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TrapCall Service To Bypass Caller ID Blocking 399

Posted by kdawson
from the anonymity-was-an-illusion-anyway dept.
cemaco writes in with news that TelTech, developers of the infamous SpoofCard service, have come out with something even more controversial: a set of services for revealing blocked caller ID numbers. The services take advantage of a loophole in the way caller ID blocking works — it has never been effective when calling an 800 number, because the recipient is paying for the call. So TelTech instructs you how to forward blocked calls (transparently) to their 800 number; the call comes back to your phone in seconds with the formerly hidden caller ID revealed. Advocacy groups for victims of domestic violence are concerned. Victims of annoying calls hiding behind caller ID blocking are rejoicing.
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TrapCall Service To Bypass Caller ID Blocking

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  • by OneSmartFellow (716217) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:11AM (#26900867)
    Advocacy groups for victims of domestic violence are concerned

    What about ?
    • Yeah really (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirste ... minus physicist> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:14AM (#26900875) Homepage

      If you are calling me then I have a right to know who you are AFAIC.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by chrispatch (578882)

        I agree. If the phone number is blocked I do not answer. I don't talk on the phone to anonymous people. I don't use voice mail either. So you either call from your unblocked phone # that I recognize or I don't answer. Hell I am not really sure why I have a telephone anyway. The number of people I wish to communicate with via voice is a single digit.

        • by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:25AM (#26901509)

          I do like to communicate with anonymous people, but I only use a single, upraised digit.

          Doesn't really come across on the phone, though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by multisync (218450)

          If the phone number is blocked I do not answer.

          I know our local phone carrier offers a service where you can block calls from callers who block caller ID. This makes the most sense, because it the caller a simple choice. If you want to call me, unblock your number. If you are not willing to do that, I'm not willing to take your call.

          I suppose this service would be useful to people who's phone carriers do not offer that service, but I'd be surprised to find this is the case.

        • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:54AM (#26901783)

          he number of people I wish to communicate with via voice is a single digit.

          ...And you can just yell up the basement stairs if you want to talk to her.

        • Re:Yeah really (Score:4, Informative)

          by ShannaraFan (533326) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:54PM (#26904135)

          Same here, but I also know that I sometimes get legitimate calls from unidentified callers (doctor, wife's office, etc). For me, the following works perfectly:

          - home phone is call-forwarded to a GrandCentral number
          - GrandCentral is configured to send certain callers to my cell phone, wife's cell phone, or both. Unknown callers, "spam" calls, blocked calls, etc., just never ring through.
          - an added benefit, voicemails get delivered via email

      • Or to put it another way, why on earth would anyone even expect me to talk to them if they're not prepared to reveal who they are?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Orlando (12257)

          Or to put it another way, why on earth would anyone even expect me to talk to them if they're not prepared to reveal who they are?

          It is not necessarily WHO you are but WHERE you are calling from that is the issue here. If I was a battered wife hiding in a refuge, but still wanted to talk to my abusive husband, I would want to know that I can call him but that he can't trace the call back to where I am calling from.

          A mobile phone would solve the geographical part of this problem, but would leave the caller

          • Re:Yeah really (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hummassa (157160) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:50AM (#26901159) Homepage Journal

            If a battered wife wants to talk directly to her abusive husband, then she is absolutely stupid. Sorry. Battered wives should talk to abusive husband thru lawyers and police officers only.

            • Re:Yeah really (Score:5, Informative)

              by rhaas (804642) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:18AM (#26901427) Homepage
              RTFA. It's court-mandated, they don't have a choice.
            • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:33AM (#26901591) Journal

              Battered wives should talk to abusive husband thru lawyers, police officers and large caliber pistols only.

              Fixed that for you ;)

          • Re:Yeah really (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:21AM (#26901461)

            A battered wife may need to talk to a relative, call a place of work, someplace where the abuser can hunt down the phone number. I had an abuser who managed to get his hands on the cell phone of someone I knew, and got my number from their cell phone. Now my number is blocked. Now I am safe.

