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FTC To Revisit Robocall Menace 167

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-enough-garrotte-wire-in-the-world dept.
coondoggie writes "While there are legal measures in place to stop most robocalls, the use of the annoying automated calling process seems to be on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission, which defined the rules that outlawed most robocalls in 2009 has taken notice and this October 18th will convene a robocall summit to examine the issues surrounding what even it called the growing robocall problem." A true robocall summit would be a great way to field candidates for the Loebner Prize! But since these will be humans (regulators, etc), I hope, but doubt, they can somehow do something to stop the constant fraudulent robocalls I get from credit-card scammers. In the meantime, it's good to keep a whistle handy.
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FTC To Revisit Robocall Menace

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  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:04PM (#40603835)

    The vast majority of "robocalls" I receive are political. These calls are specifically exempted from the rules.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:09PM (#40603909)

      its not even political. its a scam. 'we would like to take your poll on some issues. oh, and stay online so we can tell you about our CRUISE PACKAGE!'

      its all a scam.

      one thing I'm working on is a hardware device that will use a caller id modem, get the # string and check things like mrnumber.com (which is easy to script/call). the spam number is easy to get and I can basically NOT let the call ring thru if its on the spam list. if its not, the relay will click, the 2 wires will pass thru to the actual phone system in my house and I'll hear the ring.

      best way to avoid them is to not even give them an answer. they think there's no one ever there. best way to deal with them (since killing them is illegal. I think?)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That sounds like something that my cellphone already does in software.

      • by meerling (1487879) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:20PM (#40604081)
        it's better to play the 'out of service' or 'disconnected' tone for them so their robocaller will automatically remove your number from the list. They don't want to waste time calling invalid numbers, and someone not answering is still a potential call, while a dead number isn't.

        A friend of mine had his answering machine set up to play the tone, then do a normal message back when we were being inundated in robocalls here. It's amazing how effective it was. I even borrowed a copy of his tape for a week to 'dissuade' the vast majority of them. Worked like a charm. (Yes, we had tape based answering machines, the digital ones were too expensive and limited at that time.)
        • sorry but I disagree.

          the best way to address a hidden network area is to never respond to their packets. 'firewall' them. they will go away or waste their time (both good outcomes).

          I don't want to pick up their calls and no signal I could send would really be as effective as ignoring them.

          the trick is setting up the filter like and pass-list, just like all spam systems. I'm getting enough of either filterable names and number prefixes OR hits on websites that crowdsource the number and give a spam score.

          • by X0563511 (793323) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @02:33PM (#40605261) Homepage Journal

            Imagine this: if instead of just ignoring the packets, you could somehow make their DNS server say "no such host."

            Your analogy doesn't apply. ACD systems don't care about non-answers, they don't remove the number then. If they get an answering machine they can detect, they drop the call but keep you - but if they get a number disconnected or other telco error, they remove you - at least from that campaign. Nothing stops the meatbag in charge from feeding you into the hopper again later.

            Disclaimer: I used to work with these systems. I do know how they work, having implemented them. (for a legitimate collections agency, not bullshit "Want a cruise!?" nonsense)

          • by Obfuscant (592200)

            I don't want to pick up their calls and no signal I could send would really be as effective as ignoring them.

            Uhhh, yes, sending them the "invalid number" tones is more effective than ignoring them if you put a value on being able to use your phone for what you want instead of it being used by them.

            If you ignore them, they keep calling. They don't care, it's a MACHINE. The machine has been told to call your number. If you don't answer your number stays on the list. Automatic. No person is ever involved in that process. It's not a waste of their time because you are still a potential customer. Whoever they are bei

          • This is getting complicated. Can't we just kill them?

      • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:28PM (#40604223)

        one thing I'm working on is a hardware device that will use

        Not trying to rain on your parade, and hey, if it works for you, go and do it, but once you have an asterisk PBX and voip working, setting up some caller ID routing rules is almost terminally simple as shown below.

