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  • The scammers are a buzzing today

    Home Forums AskWoody blog The scammers are a buzzing today

    • This topic has 39 replies, 21 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
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      • #2353733
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        Well I’m out in the garden on my Surface typing up tomorrow’s ComputerWorld article and enjoying the Spring weather…. meanwhile I’ve gotten about 8
        [See the full post at: The scammers are a buzzing today]

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2353741
        F A Kramer
        AskWoody Plus

        YES!  I average about 6 per day and as many as 8. Because I have an answering machine, they never connect with a live me. So they hang up immediately. Thus, I do not know if they are live or a recording. Oh, and sometimes the same Caller ID number three or four times in a day. My telephone has Caller ID posted on it so I know that the UNAVAILABLE legend is not a friendly call.

        I have also noticed that I get perhaps one or two spam emails per month. Either the ISP is getting better at catching them, or, as I suspect, the email route is so unproductive now that the scammers have moved on to a more promising venue.

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by F A Kramer.
      • #2353746
        cyberSAR
        AskWoody Plus

        Been exceptionally bad over the last 3 weeks or so. Got one the other day saying we owed money from 8 years ago to our current ISP from an address we never had. I usually don’t entertain them and hang up when I hear the “blip” but this one got through. They hung up on me 🙂

      • #2353761
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I get a lot of unwanted calls, but I have no idea what they are. If I don’t recognize the caller ID on my home phone, I don’t answer (and of course if I am not at home, I won’t either), and they seldom leave a message. I’ll search the number from caller ID on the web, and if I don’t find anything, or if I find a mention of the number on Nomorobo or other such sites, I block the number.

        The telephone company has a laughably small 25 number blocklist… I filled that up in a couple of weeks, and that was a decade ago. I got a phone that has blocking built in, and it has about 250 numbers blocked (one by one, each of them), if I recall, plus the 25 from the phone company.

        The number of calls from new numbers has tapered down greatly over time, though I do keep getting the same blocked number trying over and over and over again at times. It doesn’t ring when it’s a blocked number, but I see the blocked message in the caller ID log.

        On the cell phone, I am not even sure why I have the ringer on. I haven’t given anyone but one family member the number, and he knows to call me on the land line. I don’t have the voice mail set up on that line, so the callers have no opportunity to reach me calling that way. Given that the only calls I ever get are illegitimate, I don’t see the need to go find out how to set that up just so scammers can fill it up with fake messages.

        For the first few weeks, there were NO calls on the new number for the cell phone. Then, one day, they just started pouring in. Not sure how they got the number, or if they just tried randomly robodialing numbers and found it by trial and error one day.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

      • #2353759
        anonymous
        Guest

        I get about 19-21 robocalls per day. I stopped picking up the phone and let the answer machine answer. Yes, there was an increase. Before was getting 11-14 robocalls per day.

         

        Most are:

        • MS Windows 1o license has expired and will be auto renewed
        • Amazon gift card will be charged on account
        • MS Team is trying to contact you for payment
        • Apple Support needs your update billing info which will be detached automatically unless canceled
        • Fedex/UPS/Amazon package is ready to ship with auto payment on to your account
        • Macy/Tj/Fry has charged your account
        • Uber/Lfyt has charged your account
        • Your AV has expired and you will be charged
        • Money need for ______group (ie public charity, funding, etc)
      • #2353773
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        To be added to anonymous’ #2353759  list: “This is to inform you that we are starting legal procedures against you unless we hear very soon from you at this number …”

        My phones, landline and cell, rarely buzz, because they are most of the time disconnected and turned off, respectively. I am in the fortunate position, a good fortune achieved through deliberate, long-term personal efforts, of not having to use either device unless I need to make a call or receive a previously arranged call with either of them.

        The rest, a great number of calls, ends up in both voice mails, often leaving no message. I delete them all, except when necessary, the few from people who actually wanted to talk to me as a person and not as a possible scammer’ mark, or a possible buyer of their whatever. Anybody that knows me well enough to have some kind of valid relationship with me, knows that to get in touch quickly, even at all, with me they should email, letting me know what they want.

        Another source of wondrous annoyance is the number of trashy email messages, spam and outright ripoff attempts by mail, that grace in seemingly ever increasing numbers the “Junk Mail” folder of my email client, or are spam that ends up in its inbox along with legitimate mail meant for me as a person. I take a certain mean-spirited pleasure in deleting all that with a couple of clicks.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2353778
        GreatAndPowerfulTech
        AskWoody Lounger

        I switched our home/business line to a Google Voice number. Besides being free they do a superb job of blocking robocalls. Maybe one per week gets through. That’s great. My cell phone, on the other hand, gets about three per day. I block each one now after I decline the call. Before blocking each robocall, the same number often called more than once.