            And as for the morons below who are complaining about the wanting to talk, well they have a lot to learn about spousal abuse, and the court systems, and reasons for calling. It's not the place to get into it, but guys, keep talking about the technology and not about things you know absolutely nothing about.

            • Battered Men too (Score:3, Insightful)

              A battered wife may need to talk to a relative...

              Recognizing that most Slashdotters have not been in relationships it might be appropriate to point out that not all battering victims are female. There are plenty of violent women in this society beyond the occasional crazy female astronaut who drives cross country in diapers.

            • Re:Yeah really (Score:4, Insightful)

              by tobiasly (524456) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @03:19PM (#26906417) Homepage

              It's not the place to get into it, but guys, keep talking about the technology and not about things you know absolutely nothing about.

              This gets modded insightful? There is no content in this post other than "You're wrong, but I'm not gonna tell you why. Just take my word for it, because I claim to be authoritative on the subject."

              If you feel so strongly that the "morons" are wrong about those subjects, then either add to the discussion or STFU. "It's not the place to get into it" has never been a valid reason on Slashdot. It's called an open discussion.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Arterion (941661)

              So you have a restraining order. If he calls you, prosecute. It's pretty simple, right?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Is avoiding revealing your whereabouts to a violent spouse so widespread an issue that it overshadows everybody else's natural need to know who the hell is calling?

    • Re:I don't get it ?? (Score:4, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:16AM (#26900883) Journal
      The problem is serious, because domestic violence victims who've fled an abusive relationship often have to stay in contact with their abuser by phone, particularly in situations where the former couple share custody of their children," Southworth says.

      HTH.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I don't have any idea where to start. In cases where it's that bad, one has to wonder why there's shared custody involved. And it really makes me wonder why they need to use the phone, some other form of communication, one with logs, would probably be a better choice anyways.

        Then again, I can't imagine who in their right mind would call from their landline assuming that it couldn't be logged or have the number otherwise identified. My phone number is bl

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Except they really don't. The system in their state that deals with custody and such will do that on behalf of the woman (though usually not the man.) They don't have to be in touch with them at all. Going into the subject of domestic violence would only complicate the issue, but suffice to say that a lot of the time it's pure bullshit. (Actual rape is underreported.)

        • If the man is abusive, he usually loses custody.. So, yeah, stay off the phone ladies. If you're really itching to call somebody, call me. ;)
      • by Thornburg (264444) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:47AM (#26901135)

        The company offering this unblocking service should offer a free service to victims of abuse where they can call the company (by way of an 800 or 888 number), and the company will place a monitored and recorded call to the person in question (i.e. connect the two, but record the conversation and have an operator either always listening, or available at the push of a button).

        This would allow them to make a call that doesn't reveal their location, and would make a heck of a lot more sense than having private phone calls with someone who has the potential to cause you extreme harm.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nasor (690345)
        So buy a $30 pay-as-you-go cellphone. Problem solved.
    • by Markspark (969445)
      now they can't call and whine without the person on the receiving end knowing who to blame.
    • by wjh31 (1372867)
      im guessing they are worried about victims being traced by their numbers if they call up the abusive partners, but then why are they even calling them... so your point still stands in my view. If you have to hide your number you are likely up to no good, why not just make it illegal to hide your caller id
      • by Hyppy (74366) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:21AM (#26900927)
        The "if you've got nothing to hide..." argument is quite the slippery slope. It's a bit authoritarian to criminalize everything you don't personally do or agree with yourself, isn't it?
        • by inviolet (797804)

          The "if you've got nothing to hide..." argument is quite the slippery slope. It's a bit authoritarian to criminalize everything you don't personally do or agree with yourself, isn't it?

          Worse than that. That argument implies that the public's moral code is always right, and hence all privacy is suspect.

