For all their bragging, carrier call spam is increasing

I’m sitting at work. I get a call on my cell phone. The number displayed claims it’s my work number calling me. I know it’s not but I answer today because I’m playing with a call recorder. There’s a long silence because I don’t say “hello.”

TL;DR – this is my story of still allowed call spoofing, and spam.

A man’s voice comes on, it waits for a second to see if someone says anything. It’s close enough to the voice of one of the people at my office that I say hello, at which point the voice launches into an attempt to fundraise for the American Alliance of Police Officers or the American Police Officer’s Association/Alliance.

September 14th was two pages of caught scammers, one service that refuses to stop calling, and two that got through to actually ring my phone.

I ask a few questions, determine that what’s calling me is not a human but a computer, won’t give any answer that would allow me to easily pursue a complaint, and that I’m not going to get any legit response out of it and hang up.

I knew this was coming when I inadvertently answered a call a few days back also reporting to be from my work number and the voice of an elderly woman was screaming “hello? Hello?” in rising panic. It’s a call I’ve received three times before and kind of haunting as it really does make you want to respond. I didn’t. It always comes before the deluge of telespammers. It’s a probing call to make you respond / verify that you’re human.

Since STIR/SHAKEN and all the announcements by T-Mobile about how they had defeated spoofers I now get a couple of calls daily from my work phone number. Nobody from work would call me at this point using the work phone system. Everyone at my work knows to contact me by using their cell phones. I do not answer for work because it literally is never work. It’s usually within an hour of noon although they’ve been going later into the evening.

STIR/SHAKEN only applies to cell phones, so cell phone spoofing is difficult on legitimate network. Unfortunately it only applies to carriers of a certain size, with exemptions made for the smaller guys who… surprise surprise… are ok making money off of telescammers. What’s happening here however generally isn’t cell phone to cell phone spoofing, it’s essentially landline to cell phone.

Landlines (yeah, I know, I’m writing for a general audience here Dave,) can be spoofed to your heart’s content also, as evidenced by my, and my coworker’s, nonstop fake work call bombardment on our cellphones.

The big problem here is that although you can easily not even ring the phone for an unknown contact, once the telemarketers have your contact list, they’re calling you and spoofing anything they can.

I got a call from my dad the other day. Well, not my dad, the landline he maintains because the internet and cell are unreliable where he lives. It was a telescammer. My assumption is at this point there’s a database of stolen contact information, or perhaps given with how app permissions are these days, and they just run through and figure out which are landlines.. That or perhaps they’re throwing everything at it and being blocked on the cell spoofing side.

I get a call that sounds like a butt dial from a friend of mine. I hear the car noise, people in the distance, the sound of wind, then I realize this is their home phone number, not the mobile. That one was good. I text the friend asking if they called me, nope.

I don’t really talk on the phone that much, but it’s a useless device at this point. I let people go to voicemail, if they leave a message or text I call them. Literally the only reason I have a ring tone on is for emergencies with the kids because heaven forbid the schools dial out from the same number.

I suspect that will be the next spoofing scam – local school phone numbers to parents.

It’s a mess

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts