Arizona telco sued over the billions of scam calls it puts through

Originally published at: Arizona telco sued over the billions of scam calls it puts through | Boing Boing


My personal way of handling it is if my phone rings and it comes up with a number instead of a contact name, it means I don’t know you and I don’t answer.

If you are a valid caller, you’ll leave a message, I’ll call you back and add you to my contact list for future calls.

But my elderly mother-in-law gets convinced on a nearly weekly basis that she won some sort of contest. She just needs to send them a few hundred dollars to process her winnings… (People that prey on the elderly better have a special place set aside in hell with demons that REALLY enjoy their work!)


Wait, it’s possible to sue a taco?


and menacing pre-recorded missives from the the Chinese government

Shooting Laurence Harvey GIF


Only on Tuesday


This is America–we can sue all the food groups.


Hmm, I wonder if this is carrier-specific or regional. After the FCC changed the rules for gateway providers to require signed authentication, the number of robocalls I get dropped 90%+. I was getting an average of 3-6 per day and now (looks through phone log history) I don’t actually see any over the past week.

Agreed. My mother has worked in the field of elderly abuse and neglect her whole career, which is just horrifying. There’s an entire statewide department and everything. Sadly, the biggest perpetrators are family and care facilities. And it’s shocking how little will motivate people to become monsters.


Just a question/thought? Do you, by chance, have an android phone? I’ve found that google has their own list and outright blocks spam callers on many modern android phones. Sends them straight to voicemail, or in some cases, sends them straight off a cliff and you never see them. This feature is on by default. (And turns back on during every major release/settings upgrade.) Wouldn’t surprise me if Apple had a similar feature in play for IOS phones.


No, I have an iPhone, but …

They do and I’ve always enabled the most robust protection with it and Verizon. However, the best it ever seemed to do was post a warning in the caller ID field for “potential spam”. Now they’re not even getting that far. It’s entirely anecdotal, but I was paying attention and definitely noticed a precipitous drop after the rules change.

Which, honestly is just infuriating. Such simple fixes they clearly could have enabled or demanded from their partners years before and just didn’t gaf until they were forced to.


The setting appears to indicate that the iPhone is simply following Verizon’s protocols, which makes me thing it’s a carrier issue.

But still, I don’t see anything in my recents list I can’t account for.


This constant from refrain from the telcos that it’s an “unsolvable problem” is bullshit.

It exists entirely because they allow the caller ID spoofing feature to exist. The system intentionally allows outgoing calls to spoof a different caller ID because corporations want that. They want the number to show as the main switchboard when Bob From Sales calls you from his desk. That’s it. That’s why this problem exists.

If caller ID spoofing didn’t exist, then all robocall originators could be blocked because you can’t just move an outgoing phone line easily like you can an email address or IP address for email spam. Robocall spam is only possible because of spoofing which allows them to call from one line and show random garbage to us without ever having to get a new line on their end to keep from being blocked.

Godspeed to this lawsuit. Maybe we’ll get some movement on it now.


Are you guys serious? Jebus that sucks. I get someone trying to sell me insurance or internet service, like, once a month.

America is just a consumerist hell-scape. Sofa King glad I left in 2005.


We’ve been with our doctor for 18 years, which used to be a private practice, but is now managed by “Optum”. It only took me seven calls and 45 mins on hold to get my daughter’s Lyme test results. But hey, once you actually get through, the staff is awesome!


Yep. Same for me and I have an Android and Verizon. The amount of spam calls is like one per 14 days maybe?


It’s unfortunate that “fire and sword” doesn’t count as a civil remedy for the purposes of this situation.


We have the exact same telephone systems in the UK (on the technical side of things), and yet I get maybe 2-3 spam calls per year. (I’m not on the ‘do not call’ list either).
Regulation is what you need.


… funny how the end result of “make long-distance calls free and put a phone in everybody’s pocket” is now nobody talks on the phone anymore :confused:


“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

On a more serious note; I’m not against the death of phones as talking-machines, that was typically stressful and awkward; but it’s really unfortunate that Team Telco managed to pick up some new revenue areas without missing a beat despite leaving a formerly core product to be annihilated by bots and frauds. I suspect that can’t help but contribute to their tendency to treat the deluge of spam calls with something between apathy and collusion; rather than fighting for mechanism as a matter of self interest.

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It’s especially insulting when caller ID is(and always has been) distinct from Automatic Number Identification which (while assuredly harboring a nest of cryptic vendor conventions and madness sanctioned under cover of tedium by ITU wonks) is the actually-intended-to-work-because-people-who-matter-use-it mechanism that comes into play in certain scenarios where call origin needs to be determined for billing purposes rather than showing flavortext to consumers.

I certainly wouldn’t be so bold as to claim that there’s just a solution in plain sight that is being held back by pure sandbagging; my limited acquantaince with BGP witchcraft and assorted ARP fuckery leads me to assume that there are at least some analogous ways to genuinely sneak around on PSTN(especially the parts standardized under the assumption that telecommunications was all going to be a gentlemanly club of national monopoly carriers discussing how to talk between themselves via the ITU; rather than still mostly national monopoly or oligopoly carriers serving the bulk of physically distinct subscribers; but pretty minimal barriers to entry for various fly-by-night little operations that are mostly unencumbered by infrastructure footprints but slot into the system like traditional telcos); but anyone who gestures at the (broken, because it was always intended to be trivially breakable) caller ID mechanism and then pretends that there are no other options is an insufferable liar.


Maybe what they need, as I am Canadian and also get maybe two spam calls a year.

I’m not convinced regulation solves it in the US without technical changes. We may be so fortunate simply because robocallers do not target our tiny markets for scams. The robocalls do not come from within the US as a rule, so the scammers in India, Russia, China, etc may target the US because it is the largest and softest target. Also because they want US dollars and US credit numbers, not our relatively harder-to-fence Monopoly money.


I used to live in the US until recently as well, and they are serious. It’s brutal. I got as many as ten calls a day at times. In the last few years it has gotten really bad. You simply stop answering your phone, period.

It really is. One of the stark differences between the US and Canada is that so much of everything in America is scam. Everyone is trying to scam you all the time, or at the very least everyone selling you something is disingenuous or dishonest in some way. People are used to it. I was used to it when I lived there. Leaving has been like an institutionalized prisoner having to learn to trust people again. It’s been a process of relearning to let your guard down a bit because not everything out here is a grift or a con.

Another good example is junk mail. I get basically none in Canada. Maybe a flyer for the hardware store. In the US, I got a stack roughly 6-8” thick every day. Every. Day. Almost all of it was scams. Fake bills trying to look like overdue notices. Reverse mortgage offers. Payday loan offers. Credit card offers with interest violating usury law. Sketchy home refinancing. Sketchy contractors and house painters. Hell, the sketchy contractors and fake magazine subscription people knock on your door and try to scam you in person a couple times a week. It was endless.

Americans live in a hurricane of scams but they grew up in it so don’t even notice. It is allowed to continue because… capitalism, I guess? I don’t know.