          In reality I find the opposite is usually true. The public gets is moral code from television anyway. Meanwhile virtuous people must remain stealthy lest they be drained for their productivity and punished

        • by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:26AM (#26901521)
          Besides that, it's also a complete fallacy. [butterfliesandwheels.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        If you have to hide your number you are likely up to no good, why not just make it illegal to hide your caller id

        If you don't let the police into your house, you are likeley up to no good. Why not just get rid of search warrants and make it illegal to deny the police entry to your house?
      • Why not just make it impossible to hide your ID?

    • Re:I don't get it ?? (Score:5, Informative)

      by athos-mn (64850) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:36AM (#26901045)

      We're concerned because most crisis call lines are not the phone bank you see on TV, but volunteers that work at home. As a crisis line volunteer, you want your home number blocked so that the client calls the crisis line and not you.

      Some of the people we deal with aren't particularly stable and may try to latch on to the crisis worker - these, if they go into common use, could cause mental health issues for the users of crisis hotlines, AND the volunteers.

      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:49AM (#26901153) Journal

        So go spend $700 on a phone system for the crisis line. You call in, enter your code, and then dial out from the crisis number. My TalkSwitch can do that for my small business without breaking a sweat. The CallerID that goes out is the number from the business. In my case, that sucks, because if you call my office an bounce to my cell, the incoming number is my office number, not the original caller. In this case, it's just a simple matter of training for the volunteers.

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:18AM (#26901423)

        The service doesn't reveal your number if they're calling YOU, only if you're calling THEM. According to the article, the reason that domestic abuse people are concerned is because there are situations where an abused spouse might need to call her abuser (such as calls about their kids) but doesn't want to abuser knowing the number where they're calling from.

        Personally, I think this is a pretty flimsy excuse. Abuse victims shouldn't be in contact with their abusers, period. If they need to deal with custody issues, they should be doing it through a third party or from a disposable cell phone or pay phone. And if an abuse victim is stupid enough to be contacting their abuser using their new home phone, then there is nothing you can do to protect them anyway (you can't stop someone from being a dumbass).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd (701)

      I would guess that victims of domestic violence would NOT be calling their abusers but would potentially be receiving threatening/harassing calls from their abusers.

      Why wouldn't they be rejoicing about this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)

      because women that have left home under bad circumstance find out where the guy is and call him.. from mom/sister/shleter/etc. and block the caller ID because they don't want to be found and beat up again.

      Perhaps they need to discuss custody or divorce, etc, the point is that they don't want to be found. A restraining order is just "words" when somebody shows up to beat you up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tinkerghost (944862)

        A restraining order is just "words" when somebody shows up to beat you up.

        Amen to that. My first wife's mother was killed by an ex-boyfriend who was out on bail for "menacing with a pistol"* and who had a restraining order. He bought a shotgun & a combat knife with an active restraining order.
        * - menacing with a pistol = put a loaded gun to her head, handcuffed her to him, and lost his nerve trying to suicide by cop.

  • They sell one product to expose the caller and one to block the caller? How hypocritical. I wonder which one takes precedence when the caller pays to block and the person called pays to unblock.

    Personally, I don't think it should be possible to block caller ID. If you want to be anonymous, find a different phone to use. Pick up a temporary pre-paid cell phone. Get a new one every month. For things where there is a truly legitimate need for anonymity, like domestic abuse, have an option for blocking that r

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Because that's over kill. There is no justification for requiring that the number be shown. The fact of the matter is that the number can be spoofed and some of us don't want our number to show up for one reason or another.

      I shouldn't have to reveal my number just because the other party wants it, if they really want it they should have to ask. That way I get a say in whether or not my number ends up on a list.

      Sort of like how you have to pay a fee to get out of the telephone book, why it is that the phone

      • by rodney dill (631059) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:38AM (#26901057) Journal
        I shouldn't have to reveal my number just because the other party wants it

        ...and I shouldn't have to receive/answer anonymous calls just because the calling party wants it that way. As it is I let 'blocked', 'private', or 'unknown' calls bounce to voicemail. If its important enough they can leave a message, and I'll know who is call before I choose to talk to them.
        • by horza (87255)

          Both hedwards and rodney dill have good points, but both points have flaws.

