Lion of the Blogosphere

Robocall update

I am now getting multiple robocalls and sales calls per day to my cell phone, most of them Chinese.

I have set my phone so that it doesn’t ring unless its from someone on my contacts list, and I delete all the voicemails without listening.

I hope no one important wants to call me. They won’t reach me.

* * *

Total failure of government to fix things. The free market has failed with respect to stopping spam phone calls.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 20, 2018 at EST am

Posted in Technology

36 Responses

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  1. Apparently soon we’ll hit the point where 50% of all phone calls will be robocalls.

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/spam-robocalls-will-soon-account-almost-50-calls-183157916.html

    With the thoughts you'd be thinking

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • Haha, yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center will compile lists of bigots who should not be allowed to have phone numbers and get the telecom companies to shut them down. Say goodbye to your phone service, non-gay-wedding-cake baker and Jared Taylor!

      Hermes

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

      • Oops, that was supposed to be a reply to Steverino.

        Hermes

        September 20, 2018 at EST am

  2. How would you fix this? If you set up a more aggressive government program, Leftists will file bogus complaints to shut down people’s and businesses’ phone calls. Someone mentioned on your last robocall post that Google voice has a phone spam filter. Does it work? Can you trust Google?

    Steverino@Steverino.com

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

  3. I just got a robocall on my cell phone. Someone telling me in broken English that the IRS was going to take actions against me. If I didn’t call some number in the next 24 hours I would be arrested by local police. I didn’t even listen long enough to get the number.

    Given how fake the call obviously is, I wonder how many people are fooled by these calls.

    MikeCA

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • “Given how fake the call obviously is, I wonder how many people are fooled by these calls.”

      It may take only one stupid person to make the endeavor worthwhile.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • Most likely, the victims are poor unsophisticated people who earn money in the underground economy. They genuinely owe money to the IRS, hence they live in fear of being caught.

      WRB

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

      • Perhaps there are lots of people who don’t know that the IRS does not make phone calls, they send mail telling you they are taking action.

        If the IRS were to call you, they would not use a recorded message that says they are taking some vague action because of some unspecified issues. The recorded message was in such broken English it was obviously not made by a native English speaker. Has the IRS out sourced enforcement action to an Indian call center?

        The only people I can see being taken in by this are immigrants that don’t speak English well either.

        MikeCA

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

    • I think this often works because many people do in fact cheat on their taxes, especially the self-employed and small business owners. I’ve heard of some pretty well-educated people falling for these.

      Steverino@steverino.com

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

      • I read an interesting article, which I can’t find right now, a year or two ago, by a Nice White Lady, a SWPL type, who almost fell for one of these. The “IRS agent” scammer got her to go as far as driving to her bank to do the wire transfer, and she was only saved by the manager (she managed to notify the bank against the scammer’s wishes, as he kept telling her it was a crime for her to call anyone else while she was on the phone with him) coming out when she got there and saying “ma’am, we are absolutely 100% certain that this is a scam.”

        Hermes

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

      • I read the same article. My dad runs a small business, and he took it semi-seriously, but he’s so tight with money that he’d never pay someone over the phone. As White Lady explained in the article, it’s the time crunch that gets a lot of people.

        There are guys on Youtube who will talk to these scammers for a half an hour, stringing them along. I had the same idea years ago when I finally got the Nigerian Prince e-mail. I replied to say I was interested in helping, and I’d get in touch soon. The motherfuckers called my parents’ house and left a message (probably because they couldn’t find my cell number, which everyone now apparently has because I’ll get a half-dozen spam calls per day).

        Vince

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

      • Found the article:

        http://narrative.ly/how-i-fell-face-first-for-an-epic-irs-scam/

        The authoress is even more SWPL than I remembered… she’s Ivy League-educated, and a lesbian to boot!

        Anyway, what the article really illustrates is how the scammers take advantage of people’s threat response. They overload you with false information that you’re in imminent danger, and your adrenaline-fueled, fight-or-flight response kicks in, and you’re not even thinking straight. The scammer in the article comes on so strong that his stated reason for initially calling isn’t even to demand payment; it’s simply to provide a “courtesy call” that the police are already on their way to arrest her, and when she protests, he insists that it’s already far too late for her to do anything about it other than be held in custody for six months! He gets her to make repeated entreaties that there must be another way, to volunteer to pay the back taxes if only the hand of law enforcement can be stayed, and only then reluctantly begins to act like just maybe he might be able to pull some strings, but no guarantees… He even has an accomplice who calls from a second line with a spoofed caller ID number of 911 so he can tell her not to answer and pretend to call off the police himself. In retrospect, it all seems so ridiculous–come on guys, when the police call you the caller ID shows 911? really?–but in the heat of the moment, all you can think of is that your life is being ruined before your eyes, and you can make it all go away and return to normal if you just wire the guy the $5000.

