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Spam Communications Crime Stats

86.2 Million Phone Scam Calls Delivered Each Month In the US 193

An anonymous reader writes with a report from Help Net Security which assigns some numbers to the lucrative fraud-by-phone business in the U.S. -- and it's not just the most naive who are vulnerable. "Phone fraud continues to threaten enterprises across industries and borders, with the leading financial institutions' call centers exposed to more than $9 million to potential fraud each year," says the article. "Pindrop analyzed several million calls for threats, and found a 30 percent rise in enterprise attacks and more than 86.2 million attacks per month on U.S. consumers. Credit card issuers receive the highest rate of fraud attempts, with one in every 900 calls being fraudulent."

What's been your experience with fraudulent robocalls? I've been getting them on a near-daily basis -- fake credit card alerts, "computer support" malware-install attempts, and more -- for a few years now, which makes whitelisting seem attractive. ("Bridget from account services" has been robo-calling a lot lately, and each time she says it is my final notice.) My biggest worry is that the people behind these scams, like spammers, will hire copywriters who can fool many more people.
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86.2 Million Phone Scam Calls Delivered Each Month In the US

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  • Voice mail and/or a phone answering machine are my first lines of deference. Friends and family know how to get in touch ASAP if it's an emergency.
    • by smchris ( 464899 )

      Yes, a DSL landline we give out to every place that wants a contact number and an old Uniden phone/answering machine somebody _gave_ me when he moved. Keep the volume low and we mostly hear connections and hang-ups.

      • Look, it's one thing for spammers to call up and waste my time. But more than half of them these days call up and don't ever play a message or put their agent on the phone so I can waste their time. I don't know if they're just badly understaffed (at least they could play a recording), or their equipment is broken, or their call center is checking my number against the Do Not Call List after I answer instead of before (presumably because of how they charge each other for various services.) And lately I'

    • by John_Sauter ( 595980 ) <John_Sauter@systemeyescomputerstore.com> on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:18AM (#49936229) Homepage

      I have a simple but very effective screener for robo calls, built around the ObiHai [obihai.com] 110 [obihai.com]. I connect the device between my incoming telephone line and my telephone. I then re-program it to send incoming calls to the Automatic Attendant, which I program to challenge the caller to press a key on his telephone keypad. If he doesn't he is a robo caller and doesn't get through. My phone doesn't even ring for robo calls.

      Someday the robo callers will become intelligent enough to press a key when challenged, but until then my defense is adequate.

      • What do you do for cell phone robocalls?

        • What do you do for cell phone robocalls?

          I cannot intercept calls to my cell phone, so I tell everyone to call my land line if they want to reach me, and never give out my cell phone number--only my Asterisk server knows it. If the number does get out, I can change it with very little hassle: just a one-line change in my PBX. If my cell phone rings and the call isn't from my PBX, I don't answer.

          Doing it this way means I need an Asterisk server in addition to the ObiHai 110. If I didn't have a cell phone I could just use the ObiHai.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        I have a simple but very effective screener for robo calls, built around the ObiHai [obihai.com] 110 [obihai.com]. I connect the device between my incoming telephone line and my telephone. I then re-program it to send incoming calls to the Automatic Attendant, which I program to challenge the caller to press a key on his telephone keypad. If he doesn't he is a robo caller and doesn't get through. My phone doesn't even ring for robo calls.

        Someday the robo callers will become intelligent enough to press a key when challenged, but until then my defense is adequate.

        My main defence against robocalls is not having a landline telephone.

        Its become completely unnecessary to have one in Australia as you can get landline internet without phone services these days. Cold calling mobile phones costs a lot more money so its not viable to do that. Even bulk SMS is too expensive (for once, the high cost of everything in Australia is working out in my favour).

        As for corporate phones, every phone system these days has a provision for routing external calls to an IVR menu these

    • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

      Yep, if you're not in my contact list and I'm not expecting a call, you go to voice mail. I have carpet folks coming out today so a call a few minutes ago from an unknown number but local to me was answered and the appointment confirmed.

      [John]

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      Voice mail and/or a phone answering machine are my first lines of deference. Friends and family know how to get in touch ASAP if it's an emergency.