          Being able to block the number is useful if you value privacy, as there is nothing to stop a service harvesting incoming phone numbers as some harvest email addresses. I already get a fair amount of spam via both sms and automated diallers.

          A lot of this spam isn't anonymous and bouncing to voicemail wouldn't help. The additional problem with rodney's solution is that if you have friends abroad then often the caller id gets lost inter

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:41AM (#26901099) Homepage Journal

        I shouldn't have to reveal my number just because the other party wants it, if they really want it they should have to ask. That way I get a say in whether or not my number ends up on a list.

        The most sensible thing to do is to get no-caller-ID-blocking. That way, people who block caller ID get a message that they have to enable it to call you. I think people who block caller ID are cocks, and moreover they're stupid cocks because loopholes like this ALWAYS existed.

        As others have said, if you want to communicate anonymously, there are means for you to do that. The telephone system was built with public dollars and there is little benefit to even permitting anonymous calls, especially since they are not really and never have really been anonymous. Before caller ID even existed, they were logging all your calls for billing purposes. That information has always been available to "the powers that be". The only thing you get out of an anonymous phone call is being anonymous to technical incompetents, which you can achieve by using a payphone or a prepay cellular phone when you're not talking about people who can subpoena (or just examine) your telephone records.

        I do not have non-caller-ID-calls blocked... yet. But I certainly don't ever answer a call on my cellphone that comes in as "Private". That means I never answer my mom's phone calls, an acceptable loss. :P

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by egburr (141740)

        There are very few justifications for hiding the number. If you want to talk with me, you *sould* have to reveal your number.

        At the moment (not being an abuser) I can not think of ANY reason for you to call me without identifying yourself where I would have any interest in talking with you.

        My cell phone is already programmed with a "silence" ring tone for the number "UNKNOWN", so I never even know if you call. Any number not in my phonebook gets a default ringtone that I seldom answer. So, you can leave a m

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Try this on. My wife's a veterinarian. She will often make follow-up calls on emergencies and critical care patients from home. She tells clients she will do this and that the callerid will be blocked.

          In that case, you SHOULD answer. She's under no obligation to give her her home number. If she did, sooner or later, she'd be getting calls at 3am from people who should have gone to the emergency clinic.

          She's calling on her own time to follow up on your pet. The face that she cares enough to do that (rather t

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:05AM (#26901295) Journal

        Because that's over kill. There is no justification for requiring that the number be shown. The fact of the matter is that the number can be spoofed and some of us don't want our number to show up for one reason or another.

        I shouldn't have to reveal my number just because the other party wants it, if they really want it they should have to ask. That way I get a say in whether or not my number ends up on a list.

        Sort of like how you have to pay a fee to get out of the telephone book, why it is that the phone companies can put it in without permission is beyond me.

        If you are going to call my house, you are making something happen inside my home, probably without my permission. If you are going to do that, I have a RIGHT to know who you are and where you are calling from.

        Don't want me to know who you are? Fine, don't call me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nxtw (866177)

          If you are going to call my house, you are making something happen inside my home, probably without my permission. If you are going to do that, I have a RIGHT to know who you are and where you are calling from.

          Don't want me to know who you are? Fine, don't call me.

          If you subscribe to a telephone service, you are paying for a service that is known to cause your phones to ring when your telephone number is dialed. You have the RIGHT to disable the ringer or not subscribe to the service.

          Don't want to be inter

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MrNaz (730548) *

      Who wins? The guy with the Trace Buster Buster Buster.

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:17AM (#26900895)
    Advocacy groups for victims of domestic violence are concerned.

