• Robocalls: a bad situation getting worse and set to get even worse.

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    #340398

    Robocalls for legitimate, if uninvited, advertising, for scams, or harassment, are growing in numbers and possible telecom deregulation by the FCC might bring them to a point where people’s phones get swamped by them. Also some companies use them to seriously harass people who miss payments on some debt, and do so to the tune of hundreds of calls a day.

    Here, for those who can stand an occasional bit of robust language, is a very interesting, rather long, and, I think, informative video by John Oliver that could be, regardless of one’s political leanings, to everyone’s advantage to watch:

    https://slate.com/culture/2019/03/john-oliver-robocall-fcc-last-week-tonight.html

    Whether everything said there is correct or not, I think probably there is enough that actually is — and that is why I am posting that link here.

     

    Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

    MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
    Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
    macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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    • #340438

      I saw an article recently on a call blocking device that blocks robocalls, and is proving invaluable in the bid to prevent elder financial abuse.

      There is a lot of advice to help minimise robocalls, using various methods (and probably with varying success rates), i.e.
      How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls (June 30, 2018)
      In 2019 Here’s How To Stop And Block Robocalls, Spam, And Unknown Calls On iPhone, Android (Dec. 30, 2018)

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    • #340445

      I saw an article recently on a call blocking device that blocks robocalls, and is proving invaluable in the bid to prevent elder financial abuse. There is a lot of advice to help minimise robocalls, using various methods (and probably with varying success rates), i.e. How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls (June 30, 2018) In 2019 Here’s How To Stop And Block Robocalls, Spam, And Unknown Calls On iPhone, Android (Dec. 30, 2018)

      Thanks:
      Government supported  site in The Netherlands = https://www.bel-me-niet.nl/
      this works, something good results from the GDPR (AVG) !

      * _ being 20 in the 70's was fun _ *
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      • #340448

        A lot of countries have Do Not Call registers. This Wikipedia list has a variety of links for some other countries.

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        • #340571

          Many, if not most, of these calls originate from overseas, and they simply disregard any such things as they consider themselves to be out of the FCC’s reach.

          I’ve had my current phone number for about nine or ten years now, and a few days ago, I got yet another bill collector calling for the people who had the number before me.  They regularly use threats and other things that are quite illegal in the US, but I don’t think they care one way or another.

          I’ve also gotten a large number of scam calls, including one from “Microsoft” about the virus on my PC.  I don’t answer any of them… any calls from “unknown” or “out of area” are immediately blocked if they fail to leave a message, as are any who do leave a message and it’s not something I wanted to hear.  My phone (a Panasonic cordless for my land-line) has an internal block list, and it’s got a ton of numbers in it.

          I have no means at all to block callers in my cellular phone.  It’s a dumb phone, and the easiest way to deal with it is to just have the ringer and text message alert set to silent (it doesn’t vibrate either) or nearly silent.  Everyone who I want to hear from knows my landline is the way to reach me.  That or email!

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          • #340654

            Ascaris,

            Getting calls to a number that used to be someone else’s is a real misfortune. I once had a family calling me thinking I was their son that was deliberately ignoring them, and I just could not convince them I was someone else. That went on for months, and even resorting to extreme and most pointed, getting-really-personal foul language would not stop those calls: apparently their errant son was pretty handy with such language.

            But being harassed by debt collectors by mistake has to be a dreadful thing. I wonder (no: I would really like to know, in case something like that ever happens to me!) how you managed to stop that.

            Same as you, I also use the landline, and tell others to do so, as well as email me, for all necessary communication. But I still get spammed by email and have endless robocalls waiting in my landline voicemail. So I have my phone off the hook most of the time, and only connect it to, mostly, delete the voicemail-waiting robocall messages, before getting to see what the other calls are about. Using caller ID is some help, but then one gets interrupted by the phone ringing several times a day, and that is not good enough. I also have my cellphone turned off most of the time, as I would only use it while traveling or for emergencies.

            So this is what the indiscriminate and irresponsible use of robocalls and email spam, it would seem virtually unchecked by our authorities in the USA, has driven one to, these days.

            Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

            MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
            Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
            macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

          • #340731

            Many, if not most, of these calls originate from overseas, and they simply disregard any such things as they consider themselves to be out of the FCC’s reach.

            One person’s overseas is another’s home… remember, we’re a global platform 😉

            The TrueCall devices aren’t FCC-related (a U.K.-based organisation, but available elsewhere too), and are apparently having success in blocking a large percentage of internationally-sourced calls (links above).