        It’s really nice how Congress has worked so well at forcing companies to use STIR/SHAKEN. I lied. Of course they haven’t. US Congress has no idea what technology is these days, since they have people to do their work for them, even answer phone calls.

        GreatAndPowerfulTech

        • #2354220
          Norio
          AskWoody Plus

          Yup, say what you will about Google and privacy issues, but they do a fantastic job of blocking BS.  My Google Fi account allows me to put in an unlimited (so far) amount of phone numbers to block.  As GAPT said, maybe one a week gets through.  I’m ready to dump my landline, which averages 10-15 junk calls a day.

      • #2353788
        SteveTree
        AskWoody Lounger

        I am a novice with cell phones but owning a computer since the days of floppy swapping made me more than a little cautious,

        Over a few day I had a couple of calls the incoming number starts +213. Some research revealed the IDD is from Algeria. I don’t know anyone in Algeria. More research quickly found what my PC-wary mind already suspected. More than likely the call was a single ring scam. The dialer relies on curiosity to make you call back.  When you call back you get “please hold” and music. The longer you stay, the more you pay.

        I suspect the cause of the problem is adding a genuine phone number to an online purchase. It was a well known website but the purchase was from a ‘partner’. Next time someone demands a phone number to complete a transaction they get my old landline number which still shows in my name but is no longer connected.

        Summing that: Never call back an unknown number.  When a website demands you add your phone number, ask yourself do they really need it.

        Group A (but Telemetry disabled Tasks and Registry)
        Win 7 64 Pro desktop
        Win 10 64 Home portable

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2353802
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        The wireless industry is trying a new tactic to eliminate robocalling

        Wireless phone companies are taking a big step forward to block the scourge of the industry: spam robocalls.

        Verizon is exchanging information with AT&T and T-Mobile on every call to help verify that the listed caller ID number is accurate. The effort, which also includes Comcast, should help the carriers automatically block many robocalls, since a common tactic of scammers is to display a fake caller ID to trick consumers into answering…

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2353825
        Chris B
        AskWoody Plus

        I am seeing a general rise in these kinds of calls in the UK, but mercifully not as many as others here report. We do not answer a call if we do not recognise a number, and they never leave a message.

        The telcos here appear to be making no effort to stop number spoofing. Presumably they think there is nothing in it for them so why should they.

        Chris
        Win 10 Pro x64 Group A

        • #2353850
          Umbongo
          AskWoody Plus

          I don’t know about elsewhere but I’m confident that UK telecoms companies make a nice return from spam calls.  Accordingly, why stop spoofing when  the only losers would be  the telecoms companies themselves (and the spoofers, of course)?

      • #2353843
        Pepsiboy
        AskWoody Lounger

        Susan,

        I was getting about 3 a day a year ago, and those were usually fake MS calls about m computer problems. (RIGHT) Last April that jumped to about 12 to 15 a day and were usually Covid Scams. Just yesterday, we got 8 from numbers that we did not recognize. They git cut off by hitting the “Answer” button then IMMEDIATELY hitting the “OFF” button. They have even gotten good enough to spoof the caller ID to say that is is one of our neighbors calling. We have worked around that. It is a pain in the butt, but we just do what we have to do because the phone company WILL NOT do anything about it. And the worst part is that the REGULATORS in D.C. don’t have a clue as to what is going on either.

        Thank ou for letting me vent.

        Dave

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2353826
        anonymous
        Guest

        I get a couple of calls a week now. I never answer if the number is not in my contact list, on the basis that if it is important, they will either call again or leave a message. I’ve had this ‘policy’ for a couple of years, ever since I got a call about my ‘ … recent fatal accident…’

      • #2353847
        anonymous
        Guest

        Last week I had 3 calls from unlisted numbers. The robo voice informed that my Amazon prime account has been hacked. or something along those lines. I don’t use amazon prime. So much for having ‘call protect’ active on my phone account, UK.

      • #2353842
        anonymous
        Guest

        I live in the U.K. In December 2019 I was getting 3 unwanted landline calls a day and decided to start using the Call Safe system operated by my ISP/Phone line provider.

        My friends are added to Approved list either manually or ‘on the fly’ when they call and asked to leave their name for my approval.

        During 2020 only one ‘unwanted’ caller managed to sneak past the system!