      I find that the vast majority of robocallers are actually robodialers, with an actual human being on the other end. My solution is to get incredibly verbally abusive to them. I'm entirely calm but I use language that would peel the paint on a battleship and get truckers to cry. The amusing part is when they stammer and get defensive that I'm treating them this way and I get to remind them, "hey, you called me, remember?"

      • And usually they're on another line, so if you want to talk to me don't call, then ask me to hold please.

      • If you get a human, they are just trying to get paid to do a job. They know it is a crap job, and there is no need to be abusive or profane.

        Just say "No thank you" and hang up.

        If you want to take the time to throw sand in the gears, tell them you are REALLY interested in their product, but you left something on the stove, and to stay on the line. Come back and hangup in 10 minutes. It will slow down their system enough to lower profitability without being demeaning to another human who is just doing thei

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          "I was just following orders" rarely works as a defense.
        • Sorry - anybody who works for Rachel from Cardholder Services or Fake Microsoft Technical Support or Fake IRS is a scammer, and knows that their job is to rip people off. Thieves don't rate the "just doing their crappy job" excuse, unlike the people who call up trying to sell me legitimate services when they know (or should know) that I'm on the Do Not Call List so I'm not interested.

      • by nbauman ( 624611 )

        I find that the vast majority of robocallers are actually robodialers, with an actual human being on the other end. My solution is to get incredibly verbally abusive to them. I'm entirely calm but I use language that would peel the paint on a battleship and get truckers to cry. The amusing part is when they stammer and get defensive that I'm treating them this way and I get to remind them, "hey, you called me, remember?"

        That's right. I have to spend all day forced to be polite to people who I would rather strangle (example: health insurance companies). Telephone solicitors give me a useful catharsis of letting me violate the normal social conventions with somebody who doesn't deserve any respect.

        I was thinking about the downsides to that. Does it bring me down to their level? Then I heard how an elderly woman was getting scammer calls, falling for them, and getting bills of $500 or more a month. Her daughter had to disconn

  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:03AM (#49936117)
    telling my mom that he needed to use logmein to help her, and if she hung up, disconnected or closed the computer that the Russian hackers were already in there and would destroy her computer.
    • I had one last week where they said they were calling about a problem with my computer. When I asked which one, they told me it was either my laptop or my desktop. I told them to try harder and hung up.

      I immediately regretted not spending the time to really mess with them.

    • I managed to dick around with those same guys for a solid 15 minutes. I kept making typos, had to reboot my computer, oops, browser crashed. Finally he asked what I did for a living and I said I was unemployed.... which is why my internet connection got cut last month.
    • by jcr ( 53032 )

      I've never gotten any of these calls, but my mom got one once. She has a Mac, so she knew immediately that the guy was full of shit. She told him she was calling the police and he hung up immediately.

      -jcr

    • My mom was amused by those scammers. She's used Macintoshes for nearly 30 years, and her Mac is only on the internet when she tells the modem to dial up her ISP. (Her vision's not good enough to use the web, and modem's plenty for email, much to the frustration of my siblings who don't like using sub-broadband speeds when visiting her.) So the "Your Windows machine is sending out viruses!" got a very quick hang up.

      I've kept some of them on line for over an hour, when I've had time; eventually the caller

  • by lophophore ( 4087 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:06AM (#49936135) Homepage

    If you have the patience to set it up, and keep it running, Asterisk can help you.

    I use it at home to throttle phone spam.

    all toll-free go to an auto-attendant that is a robot-check.
    all "number unavailable" goes to another robot-check.
    obvious fake phone numbers go to the blacklist auto-attendant, an infinite loop, basically.
    known phone spammers go to the blacklist auto-attendant
    it's easy to add a number to the blacklist.

    On a typical day, 3 to 5 calls get gobbled up by asterisk. The phone rings once, the caller id is read, and the caller is sent away. It is *wonderful*.

    She who must be complied with does not want to go to what I consider the ultimate solution, the white list for immediate pass-through, and a robot check for all other calls.

    The spam callers that do get through are verbally abused before their number is added to the blacklist.