        So in /etc/asterisk/exten.conf you'll have a stanza for incoming calls

        [provider-in]

        Now inside that start if/then routing kicking junk out. Now please be patient with me, I'm old, tired, and this is from memory, and asterisk config language is like F-ing LISP but ten times worse in how even something "simple" needs endless nested parens, brackets, and curlies.

        exten => _XX.,2,GotoIf($[${CALLERID(num)}" = "Unknown"]?200)
        exten => _XX.,4,GotoIf($["${CALLERID(num):0:3}" = "800"]?200)

        Take a wild guess what line number 200 looks like:

        exten => _XX.,200,VoiceMail()
        exten => _XX.,201,HangUp()

        I also have a line 300 termination that simply hangs up on certain blacklisted numbers. and a "ZapaTeller" or whatever its called that squirts SIT (disconnected) tones. And I believe I have a milliwatt termination, and a music on hold termination in there somewhere.

        Now as a practical matter this is an excellent way to learn who blocks caller ID and who doesn't. I've made some weird discoveries like one of my kids doctors categorically blocks outgoing caller ID every time he calls (annoying). Also the school. Other than that, no problemo.

        Whenever I mention this, I get breathless FUD about how the world might end because a CIA agent can't call me to tell me to hack into NORAD and block the missile launch. Oh wait that was the movie "Wargames" again. Well anyway the point is ignore the FUDders they aren't worth it.

        • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:47PM (#40604521)

          Oh and I forgot another step of my exten.conf script.

          Certain numbers get a GOTO to line 100 where I ring every phone in the house plus an analog adapter with a weird phone ringer on it. Mom, Granny, auntie, workplace, friends, coworkers, neighbors, you get the idea, basically if we know them, we get a special ring.

          However unknown numbers fall thru to line 50 or so and only ring the regular phones.

          You can do multiple lines with voip and selective ringtones and such, but it turns out to be simpler and cheaper to just do some analog weirdness to a special extension.

          When I was single and living alone I shut off my ringer and did not accept incoming calls. Message service only... I enjoyed my freedom.

        • I have simple old POTS (not even cellular, in this specific case).

          its so simple to have all your phones or ans machines downstream of a simple DPST relay and use a caller id modem (which your system does have, of course) and some simple embedded linux or even arduino stuff. it does need a net connection and it needs live lookups before it passes the relay click.

          I have been running a script to lookup numbers as they come into my callerid (using the nice tool suite 'network caller id' or ncid) and then do a

      • I have been cell-phone only for about 10 years, except a brief period after I moved into a new apartment (the apartment required a land line for the security system).

        I received a massive, massive amount of telemarketing calls in the first month. About 75% of them were from the local newspaper trying to get me to subscribe. The other 25% or so were politics. So outside of one problem company, political calls are the problem.

        I've not had a cold call, a true sales call in years - other than of course the 5,000

      • Even the genuine political calls are scams disguised as polls [wikipedia.org]. "Hi, this is a totally unbiased voter survey conducted by an independent research company. If you found out that Candidate A rapes puppies and Candidate B spends 25 hours a day working unpaid for charities, would that affect your voting preferences?"

        And of course even the retailers get around the call restrictions by using these bogus surveys to push their products. "By answering this market survey, you can make sure retailers know what you l

      • by Chelloveck (14643)
        Most of the political poll calls I get are scams, but not the type that are really trying to sell cruise packages. "We'd like your input on these very important issues. Would you vote for the opposition candidate who's for truth, justice, and the American way; or re-elect the incumbent candidate who voted against the Puppies, Orphans and Nuns act? Would your opinion be different if we told you that they were *really cute* puppies? And that orphans all froze to death? And the nuns ended up turning feral? Pre
      • its not even political. its a scam. 'we would like to take your poll on some issues. oh, and stay online so we can tell you about our CRUISE PACKAGE!'

        its all a scam.

        one thing I'm working on is a hardware device that will use a caller id modem, get the # string and check things like mrnumber.com (which is easy to script/call). the spam number is easy to get and I can basically NOT let the call ring thru if its on the spam list. if its not, the relay will click, the 2 wires will pass thru to the actual phone system in my house and I'll hear the ring.

        best way to avoid them is to not even give them an answer. they think there's no one ever there. best way to deal with them (since killing them is illegal. I think?)

