Why robocalls have taken over your phone

“By 2009, Chris Hughson was fed up. The Portland area realtor was getting bombarded with spam texts and calls, as many as 10 a day, despite having his number on the Do Not Call Registry. He assumed his phone number had made it to some list, but he wasn’t sure what else he could do. “There’s got to be a way to strike back,” he thought,” Colin Lecher reports for The Verge. “Since then, Hughson, who studied law but never practiced, has filed dozens of lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a law that lets consumers take callers to court if they’re called while on the Do Not Call Registry.”

“Hughson is stepping into a system that’s already left many Americans frustrated,” Lecher reports. “Washington has tried several tactics to stem the tide of automated calls, from passing the TCPA in 1991 to establishing the Do Not Call Registry in 2003. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regularly hands down multimillion-dollar penalties against individual robocallers. But the calls keep coming, and the problem has only gotten worse, leaving targets like Hughson with no choice but to take matters into their own hands.”

“The issue is the ease of becoming a robocaller. Anyone with a minor amount of technical ability can run their own system by downloading the relevant software,” Lecher reports. “The Do Not Call Registry was meant to preemptively stop calls, but if marketers are already breaking the rules, it’s unlikely the list will stop them… Ajit Pai, as chairman of the FCC, the other agency in charge of tackling robocalls, has said the issue is a cornerstone of his tenure. In one major move, the agency recently announced an $82 million fine against a caller. According to the agency, the marketer used spoofing technology to fake caller IDs, then made more than 21 million calls to sell health insurance. The FCC noted it was one of the largest forfeitures ever imposed by the agency.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: With iOS, you can block contacts and phone numbers on your device.

When you block a phone number or contact, they can still leave a voicemail, but you won’t get a notification. Messages that are sent or received won’t be delivered. Also, the contact won’t get a notification that the call or message was blocked.

To see the phone numbers and contacts that you’ve blocked from Phone, FaceTime, or Messages:

• Phone: Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification.
• FaceTime: Go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked.
• Messages: Go to Settings > Messages > Blocked.

From these screens, you can add or unblock contacts or unblock phone numbers.

To add a contact from Phone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. Then tap the contact that you want to block. To add a contact from Messages or FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime, scroll down and tap Blocked, tap Add New, then select the contact that you want to block. To unblock a contact or phone number, swipe left over the number, then tap Unblock.

26 Comments

  1. I’ve been using Hiya to try and identify these callers. I’ve blocked them through Hiya AND my iPhone. So far, I have close to 1,000 blocked phone numbers.

    They just never stop.

  2. There is SW that allows you to whitelist incoming calls- block everything not on your contact list. That would be an answer for some.

    I handle it differently:

    1- I give my iPhone number to very few people. Any call that comes in without caller ID or on my list gets blocked and is not answered. Do not answer- if you answer, they know it is a working phone.
    2- I have a Skype number and use that for sales people and such. They get that number and I never look at it unless I am expecting something to be there, like a price quote.

    It seems to have done the trick. I used to use TruPhone’s VoIP app for the second number, but they discontinued the service- forcing me to Skype.

  3. This may get a little technical, so if you’re not interested, stop reading here.

    The problem with robocalling is that the system is INHERENTLY BIASED TOWARD ROBOCALLS.

    Why?

    Because when a call is set up, the receiving node ACCEPTS WITHOUT QUESTION the information sent by the sending node, doing nothing at all to verify it.

    What needs to change is a backwards authentication – in other words, the receiving node should set up an independent back-connection to the sending node, using the information sent by the sending node, to ensure that they are talking to the same node. This means that the receiver has UNQUESTIONABLE identification of the sender, and if they are a spam source they can be blocked by their (registered) ID, and thus lose access to the network for calls. (IP address won’t do it, btw – they’re too easy to change.)

    But the current SIP protocols do not have this incorporated into them, and the changeover would be very expensive, so it’s unlikely we’ll see this change anytime soon.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.