    • by Scutter ( 18425 )

      Care to share your setup? I've tackled Asterisk a few times and it's either prohibitively expensive (for home use, anyway - Digium's cheapest analog card is >$500) or unreasonably complex for someone with little background in telephony.

      • I use an ObiHai 110 to route incoming calls to Asterisk, running in an old used PC I picked up at the local computer repair shop. Good calls are routed back through the ObiHai 110 to my POTS telephone. No Digium equipment involved. Outgoing calls go straight through the ObiHai 110.

      • This or something similar will do the trick. It has 1 FXO for connection to the POTS network, one FXS port for connecting analog phones, and ethernet to connect to your LAN. This model also has a built in router and a WAN port, so it could be your internet gateway if you wanted, or not. It should be able to connect to Asterisk via SIP, and allow the FXO and FXS ports to be configured as an Asterisk trunk and extension respectively.

        https://www.google.com/webhp?s... [google.com]

      • I'm using a Sipura SPA3000, which is now unobtainium, to gateway my POTS line from the telco into asterisk. The Digium stuff works better, but it is too expensive. My Digium card got blown up by lightning, so I switched to the Sipura. I think there are similar devices available now.

        I'm using ebay-ed Cisco IP phones in the house, they are a pain to set up, but I have not found anything that works better.

      • Why are you using an analogue line?

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Care to share your setup? I've tackled Asterisk a few times and it's either prohibitively expensive (for home use, anyway - Digium's cheapest analog card is >$500) or unreasonably complex for someone with little background in telephony.

        Switch to an IP voice provider. Then you just need an internet connection and a IP handest (or even a soft client). Only a fax machine requires an old style POTS analogue line in this day and age... and if you need a fax, get a separate line and a fax machine that doesn't accept calls.

        I've set up Asterisk on an IP line for a few small businesses for just this purpose (killing spam and robocalls), just put it on a VM for no additional cost (well practically no running cost). Asterisk is not hard to set up

    • I use google voice to a similar effect, but even more strict.

      I only give out my google voice number.
      Only calls from a select list of close family and very close friends (less than a dozen numbers total) ring through to my actual phone(s).
      A few direct family members have my direct cell number in the extremely rare case where GV has an outage they need to reach me urgently.
      EVERYTHING else, gets voicemail. If its important, they'll leave a message.
      If they refuse to leave a message, I don't want to talk to them

      • I use Google Voice also. I especially like the "blacklist" feature where you can mark a caller as "spam." The next time they call, they will hear "This number is no longer in service." Scammer will remove you from their list (no point in calling a "disconnected" line) and you don't need to deal with them. Often, Google will block scammers without the phone even ringing or me marking them as spam. (In the same manner that they will send a spam e-mail to your spam box without any intervention on your par

        • by jcr ( 53032 )

          The next time they call, they will hear "This number is no longer in service."

          How do I set it up so they hear "fuck you, die in a fire"?

          -jcr

    • I do something similar. Callers are routed to an IVR which requires you to press a key to prove you are not a robo caller. Asterisk's follow-me feature then rings my home and cell phones. If I don't pick up, YouMail takes voicemail and e-mails it to me. I used to send clueless callers to Lennie, but stopped when my banker got all the way through Lennie's script before realizing he had been fooled.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:57AM (#49936465)

      It borders on irresponsibility to recommend Asterisk to anyone who just wants to filter spam calls and be done with it. Asterisk is a dangerous weapon with which you can very easily shoot yourself in the foot. There are some rookie mistakes that allow anyone to use your VoIP account to call any number in the world, at horrendous costs to you. Unfortunately some of these rookie mistakes are perpetuated in Asterisk tutorials on the web, so even people who don't just blindly set it up with the sample configuration and tweak it from there are likely to end up with a many-digit phone bill eventually. At the very least only use accounts with Asterisk for which you can set a hard spending limit.

    • Have you considered wrapping it up in a box with a simple UI and kickstartering it?
  • Know who to blame? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:06AM (#49936137) Homepage

    Want to know who to blame for this crap? The corporations who pushed to be able to spoof their caller ID -- so they could call us from foreign call centers.

    I'm sure the technology exists or could be added to the phone system to basically say "if your caller ID is faked, we're not even accepting this".