        I have "invested" in two Digitone Call blockers. The call blocker will block 80 numbers/area codes. I have two because the first one is now full. The device works great, which the FTC doesn't. The "Do Not Call List" is a 100% joke. If you hook the call blocker up where the phone line comes into your home, and connect all the phones in your house to the "Tel" side of the blocker, the phones will never ring for a blocked call. The caller ID comes between the 1st and second ring so if you connect the call bloc

    • Doesn't matter (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oGMo (379) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:25PM (#40604167)

      Just ignore any number your phone doesn't recognize. Better, have software ignore it for you. If it's important, they can leave a message (and potentially be whitelisted).

      If your complaint is "but I have a landline," the solution is even simpler: disconnect it from a phone. :-P

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        Android has some nice software for ignoring calls from numbers not in your contact lists.

        If you have a landline, you can buy a sip gateway for about $50 and route calls into an Asterisk box. That actually gives you a lot of flexibility with what you do with the call. You can route it to a phone, dump it into a voice menu system, dump it into a voice menu system from hell, play a game of hunt the wumpas with the caller or pretty much anything else you can imagine. I was playing with it for least cost routi

      • Google Voice can let you do this... it automatically filters known-spammy CIDs, and can allow pass-through to your phone(s) (land-line and/or cell and/or voip app) only for numbers on your whitelist. You get an email for all other callers that leave voicemail, with an added bonus that you can have the message as text for a quick skim instead of having to listen to a bunch of junk messages.

        Of course, this means that you're giving Google access to your voice data, so you lose any semblance of privacy.

    • by sribe (304414)

      The vast majority of "robocalls" I receive are political. These calls are specifically exempted from the rules.

      FYI, that used to be true for me. But over the past year I get *far* more credit scams than political calls. Sometimes the same scam goes on day after day, and I have even gotten 5 calls in one day from the same number with the same scam!

      • The vast majority of "robocalls" I receive are political. These calls are specifically exempted from the rules.

        FYI, that used to be true for me. But over the past year I get *far* more credit scams than political calls. Sometimes the same scam goes on day after day, and I have even gotten 5 calls in one day from the same number with the same scam!

        The #1 winner around here is calls from an alarm company. Not my alarm company, a competing alarm company. They use pictures of cops in their big expensive color ads in the local coupon guides. In fact, the owner of this alarm company is an ex-cop. They call multiple times a day, and force their employees to rattle off long live speeches to my answering machine. Presumably because recorded speeches are illegal.

        Oh, and did I mention I'm on both the state AND Federal Do-Not-Call lists?

        • by sribe (304414)

          Oh, and did I mention I'm on both the state AND Federal Do-Not-Call lists?

          I had a lawn service company that would not quit calling me. When I'd demand to be taken off their list, they'd smart-mouth me, claiming I must have used them in the past (I had never used any such service, much less them), or that the DNC list did not apply to them, and so on. One day I just literally snapped and screamed at the top of my lungs "DO NOT CALL ME AGAIN YOU FUCKING CUNT"--and since that moment I have never heard from them again ;-)

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      The vast majority of "robocalls" I receive are political.
      I get my share of political, but the vast majority, sometimes twice a day, are robocalls from debt collectors trying to reach people who do not and have never lived at my house. The most annoying thing is that their message says "by continuing to listen to this message, you acknowledge that you are XXXX...", That REALLY pisses me off. I feel like changing my answering machine message to say "by leaving a robocall message on this recorder you agree t
  • Have a report spam option, as well as report fishing or illegal solicitation. It's not hard, just need to actually do something reasonable (I know, I know, it's a bureaucratic). Just send a text message to some service with the offending caller's number from the number you got spammed at, or have a web service and smart phones can have a report unwanted call option with a drop down on if it was just annoying, or if it was illicit in some way. Get more than X reports of spam and you get a warning, get more t
    • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:22PM (#40604125) Homepage

      You mean like the Do Not Call complaint system [donotcall.gov], set up by the FTC to report robocalls as well as calls to numbers in the Do Not Call registry? (I agree a text would be more efficient, but reporting exists, and isn't remotely difficult)

      The big problem is actually tracking down the bad guys. Phone robocall spammers aren't doing anything fundamentally different from what email spammers do.