        However, in December 2020; not wanting to miss an invitation from our NHS to receive my Covid-19 vaccination, I stopped using Call Safe.

        Immediately the scam calls restarted!

        I have now had the jab and Call Safe is again blocking the low life.

      • #2353877
        Elrod
        AskWoody Plus

        Here’s what I finally did when I got tired of all the nonsense robocalls.  I have an Apple iPhone:

        • Go somewhere very quiet, and use GarageBand to record about 30 seconds of silence.  Save this as a ringtone.
        • Go through all of your contacts and assign an actual ringtone to each one.
        • Set the silent ringtone as your default, and turn off any default vibration for voice calls.

        When a call comes in, if it is not in your Contacts list, it doesn’t ring – it is just silent.  The caller has the option of leaving a voice message.  If they do leave a message, and it is someone with whom you want to regularly communicate, add them to your Contacts and assign a ringtone.  I find that most robocalls don’t bother with messages.  Some do, though.

        Now, when my phone rings, it is actually someone I want to talk with.

        Group "L": Linux Mint

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2354051
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          I went ahead and did it… I put the phone in Do Not Disturb mode, where I set it to not ring or display text notifications unless the person is in the contact list. Given that I have had the number for a few months and received bunches of calls, but not a single one being an actual valid call, it seems reasonable!

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2353880
        wdburt1
        AskWoody Plus

        I remember a few years ago when a disproportionate percentage of robocalls originated from certain area codes, like the ones that embraced Medford, Oregon and Clearwater, Florida. Nowadays, they more likely originate in such bastions of law and order as Romania or Ukraine. A Presidential candidate who promised to fix the problem–to use the CIA to find and extradite these criminals, and slap them in prison for thirty years–would get marks for addressing a real problem, even if the promise would be difficult to keep.

        I still have a landline phone. Back in the day when the service was still provided by the telephone company, I used a device called a Telebouncer, which required callers to manually press “1.” It worked fine, but not with VOIP. When I switched to VOIP, I discovered Nomorobo, which works like an antivirus service, checking calls against an evolving list of robocaller numbers crowdsourced from Nomorobo users. I lost the use of Nomorobo when I switched to MagicJack. But the greater problem is that Nomorobo was increasingly being defeated by robocallers who use programs that randomly change the call number, which of course is spoofed.

        The state of the art today is robocaller software that spoofs the number that shows on your caller ID to make it look like it originates in your local exchange, and which randomly varies the last four digits. Few people want to block all calls from their local exchange.

        So we’re back to having our telephones used to harass us all day long. No amount of call-blocking will keep up with randomly spoofed numbers. The problem will have to be addressed further up the food chain.

        The fact that it has not been addressed so far suggests that somebody is making a lot of money. Somebody is leasing telephone numbers in bulk–at least some of the companies that do this are publicly known, and their business ought to be put under the microscope. Somebody is selling the software that spoofs phone numbers. Somebody is setting up call centers or hiring people to sit at home and monitor robocalls.

        I can’t think of anything more pathetic than picking up the phone–thus setting yourself up for more calls, now that they know they have a live number–in order to give the robocallers a piece of your mind. It’s a poor substitute, almost Orwellian, in fact, for taking our freedom back.

      • #2353881
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Luckilly, I get no robocalls at all, in czech republic. Where they get your numbers?

        Some marketing is happenning from time to time (once a month), but I always ask them where they get my number, what is called the database my number is in, and immediatelly I ask them to remove my number from it.
        I Also want them to send my consent, that is needed to use my number for marketing purposes.
        But that cannot be done, if the other one is robot.

        Increased robocalls in america means, that your numbers used to “sefely register with 2FA” with your online accounts like Amazon, Google or Microsoft are exposed somewhere?

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        • #2353883
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          It will be a machine calling random numbers and if someone answers they are connected to a person. That is why you get that short delay after answering.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2353932
            anonymous
            Guest

            Oh,  I see. There is so little defence about this. I think Apple has some sort of scam database. You can report the number to this database, so other users will know its a robocall. Its like Homer Simpson, when he found that old machine and terrorizes the whole Springfield 🙂

            doriel.

      • #2353913
        anonymous
        Guest

        Before I signed up for Do Not Call Registry around 2017, I had 1 or 2 calls from robo per week.

        After I singed up for Do-not-Call List, I get 30-40 robo calls per a day. There is a huge increase. I wish that I did not sign up for them. When they call, they show my name and phone number in caller id on my land line. There is no way to block or report them. I would be reporting my name and phone number. They are spoofing the number from what I was told by phone company and nothing can be done.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2353972
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          What are the scammers thinking, though? “Oh, it’s me calling, I’m gonna answer that?”