    I've started seeing the fake caller ID get to the point that it has the same area code and exchange as my own number ... once I apparently even called myself.

    Essentially incoming calls have to all be treated as fraudulent, because they've been just created by a computer to conceal where it's actually coming from.

    It has gotten to the point where if I don't know the number by sight, and then the persons voice, I pretty much tell all callers to piss off and go away.

    Sometimes the legitimate callers get all butt hurt, but I simply don't care ... because 95% or more of incoming calls on my phone are 100% fraudulent, and involve some clown in an overseas call center trying to scam me.

    And the problem is that it is probably the same exact call center that legitimate companies use, or one which has decided scamming is more lucrative than tech support.

    But between the Microsoft Service Provider, the people who want to clean my ducts, the automated call telling me I've won a free cruise, the automated call telling me I need to respond about lowering my credit card rate ... incoming callers find a hostile person who assumes they're lying to me.

    Sometimes I yell at them, sometimes I mess with them, but most of the time I just hang up immediately or leave it to the answering machine.

    It's literally not possible to trust incoming phone calls. So why bother even answering them?

    • by JonahsDad ( 1332091 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:14AM (#49936193)

      I've started seeing the fake caller ID get to the point that it has the same area code and exchange as my own number ... once I apparently even called myself.

      Are you sure the call wasn't coming from inside your house?

      • We have two phone lines, we actually though it might have been at first ... but the line we were answering was the line it claimed to be on the caller ID.

        Essentially the fraudsters have started to get really sophisticated ... if your number is 123-456-7890, the call shows as being from 123-456-xxxx

        Sometimes it's kind of fun to verbally abuse the asshole on the other end, but mostly it's not worth even answering.

        Caller ID is a complete joke.

    • The issue is, if you're a big company with 50 phone lines, you want your "main" number to appear regardless of which line you call on.

      If you're a small phone(VoIP/etc) company, that uses wholesale services from multiple providers, if your customer places a call and it is handled by one provider, but their number might be provided by a different provider. The providers have to let you specify what their CID is, for it to NOT be a false CID. And they have to trust you to set it appropriately.

      And yes, callerID

      • The issue is, if you're a big company with 50 phone lines, you want your "main" number to appear regardless of which line you call on.

        If the phone system was sanely designed, the calls would have a "real" number that could not be changed as well as a "callback" number that could be. A big company could use the same callback number for all calls, but not spoof the "real" number that the call came from.

        There are tons of things that could be done to reduce the number of fraudulent calls, but the reality is that the phone companies make loads of money off of having lax rules that allow companies to do whatever they want.

    • Want to know who to blame for this crap? The corporations who pushed to be able to spoof their caller ID

      Even further back - when they broke up Bell telephone. Under the phone system setup at that time, you would not even have gotten to this stage. The stage was set.

      Present day phone system, there is nothing blocking a person from being called by a trained chicken. Cheap, and easy.

      In the meatime, on my landline, if there is no name, or "800 service on the screen, it never gets answered. If there is a location, but they don't leave a message after the first time, I just push the fax button on my printer. S

    • Want to know who to blame for this crap? The corporations who pushed to be able to spoof their caller ID -- so they could call us from foreign call centers.

      Dude, you are clueless on multiple levels. First, "spoofing" caller ID is normal - the ability to tell the phone company (this is a *high* level overview) what your number is when making outbound calls when using a non-POTS line. Due to the way the phone network works this can't easily be changed. And companies have done this for decades, it's not something new. Big multi-line companies typically want outbound calls to come from a single switchboard number.

      Second, Rachel from card services works domesti

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ebh ( 116526 )

        Fronters may get lunch, but they don't get coffee. Coffee is for closers only.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:57AM (#49936827)

        Dude, you are clueless on multiple levels. First, "spoofing" caller ID is normal - the ability to tell the phone company (this is a *high* level overview) what your number is when making outbound calls when using a non-POTS line. Due to the way the phone network works this can't easily be changed. And companies have done this for decades, it's not something new. Big multi-line companies typically want outbound calls to come from a single switchboard number.