      • What I would like to see is for the Do Not Call complaints to be publicly tracked. I've submitted many complaints -- mostly against credit card scammers -- and considering that the same idiots are still calling after dozens of complaints, it's a pretty safe bet that nobody's actually looking at them. Since there's no visibility into the process, though, I don't really have any evidence that the FTC is ignoring the problems.

        • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:49PM (#40604555) Homepage Journal
          The Do Not Call list should charge huge fines and reimburse the reporting party something like $50 per incident.
        • I get a lot of the "Credit Card Services" calls, and usually report them to the FTC (using donotcall.gov).

          Last week, I (for the first time ever) got a call from a number that I had previously reported (at least 3 months ago). I lost all faith in the FTC's website at that time.

          The ball is in the court of the FTC. They have a reporting website, and people are using it. However, they have NEVER publicized how they handle the complaints, and it is beginning to be obvious that they pretty much do nothing with

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            It seems to me like:
            1. The FTC is actually doing something about these complaints. As you said yourself, they've taken people to court and gotten convictions, e.g.
            Time [time.com] on the ever-popular "This is Rachel from Cardholder Services" scam. My guess is that the office that handles this is not staffed to handle all the complaints, though, so they probably count up the complaints and only really go after the top offenders.
            2. Most of the problems with catching spammers also apply to catching phone scammers, like fi

          • by grahamsz (150076)

            Yeah I get lots of them. They seem to come in waves, I'll get 2-3 calls a day for a few days then nothing for a while.

            I've filed quite a few FTC complaints but it doesn't seem to help anything.

            I've also had quite a few from someone claiming to be Wells Fargo but who can't confirm any account details of mine. I tried calling the main wf number and they didn't know anything about who called me. I'm not even sure what to do with that sort of thing.

            • I've also had quite a few from someone claiming to be Wells Fargo but who can't confirm any account details of mine. I tried calling the main wf number and they didn't know anything about who called me. I'm not even sure what to do with that sort of thing.

              That's wire fraud and fraud over state lines, so it's the FBI's responsibility. They have a phone number and an email address where you can report it. I believe the Secret Service is also interested in these ones (although I can't recall why).

              However, unless someone actually fell for it and collectively lost over $10,000, they're not going to do much. If this HAS happened, your additional data point can help nail the guy.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Then you end up with political party A reporting political party B and vice versa. And naughty high school kids reporting each other and/or the truancy reporting office. You need a meta moderation system like /.

  • Business will whine and say that if they can't make robocalls, then it will savagely destroy the economy. And whenever business claims that, the lawmakers just roll over and give them whatever they want.

    The reality is, the vast majority of calls I get are robocalls, and the majority of them are usually scams involving highly accented idiots in call centers.

    I've taken to telling the people who may or may not be legitimate that I simply can't believe people calling me. Between fake caller ids, and outright

    • by TWX (665546)
      When I get robocalls on landlines that redirect to a human I keep them on the phone as absolutely long as possible without revealing anything. That way they can't call someone else in that time they're stuck dealing with me. Usually expressions like, "tell me more," and, "I didn't catch that, can you repeat that for me?" will suffice in dragging the call out.

      When I get true robocalls with no human I will also try to keep them on the line until they hang up, as opposed to my doing it.
      • its a home made DDOS. you deny them the time slot to bother other people.

        I am trying to do the same. slow them down and not answer the call if it matches a pattern or known bad number or name or online lookup. do not answer them or if you do, waste their time.

        so yes, I agree with you.

  • About once a month I get a robocall from some company that cleans carpets. The recording launches into a cheesy sales pitch without giving any information that would really be useful to someone wanting to report them to the FTC.

    Then at the end of the message, it says if you're interested in their fabulous offer, you can call their number.

