller ID number, however, may belong to a real person.

I’ve even been called by people asking me to “stop calling them” – clearly my own number is showing up on other people’s screens.

Articles like this one at HuffPo give a few ideas for people with land-lines, but the sad truth is that there is little to nothing that can be done to stop this plague unless some serious effort is made at the legislative level, and our political leaders probably don’t even understand the full scope of the issue. Witness the CAN-SPAM act, for which our legislators roundly congratulated each other, and which actually increased the amount of spam being sent out by unethical and unscrupulous operations.

The FTC has not been idle, but it’s like a hydra – for every bad actor they shut down, ten more seem to spring up. This infographic gives a lot of good information about how the calls are driven, and why the problem is so massive.

The best thing I can think of is for people affected to contact their representatives and in no uncertain terms express how pissed off they are with the criminals who are interrupting our lives multiple times a day with fraudulent proposals.

Maybe we could hire some robocalling outfits to flood their phone lines 24 hours a day with automated requests to do something about the problem؟

The Old Wolf has spoken.



2 responses to “The Robocalls are Getting Worse

  1. The only way to fix this is Congress, FCC and ITU (and other associated regulatory bodies) must make wholesale changes worldwide – First, they have to insist on verified phone number ANI/CID sources before the Telcos or ISP’s will pass on a call on the IP or PSTN networks. The Telco accepting the call has to reject all calls where they cannot make a traceback to the true originator. This will require wholesale changes to the call setup systems, but it’s long overdue.

    There is a flag in the PSTN call setup field for verified ANI number, but from the beginning (Standard Oil, United Airlines, Sprint and MCI alternative/private toll networks in the 1950-60’s) they never enforced it and spoofing the flag to Yes is common. VoIP and PBX’s you can set the CID number and verified flag in software to anything your heart desires…

    That rule has to be revised and big penalties enacted – We trace back the call and if the trace fails at your stop you’re holding the $5,000 Hot Potato. You’d better make sure you can pass the baked spud off to the true originator – or don’t accept it.

    A simple Sanity Check will reject 000-000-0000 or similar un-dialable numbers on a watch list. They’ll have to do a database dip to see if the number is assigned to the telco sending the call – If it’s registered to a bell-system Landline user in Utah it shouldn’t be coming in as an IP call from Russia with a spoofed Latvian IP Address from a block they don’t control attached – Rejected.

    {ANI is for billing it must be there and can’t be spoofed, often the “Pilot Number” for a DID block (555-555-5000) that will get you their Operator – If the call is to an 800# it will get passed to the end user, if not immediately translated to CID it will show on the bill call detail. CID is the field the telco passes to the end user, it can be set to show a PBX direct extension DID (555-555-5123) or as “BLOCKED” to the end user. But it has to be there, too.}

    Then they need to make a “Trace Illegal Robocall or Solicitation Call” vertical service code (like *57 for obscene or threatening crank calls) that works across all systems (landline, cell, Skype or VoIP) and doesn’t charge the customer $10 for the priveledge. Or repurpose *57 and remove the charges.

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