          When the phone company says there is nothing they can do, what I hear is that there is nothing they will do. I have no doubt that the individual employee you get on the phone can’t personally fix the issue, but detecting and blocking a call from a number claiming to be the number that is being called should be a no-brainer.

          I would think the telephone company would have suggested this if it was possible, but (as I mentioned in the other post in the thread) mine has a service where I can dial * something (don’t remember the 2 digit code anymore) and add the caller ID of the last number that called to the blocklist, and that call will be prevented from ringing the phone. It may not work if the number reported is yours, though this would be an unnecessary restriction. The telephone company knows spoofing exists, obviously, so why would they prevent you from blocking one particular spoofed number? If there is no spoofing, then you would not be getting a call from yourself anyway.

          Otherwise, you can get a call blocking appliance, or one that is built into the phone like mine is. Mine is a Panasonic cordless phone/answering machine combo, and it has the ability to block calls by the phone number, and it isn’t aware of what my phone number is, so it certainly would have no problem blocking that caller ID.

          The phone also has a feature to turn off the first ring, since the first ring will always get through (that’s when the Caller ID data is transferred), which I have enabled. Those calls don’t bug me anymore!

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

          • #2353999
            wdburt1
            AskWoody Plus

            Call blocking does not prevent spoofing that varies the last four digits, unless you’re willing to block every phone number in your local exchange, and apologize to your car repair shop when they complain that they can’t reach you when your car is done.

            Your Panasonic phone sounds a lot like mine, BTW.  Like you, I have it set to silence the first ring (necessary for the phone to establish the Caller ID), but I still hear the annoying “hangup” sound after the robocall disconnects.  Maybe I need to study whether that too can be silenced.

            I should add that there is another layer of artful spoofing.  I get way more robocalls from other area codes in my state than in neighboring states, although I do no more business with them than with neighboring counties in the next state–which is to say, very little.  It has gotten to the point where I can safely call-block all calls from several area codes in my state.

            But when it gets to my own area code, and my own exchange, that’s more difficult.

            • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by wdburt1.
            • #2354052
              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Call blocking does not prevent spoofing that varies the last four digits, unless you’re willing to block every phone number in your local exchange, and apologize to your car repair shop when they complain that they can’t reach you when your car is done.

              But the anonymous poster reported getting calls from him/herself 30-40 times a day! It would work for that.

              As far as the disconnection noise… I don’t know what that would be. I don’t hear anything.

              I have gotten calls from all kinds of places, including from my exchange. Still not gonna answer if I don’t recognize it!

              Do spoofed robocalls even work? I mean, you just got done royally ticking off the person you’re calling by lying to them about who is calling… so whatever it is you wanted to do seems pretty out of the question at that point.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.5 User Edition)

              • #2354084
                wdburt1
                AskWoody Plus

                If spoofing doesn’t work, then a lot of scamsters are wasting their time, and the biggest trend in robocalls over the last few years has been an error.

                Junk mail also irritates people, and a high percentage throw it out unopened, but political fundraisers have long said that all you need is a 2% response to make money.  Technology has further cut the cost and improved the potential profit.  I don’t think it has much to do with “customer” receptivity.  Robocallers and the purveyors of spam emails prey upon people who for whatever reason lack the presence of mind, in the moment, to hang up or delete the email.

                • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by wdburt1.
                • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by wdburt1.
              • #2354083
                anonymous
                Guest

                What are the scammers thinking, though? “Oh, it’s me calling, I’m gonna answer that?”

                When the phone company says there is nothing they can do, what I hear is that there is nothing they will do. I have no doubt that the individual employee you get on the phone can’t personally fix the issue, but detecting and blocking a call from a number claiming to be the number that is being called should be a no-brainer.

                Maybe they think will pick up if I am call myself on my own landline.

                One time when the whole family was in the car, my aunt asked,”did we leave someone at your house?”. I asked, “why? 1,2,3,4,5 everyone is here”. She said,”Well, than someone broke into your house and is call me from your landline.” I said, “Ha Ha it is a spoofing call and do not answer”. She would have answer if I was not in the car since she would think it was me call her. Likely I do not have a cell phone and do not plan to get one since this spoofing and robo call is unreal.