    So I called the number, and it was an answering machine! You are told to leave your information for them to get back to to schedule a visit. Again, there is no real identif

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      It's a shame it's come to that, but what can you do?
      Apparently, you need to schedule an appointment with them. Of course, don't be home when they come by. Once they show up, it should be relatively easy to figure out who they are and report them.
      • I just use google voice... I get prompted to press * for unknowns if I want to answer, otherwise it goes to voicemail, and it's easy to mark calls as spam, then they don't ring me again.

        Sam

  • the asshats who keep calling my phone to play the sound of a foghorn blowing
    • by kaiser423 (828989)
      That's a cruise ship horn. Yea, I get that one too. If you wait five seconds, the horn will be over and they'll try to sell you a cruise package.
    • Oh sweet zombie Jeebus, yes. They call me at least once a week from a different number in area code 360, and like a chump I pick up every damn time because I know people there.
       
      20 years to life sharing a cheap cruise ship cabin with a dozen rabid weasels is too good for them!

  • by jamesoutlaw (87295) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:12PM (#40603979) Homepage

    When I receive a political robocall, I make note of the politician who's the subject of the call and I then proceed to call their campaign headquarters and speak very rudely and sternly to the staff person who answers the call. I've gotten off several calling lists that way- lists that I NEVER asked to be on. It probably doesn't accomplish much, but I don't think it's a wasted effort to call and annoy people who willingly call and annoy me.

    In local elections, I can frequently talk directly to the candidate. It's always fun to listen to them stammer and try to make an apology.

    Note to politicians: If I want to hear from you, I will contact you. I don't need nor want you calling me and I don't need or want any of your "supporters" calling me on your behalf. I get enough of your foolishness in the media. I don't need to hear it over my phone.

    • This is why I will never donate to any political campaign, ever again. I made the mistake of donating to a couple in 2008, and it's been telephone hell since. 1-2 calls a day in 2010 and 2011, and 3-4 calls a day so far in 2012 -- I fear what will happen as we approach the actual election.
  • Spam calls (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:14PM (#40604003)

    I think what we're seeing today is a different form of robocalling. Legislation has (thankfully) made legitimate, above the board robocalling operations unprofitable.

    What we see now are scams run by criminal organizations, not unlike spam. They used to try sell you things, now it's just outright fraud. With low cost voip-hardline services it's easy to setup a fly-by-night operation and make a few hundred thousand calls before you're shut down.. If you get shut down. The FCC/FTC seem to be pretty slow acting.

  • Rules and laws are useless if not enforced.
    I get (and block) at least 2 robocalls a week, and after googling each number after the call, I'm nowhere near the only one.
    What we need isn't new rules, but to simply enforce what is already there.
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:18PM (#40604053)
    We need an answering machine that can use voice recognition to detect real callers, and forward them to your cordless/cell phone, and keep the sales calls in voice jail hell.
    1. RAM: Hello
    2. Salesguy: Hello, I'm calling from ****
    3. RAM: I'm listening
    4. Salesguy: Our pills are the best pills there are
    5. RAM: Tell me more
    6. Salesguy: They cure gout, baldness, and cancer.
    7. RAM: Go on

    ...

    The Robo Answering Machine scripts wouldn't even need to be that interactive. As long as the device could detect when the salesguy was speaking, and respond with a random interogative or prompt. There could even be contests to generate the best scripts.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocall_scandal [wikipedia.org]

    But don't worry Canada, we have a brutal presidential election coming up. We'll try our best to out surpass you here on the Robocall douchebaggery scale. Your victory is only temporary Canada!

  • by djl4570 (801529) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:21PM (#40604111) Journal
    I find it hard to believe that POTS supports the dynamic range needed to damage someone's hearing.
    • Dynamic range has nothing to do with it - just maximum volume at the receiver's end, and that's down to the equipment being used.
      • I've encountered more than a few headsets in call centers* that have the volume cranked up to drown out the people in the surrounding cubicles. Apparently the much-vaunted noise cancellation doesn't work as well as advertised?