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    • #340760

      The ringers are turned off on my landline, which I use primarily for fax, so if I get a call there, it goes to the fax after 4 rings; I don’t have voicemail setup on my landline.  Everyone I know calls my cell phone, and I have personalized ringtones for work, family and friends.  I ignore the rest and block such numbers from future calls.  Anyone who wants to get in touch can leave a voicemail.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      • #1921639

        I simply disconnect the phone (landline), keeping it off the wall most of the time, and have things set up so the Voicemail won’t kick in until after ten rings. I check it once every night — ideally — or when I remember to do it. I usually get voice mail messages of a silent kind, that hung up after several seconds. Most of my communication is by email, these days, but I keep the landline phone mostly to make calls that require talking to someone, or to answer them. These days I use my cellphone either when traveling or, if at home, as a back up to the landline, that is connected to the telephone central via fiber, not copper wire, so it gets its power from the electricity mains. It has an 8-hour battery for auxiliary power that usually becomes depleted during blackouts caused by storms, long before these are over. I ignore all texts or emails sent to the cellphone. Mine is definitely an extreme response to an extreme problem that has been getting more and more out of hand. I hope that the moves mooted by those IT companies in the news I have mentioned do mark the early start of a progressively more comprehensive turnaround on this nasty problem.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #1920089

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      • #1921227

        Actually I posted this as a separate thread and then got moved here. This, unlike the main topic of this long thread, is not about how bad robocalls are getting, along with other abuses of the telephone system by unscrupulous or inconsiderate people, or how to get back at them or to avoid being pestered in this way.

        This is about the fact that things might be starting to change for the better.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1922042

      I still have a landline, and the family have cells.  Found a site that helps my landline nomorobo dot com (no more robocalls).  It works with my provider (att) so my phone rings once and also rings at the nomorobo site.  Their computer checks the calling number against their spam list.  If the number is on the list then the phone doesn’t ring again.  If the number isn’t on the list then it continues to ring.  Isn’t perfect but I’m not getting the dozens of spam calls a day that I used to get.  Free for a landline, cell phone coverage available for a price..

    • #1924195

      I still have a landline because it has the backup power taken care of by the phone company. If like my GF I was forced to accept a fiber connection ( with its 20 some d cell back up package that I would have to maintain) I would use my cable company for phone services or just get a phone with a different carrier as my backup. Some tech just works, my landline has had problems once in my half century of use. My cable is sketchy. Got me a SDR hand set and a ARRL technician book…..
      Just in case .

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1924256

        Wavy: “If like my GF I was forced to accept a fiber connection ( with its 20 some d cell back up package that I would have to maintain)

        What has happened in the case you mention, has happened to everyone living in my general area that still want to keep a landline, because we find that taking in real time to people is a useful complement to communicating asynchronously over the Internet. Or choose not to rely exclusively on cellphones that tend to loose all signal when the service goes down during power blackouts, something particularly likely to happen after some big storm passes by my area. Verizon started reducing its maintenance and, eventually, eliminating the copper wire network and shifted everything to fiber. So my current Internet, TV and Land-line package is only for use over fiber. But robocallers and people calling with the intention to trick unwary people to their own advantage, or nuisance calls from mere time-wasters, are equally successful annoyances using fiber or copper.

        That is why I mentioned above that there is a ray of hope in new measures that have been recently announced and are to be implemented soon (I hope) by some of the big telephone companies to ameliorate this problem.

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #1924265

      BTW we must realize this IS a curable problem. Political WILL must be there or we will get muddy laws w/o out bite or specificity. The politicos must just agree on the solution. Here in the good old USofA we can’t even agree on whether a fiscal deficit is a bad thing or not. OK too much rant..

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1924423

      We rarely have to deal with phone spam anymore.

      For landline:

      Got an AT&T DECT phone set with awesome call blocking features that work well.  Folks we add to the contact list can call through, everyone else goes to message.  We only pick up on calls from folks we know.  There’s also an even more effective mode that adds a call screening step (callers get a “… press 2 to continue” prompt – which robo callers can’t handle), but I only enable it if/when we start getting too many robocalls again.

      For mobile (iPhones):

      Setup the phones to always be in do-not-disturb mode – with the option enabled to allow calls from anyone in Contacts.  In addition (pretty much a redundant step): set the default ring tone to silence and then set each contact to an actual audible ring tone.  So, the phone only rings if it’s from someone we know.  As with the landline, we only answer calls from contacts we know.

      Our basic rule for phone calls: if we don’t answer & the caller leaves no message then the call was spam and/or unimportant.  Keeps life simple.

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      • #1933455

        EK, thank you for mentioning your “AT&T DECT phone set with awesome call blocking features that work well.”

        It looks like the call-blocking phones have improved. I occasionally look at the Call Blocking only boxes and we are not fully happy.

        It would be nice if others here with call blocking phones or boxes would post and give their take on happy or not with whatever brand they use.

        Thank you.

    • #1924919

      My cell came with HiYa to block calls, seems to mostly work. Call me stubborn, but I would rather curse than start blocking calls by default even if my cordless phone could white list with ease.
      I usually fantasize that the star key will send a bolt of lightening back thru the line 🤬

      🙄 😌

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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