FTC fines Texas robocallers record $225m

Originally published at: FTC fines Texas robocallers record $225m | Boing Boing


My UK Android phone allows me to automatically block and reject calls from numbers that are unknown, witheld or that I’ve put on a blocklist. Do USA phones not have this function?

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The problem is that sometimes, rarely, those are the calls you actually want to take. For example, call from the service department of the car dealership might have a different number than the main incoming phone number. That call would be blocked as an unknown number. As it is, I would probably ignore it, but at least they could leave a message I could react to later.


And no one particularly robocalls mobile no.s here either (well, they don’t robocall me anyway).


In general, the U.S. allows more room than any other Western country for bottom-feeders and grifters.


Make them pay with their time. I use Jolly Roger. The results are occasionally hilarious.



Does anyone know of an app for an iPhone that says “If you’re a human press 281” or something, thus rejecting robocalls? Is there a device I can put on my landline phone cord that does the same thing?


I just posted about it. Jolly Roger does the “if you are human” thing and if they fail they go into robot hell.


I tried NOMOROBO - works on caller ID so, worthless.


I’ve had decent luck with Android’s call screening.


A trick I’ve been considering: get a cellular number from a remote area code I don’t live and would never expect to receive calls from, then block all incoming calls from that area code

You really don’t have to get that elaborate. For example, i have a Las Vegas number and the only person i know from there that calls me is already in my phone book, so any variations of Las Vegas/Nevada numbers are super easy to screen for me. I do occasionally get spam calls from other places in the US and more rarely i do sometimes get them from where i’m at now (TX) but considering that the people i know rarely call me screening my calls is pretty straightforward. YMMV


Thank You!


Yep, I think I get maybe two per year, and one of those will be a company I have actually bought something off trying to upsell me (which is easy to stop, just by muttering something about GDPR).
The weird thing I get, is calls from random numbers which are silent, and hang up after a few seconds. Not had any of those for a while though.


I used to get them all the time. Then I switched to a different provider with better spam filtering. It’s maybe one a month now.


A friend of mine’s parents living in Cincinnati. The use Cincinnati Bell. That company provides a service: When you call their number you get a message: “Press 8 to continue.” They said they NEVER get spam calls. No idea why other companies like those in NYC, say, don’t offer it. Weird. NoMoRobo seems OK but really it’s just a continuing problem.

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In the US there is the national do not call registry. Its intended as an opt-out of all sales calls. They completely gutted enforcement of it though, making it worthless. Hopefully this settlement is a sign of things to come and that will change

I get ~20 robocalls a week to mine


For personal phones, you can sometimes do that, If you’re running a business, and customers call you, it’s not ideal to let their calls go to vm, let alone ignore them completely.


My guess is that if one workaround like that becomes too prevalent, the robocallers could adapt and give out the “8” tone (or other, or all) when challenged. So it could add a nuisance to reaching someone that doesn’t bother the robots.

Possibly true, but it seems to be a small programming step to change the requested number or let the customers do it. It’s not a total solution but so far they say no spam calls. I get 2-5 a day on average.

Left my previous employer of 11 years last year, and changed from my company provided smartphone to buying a new Google Nexus. The Google Fi service had a nice feature where you can look down the list of available numbers for your phone, and pick one that looks memorable.

I don’t know if that’s related, but my new phone number got caller ID disguised text messsages an phone calls all day long, all week long. Google does a decent job of identifying spam, but you get an alert every time a spam-identified message or call arrives - “Spam detected, please verify”. The SNR was so bad it was freaking tedious to find the handful of legit calls, and I am very stingy with my mobile number. I did a search and found that the number was on a couple of website listings for someone who lives a few miles away.

I gave up a couple of weeks ago and got Google Fi to give me a new number. Unlike the first time, I had to go through tech support and wait the requisite 15-20 minutes for a support rep to get it, and there was no option to pick one. Switching again is deliberately much less convenient, but I get a lot less crap now.