        * while switching out failed/misdiagnosed hardware... hey, break-fix contract work helps pay the bills

  • https://donotcall.gov/ [donotcall.gov]
    It helps. It's not perfect, believe me, and for the 30 days between when you register and you're officially on the list, it's hell, but... I'm down to 2-3 robocalls a month from 20-30(and for the 30 days, it was about 5-10 a day. I just didn't answer my phone for a month).

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      I'm on the list and still get a crapload of idiot calls.

      [John]

  • Credit Card (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @01:24PM (#40604155)

    The ones I get are usually credit card scams.

    I've heard it said that these calls are coming from offshore making it hard for the FTC to trace.

    Too bad we can't set the RIAA and MPAA loose on them.

    • There has definitely been an increase. A few years ago, I started getting them on my cell phone.

      It's pretty clear they are using outsourced autodialing, there's a distinct "prompt" phase: "Hello, press one to learn about valuable credit card information, press two to be added to our do not call list". On pressing 1, you get the actual boiler room. The CID is from all over the country, never the same number twice. Of course, all my phones are on the federal DNC list...makes no difference to these scum.
  • We've been getting Home Security calls from Oregon and Washington area codes but the caller is an Eliza type robot. It asks a recorded question and the next question is based on your answer. It's done pretty well at working the call including when you interrupt the question and then hangs up. You can just tell it's a robot question and answer package vs a real human. It's just a little too perky and the inflection is just a little off.

    Most of the time though we get callers that don't leave a message. Genera

  • Why bother waiting for the FTC to come up with an answer, when there's a simple solution readily available (to most people, anyway) right now? If you have the option (and the budget) just kill off your land line altogether, in favor of wireless. Cell phones have been protected from all but opt-in robocalls since 1991. The most important benefit of a land line (always on, remotely powered) essentially disappeared for me when I bought a house that was already wired for FiOS... so upon reflection, my wife a
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Except of course, that the spammers and fishers don't care at all about that.

      My wife's cell regularly gets called with such things, and since the caller id is bogus and it's a robot on the other end, there's not much you can do to report it as they've gone to some lengths to hide who they actually are.

      I think the phone companies should be required to block all calls which don't originate from the broadcast caller id. I generally don't answer anything that says "Private Caller".

      As I've said elsewhere in thi

    • I am getting occasional spam text messages and phone calls on my cell phone. This will probably increase for everybody in the future.
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Cell phones have been protected from all but opt-in robocalls since 1991.
      I don't think the scammers care whether it has been illegal since 1991 or only illegal since 2003 or whenever the DNC was put into place. They still call my landline AND my cell phone.
      • by cjb-nc (887319)
        Tell that to the (206), (360) and (971) area code spammers that have been hitting my cell multiple times per week.

        If you'll pardon the plug: Call Control by EveryCall.us has been an excellent caller-id-blocker for my Android phone. It handles wildcard blocks, so those jerks don't get through anymore regardless of which number they've picked each time.

    • by zarmanto (884704)

      Okay... based upon the replies I'm seeing, clearly I left out an important detail: If there's no caller ID information, why on earth would you bother answering at all?? Or even if it's just a number you don't recognize... just let it go to voicemail, and that'll filter out pretty much all scammers/spammers/fishers. If for some reason they can't leave you a message with callback information, then whatever they wanted to say obviously isn't important enough to worry about.

      And for the record, I have received

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Sadly, even when someone calls me from the office it shows as "Private Caller".

        You'd be surprised at just how common it is for the caller id to be blocked or altered, which makes it even more frustrating.

        But, generally I just leave the answering machine to do the initial screening ... most of the calls I get nowadays is stuff that is either an outright scam, or not someone whose call I'm interested in anyway.

        The phone has basically become another vector for spam, and largely gets ignored. Which means occas

      • As part of my normal day to day job, my cell phone gets occasional calls from 150+ coworkers/clients, and with turnover I often have no way of knowing who is calling me. I can't simply ignore them if I don't recognize the number. I currently get about 5 calls a week from scammers, it used to be about 50. Every single time they would post a random number in the caller id, that did not trace back to them, but was some kind of hacked number. I've probably been called by spammers using hundreds of different
      • by mkraft (200694)

        When your phone rings off and on all day, because scammers are calling then come back here and say "just ignore them".

