Robocalls: Finally, DOJ seeks court enforcement action against telecoms for phone spam

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/29/robocalls-finally-doj-seeks.html

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I often day dream of finding the lowlifes that spam my phone, sort’a like the end scenes in Inglorious Bastards, but with more violence.

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Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath :stuck_out_tongue:

eta: this emoji is too cute to convey my annoyance at robocalls, and the governmental lasseiz-faire attitude towards them.

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May I suggest this one instead: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:?

My take is AG Barr finally got one too many fake calls on his personal cell.

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Congress has:

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I‘m so glad robocalls don‘t even exist in Germany. Probably because we have big government. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Robocalling has been less of a problem for me recently than text spam. Google’s pretty good at rejecting spam calls, but I’ve gotten several political spam texts, including one yesterday for Bernie. When I replied with a question about how Bernie feels about spam and robocalling, I got a weak “well, our message is important, we need to get it out there, sorry” response. OK then.

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But, but…“the market will regulate itself!” – yet another libertarian/neoliberal lie.

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I also just found out basements in Germany are almost all wired with three phase power.

As a machinist desiring a lot of special equipment that is only sold in 3 phase I hate you guys so much :wink:

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I find my phone spam gets more and more overtly scammy. Lots of the “your social security number is being used for crime! The IRS is on their way to arrest you if you don’t respond!” obvious scams, and even the business solicitation calls I get fraudulently misrepresent themselves - things like credit card consolidation services that call me pretending to be from the credit card companies themselves.

But most of the robo-calls I get these days have no one on the other end of the line. I don’t mean they’re automated - they’re all automated now (in flagrant disregard for the law), I mean I answer the phone (out of perverse curiosity) and there’s just silence on the other end. Which is really weird. That made sense when there were human telemarketers - they would simultaneously call multiple phone numbers and then connect with the first person to answer and hang up the rest (and too bad if you answered it). But since the calls I’m getting are all automated, there’s no reason for it. I wonder if, perhaps, a lot of scammers have incorrectly set up automated calling systems, i.e. that now there’s no cost or competence required for these kinds of mass calling campaigns, so I get flooded with calls by totally incompetent scammers.

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I’d really, really, like to put a stop to the practice where the carriers have sold or leaked call history (or other contact information) to scammers. (Otherwise, why do I get robocalls that spoof the phone numbers of people like my boss and my daughter?)

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I’ve encountered some robocalls that stay silent until you say anything, and then it tries to sound like it is talking to you.
But, if you don’t say anything, it waits forever in silence.

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If they wait forever, it sounds like a good idea to just let the line sit idle and chew up resources.

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I half-expect that there’s a person on the other end, so I sometimes end up repeating “hello” for a while until I’m sure I’m not going to get a response and hang up. So far, there’s never a response.

My mom gets some of those “pretending they’re talking to you” messages, but she gets them on her answering machine, where they’ve been cut off because they started talking before it recorded, all of which rather defeats the illusion. They’re weirdly disconcerting, as in that context they’re clearly automated, but they’re also pretending not to be (also some pretend the recipient is the caller and ask them to stay on the line because the “call is important to them”… and then it hangs up.)

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I’m honestly kind of surprised the telecoms haven’t taken some kind of action in the name of self-preservation. Almost everyone I know has ditched their landlines at least in part because all the robocalls made them more trouble than they were worth, even for luddites.

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Its the standard way to connect ovens. Prevents overheating of the wires.

Agree. In order of frequency I get:

Car warranties
Credit card scams
The weird, “Hello!” Recording
Silence
IRS scam
Free vacation scam/pitch
iCloud account scam
Something in Spanish (?)
Something in Chinese

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Is “Your suffering will be legendary, even in hell.” a permissible sentencing guideline?

Because I think this situation is going to require it; and since spammers aren’t morally human 8th amendment concerns are less severe.

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It’s interesting because my calls cycle through those various types of scams over time. Like, I get a bunch of credit card scam calls, then I get a period of IRS scam calls. (My mother got several years of literally daily calls from contractors looking for work, then, suddenly, nothing. I guess they all realized they had already called her multiple times.)

It’s been a while, but I used to get a lot of free vacation pitches - as that was back when there was a person to talk to, I finally got annoyed enough that I started amusing myself by trolling them with outrageous stories of fictional vacations friends of mine had been on (that resulted in homicides), and could I get a vacation like that, too? They… stopped calling after that. The phone company also used to constantly call me to try to get me to “upgrade” my service, eventually causing me to start insisting that I actually had no phone at all and was communicating with them through mental telepathy. It’s probably coincidence that they also stopped calling me…

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Strange, isn’t it? The invisible hand that regulates the market appears to always favor capital.