    Why? Because this doesn't allow victims to harass their abusive partners anonymously? I fail to see what legitimate use caller ID blocking has in a domestic dispute. If anything, this should be a benefit since it destroys the anonymity of a harassing caller.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Because it's easy to get a new phone number that the abusive ex doesn't know. However, if there are children involved they likely have to call the ex in order to arrange visitation - often a judge will have ordered this phone contact so not doing so will have consequences. And yes there have been cases of caller ID being used to find and hurt/kill ex-partners.

      Of course in these days of cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone services. it doesn't seem too hard to get such a phone (or even just a pay-as-you-go simcard

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hal9000(jr) (316943)
      Why? Because this doesn't allow victims to harass their abusive partners anonymously?

      spoken like a true 'tard. Is that the only reason you can see for wanting to hide your number? so that you can harass someone?

      never been abused or threatened, have you? Maybe a case is made because someone wants to call a person who is abusive and you don't want them to call you back? Say, you have an abusive spouse but you have to share custody. You need to call them but don't want them calling you and abusing you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mpoulton (689851)

        spoken like a true 'tard. [snip] Say, you have an abusive spouse but you have to share custody. You need to call them but don't want them calling you and abusing you? Hrm, maybe that's a good idea.

        If the court is involved to order shared custody, then the court can just as easily issue an injunction prohibiting the abuser from calling the victim. Violation of the order begets jail and fines.

        Even in the absence of a court order, the victim could block incoming calls from the abuser's number - assuming this technology is available to defeat ID blocking! All things considered, the ability to block one's originating number seems much more useful for the abuser than the victim.

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          And if you believe that they don't flaunt the order and rarely get hammered with it, I've got some nice-n-dry beachfront property on the middle of the Florida coastline to sell you... ;-)

      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:32AM (#26901573)
        There is *no* reason for an abuse victim to be contacting their abuser from their real phone other than sheer stupidity--none, zero, zilch. Any custody or kids issues should be done through third-parties, period. And even in the rare emergency where they just HAD to personally get in touch with Prince Charming, they could use a pre-paid cell phone, pay phone, some random business's phone, a third party's phone, etc. If Julie Dumbass just can't bear to let Jimmy Wife-Beater go, then there is nothing you can do to stop her. And why should the rest of us have to suffer just because she's that stupid?
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi. c o m> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:19AM (#26900911) Homepage

    The State of Michigan and I believe 6 other states passed laws written by the RIAA to make it a felony to mask your IP address. The laws were written so broadly though, that masking the information about any electronic identity would constitute a crime including caller ID.

    Many states modified this before passage, but Michigan and several other states just passed the RIAA bill as submitted.

    It is a class 3 felony to block caller ID in Michigan.

    Thanks RIAA

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      It's also a felony to sit OUTSIDE a coffee shop and check your email. A man in sparta michigan was arrested and found guilty of this crime 3 years ago.

      If you are in the state of michigan, NEVER EVER tell a cop what you are doing on your laptop, simply hold down the power button to crash power it off and close it and say, Writing a private love letter. you never EVER say you were online, or doing anything.

      This is not a good state to live or work in.

  • ... I always felt that blocked calls were the equivalent of someone showing up at your front door with a paper bag (with eye-holes) over their head, and they won't reveal who they were until you answer the door.

    Of course it just may end up generating more business for the SpoofCard....
  • TrapCall (Score:2, Funny)

    by arndawg (1468629)
    Sounds like something a certain bear at a certain /b/ would set up.
  • [The phone clicks. Frank puts the phone down. The gadget bleeps. Roedecker holds it
    out for Frank to see. The readout notes, "Anonymous Caller."]

    ROEDECKER: Well, obviously whoever called has blocked caller ID. The phone
    company does it for a price.

    [Frank snatches back the check out of Roedecker's hands.]

    ROEDECKER: Whoa, whoa! All you need now is a device to undo their caller block.

    [Roedecker hastily grabs a package from a nearby chair and takes off the lid. It's
    another gadget, the LMU-83.]