                Yes.The phone company said that they can not unspoof the number. I can not report the company that is call me to the do not call list. The phone company operator mentioned that mostly like they got my phone number from the do not call list and know that they need to spoof their number or else I will report them. The easy way for them is to put my number and my name in the caller id. This way nothing can be done. Now everything and everyone has to leave a message on the answer machine and will pick if home or will call back once I get the message. I do not answer my landline any more because of those numerous robo calls per day.

              • #2354205
                OscarCP
                AskWoody Plus

                Couldn’t one put one’s name in a list of those one does not take calls from? That should not create problems for oneself, I imagine, because it is practically impossible to call oneself from one’s own number: one gets a busy tone if one tries. For others blocking your number, though, for example the mother in the story, this is a different thing altogether.

                Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

                1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2353998
          wdburt1
          AskWoody Plus

          Anonymous: Sounds like inept spoofing.  The more common approach is to make the number look like it’s one of your neighbors.

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by wdburt1.
      • #2353916
        anonymous
        Guest

        We spend billions of dollars on defense and yet the federal government can’t spend a few dollars to stop this. If they put some resources into this they could find all the domestic callers and prosecute them and they could block all the foreign call centers. I’ve got a call blocker but it’s not very useful since most of the call are coming from my area code. They need to put a stop to spoofing numbers, I realize big companies want this but too bad, screw you.

      • #2353957
        anonymous
        Guest

        Haven’t gotten that many scam calls on landline lately (mostly ones alerting me that I bought something with credit card on Amazon for around $300 and wanting me to confirm it).  But I own a house in Florida and the phone has been “ringing off the hook” from people wanting to buy it.  They don’t realize that I am 6 hours behind Florida and I often get the calls around 4 AM.

      • #2354005
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Last year Congress passed the “anti robocall act” and president Trump signed it into law.

        From my own experience and the comments here, it seems that not much has happened since. Anyone knows why? Here there might be at least a partial explanation, as well as some possibly useful advice for how to protect oneself from such unwanted calls:

        https://www.consumerreports.org/robocalls/how-traced-act-robocall-law-will-protect-consumers/

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2354227
          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody_MVP

          Nah, no change after that law. It’s just as bad, maybe worse.

          Law isn’t really the problem. It’s a lack of moral values. Capitalism loses profitability if you have to spend and spend to protect your assets.

          Just because you CAN take advantage of someone doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Thankfully most don’t. Yet.

          -Noel

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2354033
        PerthMike
        AskWoody Plus

        Here in Australia I probably get about one a week. But since I don’t answer calls for numbers I don’t recognise (or when they’re private) that just screens out all rubbish. If it’s someone who needs to talk to me, they can leave a message. If they don’t, they just get ignored.

        No matter where you go, there you are.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2354063
        ScotchJohn
        AskWoody Plus

        I would think the telephone company would have suggested this if it was possible, but (as I mentioned in the other post in the thread) mine has a service where I can dial * something (don’t remember the 2 digit code anymore) and add the caller ID of the last number that called to the blocklist, and that call will be prevented from ringing the phone

        Ascaris – would you share with us where you live, and which phone supplier offers this useful service?

        Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

      • #2354225
        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody_MVP

        Please, someone invent technology that will pinpoint the physical location of the caller.

        The problem will resolve itself.

        -Noel

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2354229
        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody_MVP

        Trouble is with all this… Life is already so complicated and full – we just don’t need more things to worry about.

        You may be the most conscientious, careful person in the world but when someone in your family is sick or legitimately in trouble and/or you’re stressed at your job or you forgot to transfer money into your checking account or you’ve lost track of when you paid the cable bill – OR MAYBE YOU’RE JUST GETTING OLDER – if one of these awful people happen to tag you with their particular scam at just the wrong time you could be vulnerable.

        Don’t say it can’t happen to you because it CAN.

        Develop good habits – never give information of any type to someone who called YOU. If you have to, call someone back on a published number. Ask for the bill in writing (but don’t give your address). The list goes on, but if you develop a healthy skepticism about anyone who contacts you, your friends and family will understand, I promise.

        -Noel

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2354480
        jodrre
        AskWoody Plus

        If you’re in for a good ol’ scammer-time-wasting time, I highly recommend Kitboga! He’s on Twitch and YouTube.

        Great way to see some of the phone scams currently in play, his improv is top-notch, and the situations are frustrating enough that I need to turn them off after a couple hours.

      • #2355167
        carpintero
        AskWoody Lounger

        Susan, I have heard the blurp a number of times.
        Do butterflies care much for the Allium?

        Ascaris, please please tell me the brand+model of your phone that blocks.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by carpintero.
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