        I think there's two kinds of "spoofing" -- legitimate spoofing, where you own the DID number that you send out outbound trunks (eg, main phone number, etc) and bullshit spoofing, where at best you're obfuscating the source of your calls (eg, some hired call center that sends their client's DID info as caller ID) or worse, deliberately sending false or nonsense caller ID information to hide and obscure your call origin.

        Telecoms providers could filter client outbound trunks and drop calls with bogus calling party information, where bogus is defined as something like "you don't control that DID and have no written permission to use it". The FCC could require telecoms providers to do this very thing.

        I'm sure it would be messy and complicated to get setup, but so many calls are handled by the major carriers (ATT, Verizon, CenturyLink, etc) that you have a natural choke point that limits the ability of rogue providers to hand off calls.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      I don't know about the US, but it's similarly a sham in the UK.

      I have two phone lines, the second always got spam calls, it was obviously a line some idiot had plastered everywhere and then given up only for BT to re-assign it to me, luckily I only have that line for my secondary internet connection so there's no phone on it anymore anyway.

      But when I initially did have a phone, I asked BT how they intended to resolve the issue given that it was receiving junk calls through no fault of my own. The short answ

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      I'm sure the technology exists or could be added to the phone system to basically say "if your caller ID is faked, we're not even accepting this".

      If the phone company offered this, not only would I pay them for it, I'd, well, they'd still be an evil monopoly, but I'd at least start speaking politely about and to them.

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:09AM (#49936161)

    A large number of the people manning the phones for these boiler rooms have criminal records...most have done jail time. I've found that this provides me with no small amount of entertainment whenever these people come calling. Think of it as a combination of Jedi mind tricks and suddenly seeming to know more about them than they know about you. Sometimes it flops, but a lot of the time you can almost hear their eyes go wide on the other end of the line. Priceless. Even better, since the drones making the calls have no real ability to take people out of their database, you may end up recognizing the same people by their voice on subsequent calls...and this allows you to keep building on your past "conversations." Imagine a telemarketer dreading calling you :)

  • The plain old telephone system evolved in an earlier era, security by obscurity was the norm. There were using simple whistling tones added/removed to regular conversation for data communication between exchanges. All analog. Blind phone phreaks were stealing just long distance minutes from the phone companies. But now the phone companies feel they have no liability to detect spoofed caller id. If some courts hold the phone companies liable for transmitting false phone numbers, using some lawyerly language
    • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:58AM (#49936841)

      The plain old telephone system evolved in an earlier era, security by obscurity was the norm. There were using simple whistling tones added/removed to regular conversation for data communication between exchanges. All analog. Blind phone phreaks were stealing just long distance minutes from the phone companies. But now the phone companies feel they have no liability to detect spoofed caller id. If some courts hold the phone companies liable for transmitting false phone numbers, using some lawyerly language like "aiding and abetting" "knowingly providing false information" "negligent" etc, then there could be some relief.

      Phone companies most definitely know which of their resources are being employed to make calls with. They BILL for those resources and each and every call gets logged. Those logs are also required to be available for (allegedly) authorized law enforcement agencies and they're one reason why the old movie trope of "keep them on the line while we trace this call" is bogus. If the connection was made at all, no matter how briefly, there's a record constructed by automated equipment.

      Naturally, if the true origin of the call is coming in from some other source, the phone company can only trust whatever ID came in from that source, but they definitely know where the call itself came from and that means that law enforcement can then track back until such point where they cannot gain any sort of co-operation. Even spoofing via Internet phone can be tracked if you're determined enough.

  • Cable/satellite is too expensive for what it offers, so a lot of people dropped it. We have a few/lots of alternatives available depending on the country.

    Phone service is also too expensive for what it offers, it's being abused by scammers and people still pay for it? Drop the damn thing. We're in the Internet age, there's plenty of alternative ways to contact other people, no matter which platform you use and no matter where you live.

    • Expensive? My google voice is free.

      I pay for mobile mainly for Internet access. Voice calling is just a side effect. And Its around 50 bucks a month. Pretty cheap.

      And when you want to reach a business, many have no real-time want to contact them except phone. I doubt your local mom&pop hardware store has skype. ANd even if they have facebook, its unlikely they sit there monitoring it.

      • Google Voice, magicJack, etc.

      • Expensive? My google voice is free.