    ROEDECKER: The LMU 8

  • by WibbleOnMars (1129233) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:46AM (#26901131)

    It's one thing to block your callerID from being presented to the end user - in that case, the intermediary telcos will still be able to see the callerID; they pass it between themselves, but just don't pass it to the final end user. That's how this system works -- because they're a telco, they get to see the callerID, but unlike other telcos, they've decided to pass the information on regardless.

    But what about spoofed callerIDs? They're the ones that I feel would be genuinely useful to unmask. But sadly, this system won't work in these cases. If the callerID is tampered with at source, that tampered value is what gets passed between the telcos, so there's nothing useful that can be unmasked.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Not too long ago the CallerID string was passed to your phone but with a flag that told your device to not display it. I loved it because the NEC phone system I had at the time would ignore that flag. flipped out a lot of people... but then we had a T1 coming in so the same phone system set the CallerID string for outgoing lines. Line 21 was set for 1-555-555-5555 and the name VATICAN it was awesome for prank calling people.

  • Fix telco *657 (Score:3, Informative)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:51AM (#26901175) Homepage Journal

    My telco advertises *657 service (I may have those numbers slightly wrong) to report harassing phone calls, despite caller ID. Simply dial the code and it replies telling you that the call has been logged. If a police report is also filed, these records are given directly to the police, or if a certain number of these automated complaints are made, a report is automatically filed.

    The same thing can be achieved by calling the operator immediately after the phone call and reporting it as harassing. The phone company knows who called you, they don't like people abusing the service any more than landlords appreciate the loud annoying neighbour that makes people move out of their buildings.

  • ANI != Caller ID (Score:5, Informative)

    by knorthern knight (513660) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:58AM (#26901219)

    I can't believe the ignorance of the referenced article. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_number_identification [wikipedia.org] for an intelligent explanation of what's happening. The important part is...

    >>>
    Because ANI is unrelated to caller ID, the caller's telephone number and line type
    are captured by ANI equipment even if caller ID blocking is activated. The destination
    telephone company switching office can relay the originating telephone number to ANI
    delivery services subscribers. Toll-free Inward WATS number subscribers and large
    companies normally have access to ANI information, either instantly via installed
    equipment, or from a monthly billing statement. Residential subscribers can obtain
    access to ANI information through third party companies that charge for the service.
    >>>

    To summarize...

    * There are 2 *TOTALLY UNRELATED* means of getting *THE NUMBER THAT IS CALLING YOU*

    * Caller ID (technically CNID) sends the callers number during the ringing signal.
        Any outfit with their own PBX can send out whatever crap they want as CNID.
        That's how spoofing services work, and how telemarketers can fake CNID

    * ANI (Automatic Number Identification) is billing information data. Spoofing that
        effectively constitutes fraud. And you can be certain that phone companies will
        do whatever is necessary to make sure their billing systems work . ANI is very
        difficult to spoof.

        Having said that, TrapCall can be beaten. Not spoofed, but beaten. ANI passes the number making the call. If you call via Skype, your call is forwarded to Skype, who then forwards the call to the destination. The destination gets Skype's billing data. This is technically correct, but useless for identifying the originator. Oh yeah, Skype pays connection charges at the receiving end, so don't expect them to freely work for 1-900 numbers. This is roughly equivalant to calling from New York to Los Angeles to ask your brother to pass on a message to someone in Atlanta. The person in Atlanta knows they got called by somebody from Los Angeles. This is technically correct, but doesn't let them know that the message originated from New York.

  • Why does a listener try to communicate to someone that initially does not identify themselves, then if the listening caller does not know them, the caller does not identify that they are the agent for someone else. Lastly, why does the caller feel compelled to not identify their intentions.

  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @09:07AM (#26901317)
    I happily use Google's Grand Central(in eternal beta, so getting a telephone number may require a wait) it allows me to block all calls with no ID , forward them to a specific spam voice mail box or to my general voice mail (without even ringing my phones). You can even record a custom greeting >;-}

    It also carries a known spam caller telephone list that you can subscribe to - they will automatically get dropped or straight to spam voice mail box.