        Personally I've created a shit-list contact on my phone which keeps getting larger and larger with scammer phone numbers. I have it set to silent ring so I never hear them call, but it still annoys me.

        • by mkraft (200694)

          Actually I get next to no calls on my home phone and ones I do, I can block since I use Ooma.

  • Why can't somebody invent voicemail service that filters everything by default, except whitelisted numbers? I'd pay for that.

    I get on average, 4-6 robocalls every weekday, and being able to do this would be a tremendous timesaver, not to mention, spare me a lot of aggravation.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      There are several packages on android that do exactly that. If you're having this trouble on a landline, you could set up an asterisk box and a SIP gateway and route calls into asterisk. From there you can check caller ID -- I bet you could hook it up to your google contact list, or just keep a database of contact numbers and route everything else into voicemail. Either way, you get an amazing amount of control over who gets to bother you and who doesn't.
    • Google voice.

      Whitelist, everything else can go straight to voicemail, which is transcribed (good enough to get the gist) and emailed to you, so you don't even have to listen to it.

      You can mark messages/calls as spam so you never even have to let them go to voicemail too.

      Sam

  • 1 Bar political calls unless A you have registered as %party% or independent B have voted in the last 2 elections (so you don't get calls if you are registered as %other party%
    2 If X number of complaints are registered (add 20% to the total for any number on the DNC list) then JAIL the execs of the company (and the BOD) for a period of not less than 2 years.
    3 Also Jail the persons running the Call Center for a period of not less than 3 years (and bar them from running any other businesses)
    4 in cases where

    • by sconeu (64226)

      5 is useless.

      Officially: "Our contracts with $OFFSHORE_CALL_CENTER specifiy compliance with DNC"

      Unofficially, with no paper trail: "Hey, $OFFSHORE_CALL_CENTER, do whatever you have to do to make lots of sales. Screw the DNC, you're offshore and untouchable."

      • which invokes the Last jump in the US clause and the Fraud Clause (also why the Suits should be PERSONALLY responsible for this)

  • Most of the time when I give out a phone number to a business it goes to a land line with a call screen-er attached. My friends get the cell phone number. http://www.amazon.com/PHONE-BUTLER-UNWANTED-TELEMARKETING-CALLS/dp/B0008GTP9S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341941553&sr=8-1&keywords=phone+butler [amazon.com] This device asks people the type in a number like an office extension. I wipes out nearly all automated calls, wrong numbers that don't speak English and midnight drunks. You might be able to program s
  • VoIP allows the robocallers to move around and hide themselves very easily. Trying to stop the robocallers is worse than whack-a-mole. The robocalls have gotten so bad that I now let the answering machine screen all my incoming calls. Oh, and naturally, if the FTC does decide to put into place new rules, be aware that political robocalls will be exempt.
  • A good source of ways to handle unsolicited sales calls: Fun with Phone Solicitors: 50 Ways to Get Even [amazon.com].
  • Nah, that's harsh and much less effective than this horror [youtube.com]..
  • This [botaday.com] is all I have to say about that!
  • by jthill (303417) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:04PM (#40606503)
    Isn't it this simple? Dedicate a code like say *811 or some such as "report last incoming call as an unsolicited robocall". Require all telcos to log the real source of the reported call. Any caller with enough robocall reports is required to account for their outgoing calls, and if unable is forced to pay the $500 statutory per-call penalty (that's what it is in California) to each call recipient, per call. Give the government say 15% of the penalty and I think no robocaller would be able to fly under the radar for long.
  • I can't count the number of "press 1 to speak to a representative, press 2 to be removed" scam calls I get. Most of them are from "my credit card company", "my mortgage company", "my xxxx company". Press "2" once and you are screwed as your phone number ends up being sold to every scammer in the world. Press "1" and the people curse at you if you ask to be removed from the list (and you are still screwed as your phone number ends up being sold to every scammer in the world).

    These people deserve a special

  • By robocalling them!

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