        We initially had a land line and then moved it to a less expensive mobile line (add-on to our main plan). Finally, we moved that number to an existing Google Voice account. The total cost for this last move was $40. $20 to keep our existing Google Voice number and $20 to port our number to Google Voice. This was a one-time fee, mind you, not a recurring fee. This was over three years ago, so we've saved hundreds of dollars so far.

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:17AM (#49936219)

    I've advocated (including to my senator, Warner (D) of Virginia, a former telecom executive) that the FCC should require changes to make CallerID Verified. By this I mean that the Telco/switch has to verify the CallerID (e.g. using payment data?), and mark the CallerID information as either verified or suspect. This would not solve the problem, but would, I believe, help both consumers and Law Enforcement.

    As long as spammers can forge CallerID, we won't be able to depend on CallerID to screen calls, and DoNotCall registry violations will be much harder to enforce. "Brigitte from Credit Card Services" calls usually have a City/State CallerID value, rather than the name of an individual or organization. But I get some legitimate calls (e.g. my dog's oncologist) that also show up as City/State. (I know to answer calls from Vienna, VA - at least until the Spammers start forging local CallerID values...) My former employer removed its telephone number from the CallerID information, I know if I get a call from "732" (New Jersey area code) that it's most likely one of my former co-workers.

    But recently I've been getting Spam calls on my cell, usually (but not always) the CallerID says "unknown". Until this month, such calls were limited to the Land Line (and this is the single strongest argument for ditching the land line.)

  • nomorobo.com (Score:5, Informative)

    by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:27AM (#49936283)

    I'm going to keep posting this until everyone uses it. It's a free telephone filtering service. Just enable your simultaneous ring feature on your landline and nomorobo looks at every call that rings your phone. If the originating number is on their blocklist, they pickup the call.

    It's a fantastic service.

    Phone companies should embrace these filtering technologies. If it wasn't for nomorobo I would have gotten rid of my landline a long time ago.

    • YES!! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!! Nomorobo ROCKS!! Hardly a day goes by where the phone doesn't ring ONCE. then stop.. Had to train the wife to wait to see if there was a second (or third) ring before she answered it... Just wish it would work on our cellphones, but I've yet to find a way... At least, on the cellphone I have call-control, which does a fair job of reducing the crap calls

    • Phone companies should embrace these filtering technologies.

      They do..for another 3.99 a month
  • This is what baffles me about the zillions of scam calls, and the feeble 'well, the FTC announced a cute little prize for anyone who can do something about it' twitches of response: If I get a call, that's because one of a relatively small number of telco companies patched it through to me. And none of them are running a charity, being able to bill for service, on a very granular basis, is a feature that was baked into the system quite early and thoroughly.

    So what's the deal? Does '862 million phone scam
    • The problem you can run into is with the network neutrality / common carrier issue. I can see the value of blocking spam calls, but once you open the door to the phone company filtering calls, it can cause more problems. Just something to consider.
  • For about a week or so on almost a daily basis I was getting calls from an Indian call center with spoofed numbers claiming to be alternatively from the IRS, FBI, and the Canadian version of the IRS (I am not only not Canadian, I have never been to Canada and live in the Southeast US, which last time I checked a map was pretty far from Canada) claiming they had a warrant from my arrest. I just put the calls on auto reject then got a good laugh out of the messages they left me. I only answered the first ti
  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @08:35AM (#49936335)

    My biggest worry is that the people behind these scams, like spammers, will hire copywriters who can fool many more people.

    Nope. Same as with spam. They need gullible idiots. If the initial pitch is more believable, they'l just waste more time with people of normal intelligence, who might get through a few minutes' of a pitch, but will ultimately balk at giving out all their personal info to a cold caller about their supposed account, or at rushing out to buy a Green Dot card to pay the IRS right now, etc.

  • I disconnected my land line a while back and almost never get these types of calls anymore. It was the best thing I've done in a while, as I got tired of maintaining the limited 25 number block list to stop the charity and fraudulent callers.
    • I just wish I could block all of the Republican fundraisers *still* calling me after nearly 10 years of NOT being an (R).. I realized, back during BushJrs second term that both the (R) and (D) political parties were eeeee-vil and had no good ideas for America... At least its fun to tell them off when they call.. Kinda feel sorry for the poor guy on the other end, when I cut loose on them....