        Hermes

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

    • Somewhere I read that the math indicates only one call in many thousands needs to pay out for it to be worthwhile. If true, all they need to do is find someone who is something like 4+ SD’s more gullible than the mean.

      Wency

      September 20, 2018 at EST pm

    • “Given how fake the call obviously is, I wonder how many people are fooled by these calls.”

      A lot of elderly people have cognitive issues that make them vulnerable to this sort of thing.

      James B. Shearer

      September 21, 2018 at EST am

  4. These calls are very annoying. I think the phone companies are the ones that need to take action, they need to disable the ability for these places to spoof calls. I don’t think the phone industry is really a free market, a highly regulated monopoly market.

    XVO

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

  5. Here’s a suggestion: Get a cell phone with an obscure area code and then don’t answer any calls appearing to originate from your own area code.

    fortaleza84

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • That’s a pretty good idea!

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • I already do that. It works really well.

      MoreSigmasThanYou

      September 20, 2018 at EST pm

    • For stopping email spam I discovered a very effective trick. Every few years I turn off my email address for a few days, like a long weekend plus a day. Any mail bounces. All the spam stops for many months until it slowly starts building up again. The spammers get absolutely hammered by the filters for sending undeliverable messages, so your address almost immediately gets purged from all the black market lists that circulate.

      I wonder if something similar is possible for phone numbers. Disconnect your number for a week.

      bobbybobbob

      September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  6. I have never gotten these so I don’t know what you’re talking about. How do you know they’re Chinese? Do you mean if you answer there’s a person on the other end actually speaking Chinese? Or do they show up as coming from a number in China?

    Hermes

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • “How do you know they’re Chinese?”

      They leave voicemails in Chinese.

      ‘Or do they show up as coming from a number in China?”

      I wish, Nope, they used sophisticated black-hat caller ID spoofing so there’s no way that an app-level call blocker would know it’s spam.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

      • So why are Chinese scammers calling American phone numbers and leaving voicemails in Chinese? Are they hoping for Chinese scam victims living in America?

        Hermes

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

      • “Are they hoping for Chinese scam victims living in America?”

        Correct.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  7. I just started getting robocalls on my cell a few weeks ago. Before that there were none.
    Why this surge all of a sudden ?

    Dave

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

  8. I am getting fewer robocalls than I used to. Your problems may have something to do with living in New York City.

    WRB

    September 20, 2018 at EST am

    • It’s correct that NYC area codes are being targeted.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 20, 2018 at EST am

      • I don’t live in NYC, but I’m getting absolutely bombarded by spam calls now. Lots of them come from the 212 area code, and the calls are often in Chinese or in broken English.

        Anon

        September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  9. What I don’t understand is why these calls — along with spam — are so difficult for law enforcement to deal with. Those pretending to be from the IRS, for example (and I’ve gotten many such calls), always leave a call-back number. If I did call back, presumably I would then be given some address, or digital address, to send my payment to. Why wouldn’t it be simple for law enforcement to track that sort of money transfer? Is the problem the fact that eventually it may go to a foreign destination?

    Simon Koeppel

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

    • One local cop who specializes in educating residents about various types of scams said the scammers demand that the victim buy an Amazon gift card and give them the card number over the phone.

      WRB

      September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  10. in august, our landline was so bombarded with CT campaign robocalls that my wife unplugged the landline. After the election, we didn’t notice for about three weeks because we use only our cell phones.

    GMR

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  11. Have you tried the do not call list?

    Tanturn

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  12. Speaking of predictive power of a very high IQ human brain. I had five extra phone jacks installed in my new home in 2002 and then disconnected landline for good in 2003.

    My 2¢

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  13. Are robocalls and spam protected by the 1st Amendment? Or is it only protected if you make the call directly without any robo device?

    Tom

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  14. Here’s a trick I fell for. I was perusing blogs on my phone when up comes an ad for getting a valuable amazon gift card. Just fill out the form which was not suspicious looking. After few screens I couldn’t continue but not before submitting my number. I’ve gotten a few to o all’s a day ever since.

    Yeah. I was stupid…

    Newyorker

    September 20, 2018 at EST pm

  15. “The free market has failed with respect to stopping spam phone calls.”

    No. One free market (free market enough) solution is people want these calls. Here is another free market solution:

    “I have set my phone so that it doesn’t ring unless its from someone on my contacts list, and I delete all the voicemails without listening.”

    Compare to the previous government monopoly, when there were no such features.

    The free market is a tool so you can take voluntary action. Not a fairy centralist godmother that imposes on everyone a solution that pleases you.

    Robert

    September 21, 2018 at EST pm


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