    Since changing my cell phone number I have given out my grand central number to everyone but family. It certainly reduces the number of people I need to tell if I switch cell phone provider (and number) in the future too - I'm not going thought the hassle of number porting.
  • From the linked article:
    He also expects his new business will be good for his old one.
    "The only way to block your number after this is released is to use Spoofcard," he says with a laugh.


    Basically the TrapCall service is extortion to get people to buy their SpoofCard service.
    • > "The only way to block your number after this is released is
      > to use Spoofcard," he says with a laugh.

      False, bordering on an outright lie. Any 3rd-party forwarder will work. The destination will see the forwarder's number, not yours. Heck, Skype or a cheap dedicated cellphone homed in another area-code will work just as well.

  • by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @10:55AM (#26902529)

    Caller ID is not and never has been a reliable way of determining the origin of a call (either the number, the person, or even the location).

    Caller ID 'blocking' is not and never has been a reliable way of hiding the origin of a phone call (either the number, the person, or the location).

    Knowing a phone number at which you can reach a particular person or organization (or from which they placed a call to you), does not necessarily tell you anything about their location.

    Prior to cell phones and the Internet, a number could certainly give you a general idea as to the state/city/county/etc where a given line was located. If it was the public number of a business or organization, you could often find that information.

    Enter cellphones - all you could tell was the general location of the address of the person that opened the cell account. Given the mobile nature of a cell, only the cell company would be able to have any idea as to the actual location of the person/phone, and only when it was turned on.

    Enter the Internet - previously, if you knew a name, and that person has a listed number, you could find it. Once that database became available electronically, it was a simple matter to sort (or search) by the number, making the reverse true. You might get just a name, you might get an address. Again, only if its 'listed'. Now there are companies that (for a fee) claim to be able to do lookups for unlisted numbers as well.

    Enter VoIP - all bets are off. You can be in NY and get a CA number. You can sign up in TX, have the service there, and you can take your ATA on a roadtrip to FL, plug it into your cousin's Internet, and when you call it will still show your TX phone number as the origin of the call (either directly or via this 800-forwarding silliness) There are even cheap services that let you make outbound calls to the PSTN, without even having an actual line or number - they either send no caller ID, or a number from one of their pools, which could be anywhere, even dozens of states away.

    Solution for 'women's shelters': The residents chip in together and get a basic prepaid cellphone. This could be done with coordination of the staff, or without. No name or address ever gets associated with the number. The residents share it to make calls to anyone to whom they do not want to reveal their location. They let the cell's callerID show up, but they turn off the ringer, or block all inbound calls so they go to voicemail. Instruct their 'abusive' husbands that they are sharing a phone and that they must leave a voicemail to reach them, which must state who they are and who they are calling. This also leaves the 'abusive' husband a means to reach his ex, but without knowing where she is.

    Solutions for 'people who want to know is calling' - lowtech: screen with an answering machine - hightech - answer if you recognize caller ID, i there is none or you don't recognize it,let it go to voicemail (It is possible for someone you want to talk to to call from a number you don't recognize, or from somewhere that provides no caller id - maybe your bank's antifraud dept is calling you to verify a transaction)

    Notwithstanding the right of an adult (including a battered spouse) to withhold their location from another adult (such as the spouse doing the battering,) both parents of a child have the right to know where the *child* is living, until and unless a court says otherwise.

  • by weave (48069) * on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#26903771) Journal

    Gizmo5.com allows you to pay $4 a year to set your caller ID to whatever you want on outgoing calls, else it's whatever your last call-in number purchased was. I'm a US resident but my last call-in number I got from them was a UK number so every call I make has a caller ID that shows the UK country code and the rest of the numbers. People in U.S. have no clue what that mess of numbers mean and I doubt telemarketers are going to call a UK number to reach me, and if they do they are going to have to navigate my telemarketer-annoyance dialplan in Asterisk.

    OK, not for everyone but hey, this is a site for nerds, remember?!

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