      • by cruff ( 171569 )

        I just wish I could block all of the Republican fundraisers *still* calling me after nearly 10 years of NOT being an (R)..

        I forgot about having received that category of annoying messages too. Don't miss them one bit either!

  • My cell phone number is the primary for my small business, and it has been in the Yellow Pages for over 10 years.
    I get the usual spam aimed at personal numbers, plus an amazing array of business-to-business (OK, mostly scammer-to-business) telemarketers.

    I can't tell them what I really think for fear of being Google-bombed...
  • I got fed up with Verizon letting scam callers through all the time. Yeah, they have ways of blocking but the interface, *this or #that is retarded. There's also no incentive for any provider to block this horseshit and the FTC do not call list is a fucking joke. I've done the nomorobo.com route but since I'm also a small business owner I've resorted to OOMA and frankly I'm happier with it. If one of these scumbags does get through I'll just add them block them.

  • I can beat 1 in 900 handily. I would say about 1 in 20 calls that I get are scam calls. Just 2 minutes ago I erased a message from a robotic voice telling me that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against me.
  • I've received the "Your computer is reporting problems indicating that it is at risk" phone call once, but I was in line at a register, and couldn't try to have any fun with the guy. Years ago I received several of the "Our records indicate your vehicle's warranty has expired" calls. Which technically was true... since my car was over 10 years old and I was the 3rd owner of the car. On the 1st call, I asked how they got my number and they hung up. On the second call, I asked to be removed from their call l
  • I was getting robocalls multiple times a day ("Hi, this is Rachel from Card Services!" or "[foghorn] All aboard for the S.S. Takeyourmoney!" or "Stop! Do not hang up! The FBI wants you to protect your identity with Identity Block!") until I installed Facebook's Hello app [google.com]. I can't speak to its primary contact functions, as most of my friends don't bother putting their phone numbers into Facebook, but it has one neat feature: "Automatically block calls from numbers that have been blocked by a lot of other peo
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:04AM (#49936505) Journal

    The fact is that if they were aggressively and rigorously prosecuted, this wouldn't be an attractive business. As it is, they're assuming that they'll get away with it.

    Personally, I invite anyone looking for a vigilante-cause to hunt down and kill some people, this would be a great subject. It doesn't have to be the LAW that punished these guys, to de-incentivize the whole industry.

    I mean hell, by RIAA-caliber math, aside from their actual fraudulent scams, 86 million scam calls x 12 months x say 3 minutes per call average (to count the time it takes to get up out of my chair) = nearly 6000 person-years consumed annually just in time wasted. Assuming a median income of 26k per capita, this is nearly $160 million annually wasted.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:07AM (#49936523) Homepage Journal

    Use lots and lots of keywords.

    When the scammer calls, no matter what the person says at the other end of the line, you say "What did you say? You want to blow up an airliner and kill the president? You're a member of Al-Qeda and ISIS?"

    I guarantee that call will go dead and they won't ever call you again.

    • I guarantee that call will go dead and they won't ever call you again.

      Is that a money-back guarantee?

  • by Jeff Flanagan ( 2981883 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:17AM (#49936575)
    I never receive them, because if you're not in my address book, I'm not picking up the phone.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @09:21AM (#49936599)
    I use normorobo (https://www.nomorobo.com/). It's free for non-business use. I have my home phone (yes I still have a home phone - my current home security system requires it) going through it and I think it's great. It only works with VOIP or wireless phone numbers though, not true land lines. It works by having you activate a feature to ring a 2nd number when a call comes in. The 2nd number is No Mo Robo's phone number. Let your phone ring once and their database will pick up the call before the 2nd ring if they feel it's fraudulent. I'd say it stops more than 95% of the robo calls I get, which to me is fantastic. Maybe once or twice a month a robo call will get through, but that's all.

    Just as a point of interest, I work with a guy whose ability to judge scams is broken beyond anything I've ever seen in a non-elderly person. His ability to differentiate between the bogus and the legit is just about non-existent. Remember in the past decade when a lot of us US people were getting cold calls from some company telling us we could buy an extended warranty for our cars that would pay for any and every repair we needed for years to come? He bought one. I realized that it's guys like him who keep the robo callers in business.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      I find it quite sad that for a developed country you think that going this far our of your way, and then only getting 1-2 robocalls a month is anywhere near acceptable.

      I have a landline. I have not had a phone call to it in 5 years, except for family and friends. We have an answering machine which records the fact someone called, so I know that we haven't (and not just they didn't leave a message).

      We just don't get this crap. If we did, I'd complain like fuck because I've asked for my number not to be pu

  • So the other day I had to erase a ton of old voice mails on a phone in a part of the company where that particular phone/extension/did is hardly ever used.

    I logged into the voice mail to discover that it had been receiving tons of phone spam. Somehow this outside number had been listed in the phone spammers database and there were loads of different phone spam/scams on there. At first I listed to a few, then I just deleted and went to the next message.

    It took me about 15 minutes to delete all the me
  • > What's been your experience with fraudulent robocalls?

    Didn't get too many until very recently, the last two months. They were originally from a fake number in one of the nearby area codes, but now they've started coming in using my own number. I wish there was a switch so you could reject calls from your own number.

    Invariably they are of the "your recent reservation" variety. First was a string that lasted about a month for Marriot hotels, but the most recent I got was for Air Canada.

    Interestingly, the

  • I get maybe 3 calls a week, used to be a lot more. It's either credit card scams or offering drugs to senior citizens. I put them on speaker phone, and continue with whatever I'm doing and just babble nonesense at the people on the phone. I figure my cell phone minutes are free, so I can save someone else who might fall for the scam.
    • I do the same thing.

      If you want a real easy way to waste their time without wasting your own, just talk to them long enough to get them to ask you for your credit card number, and then tell them "oh, I better get my wallet" and put down the phone. It often takes them 5-10 minutes for them to realize that I'm not coming back.

      • I think I'm going to record an mp3 on my computer that is minutes of:

        hold on.. (shouting at someone else) "I'm on an important call!! It's about our credit card debt"
        Ok, hold on, looking for wallet, think it's in the kitchen..
        Pots crashing, cat screesch
        Wait hang on here it is, ok.. aw crap, I forgot the credit card is buy the computer upstairs, hold on.. How's your day going?

        Might wrap it all up with a clown honk and some profanity.
  • I guess they're not too popular in Germany, as I've yet to receive a single call since I moved here nearly 10 years ago. I wonder what's different?
  • tiny usb fax adapter put on the wireline for a couple of days a week seems to have gotten me dropped from most robo call lists. It is automatic so I assume it is the software that edits the list on the fly. The drones / scammers may not be able to remove you from a list but simple efficiency in programming certainly can.

    My wireline reached the 100% scam level several years ago but cannot remove it due to dsl. The ringer is turned kinda low and I use it as a reminder to get up from my chair and stretch or wa

  • I wonder what percentage of voice communication is currently robots talking to robots. I mean, personally 99% of voice traffic attributed to accounts I pay for is simply robocalls hitting my VoIP mailbox, being transcribed into text, then emailed to my inbox.

    Eventually it will be an unprofitable model right? right?

    The only possible explanation is such a small percentage of voice calls need to actually be heard in order for scammers to get enough money to be worth it. God, how do stupid people have s
  • Funny coincidence, just as I started reading this thread, I got a call from an unknown number. I let it run out, then looked it up on 800notes.com. Sure enough, a scammer. Now added to my cell phone's (rather lengthy) reject list.

    Also, 800notes.com has a few humorous recordings of someone scamming the scammers...good for a few chuckles.

  • Google Voice does a great job of blocking spam calls. I hope that Google never kills off Voice. It's so damn good. I've had it since it was Grand Central and was advertised as "one number for life".
  • I used to do tech support as a business. I still do tech support for friends and family and a few legacy customers. I've asked all of them to let me know if they get any cold calls regarding PC support, and to not do anything to their equipment unless they've talked to me first. (This being easier for some people to understand than the concept that *all* cold tech support calls are bogus. No, really, "The Microsoft" does not call you when your computer is "infested with the viruses", and there are no te

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