Author Topic: How do you stop spam phonecalls?  (Read 548 times)

JoFrance

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How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« on: September 11, 2017, 03:35:24 PM »
I have an IPhone 4S.  Okay, I know its old, but even though I can block the spam calls its a game of whack a mole.  Does anyone out there have a solution that is better than the standard stuff offered by Apple?  I read about Truecaller that is community based, but don't know if its any good.


The Gorn

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 06:09:58 PM »
Here's the problem that has emerged with spam calls:

The callers now spoof legitimate phone numbers, down to your local three digit exchange. So there is virtually no possible defense against spam calls. If you block these numbers you may inadvertently block legitimate callers.

For example, the other day I received a call with the caller ID showing up as KROGER (grocery chain) and the commonly seen three digit exchange. It was one of those G()(*& D(*&(*&   --- "Why hello. Our records show that you stayed at one of our resorts...".

Commercial dialing systems used by telemarketers (such as "predictive calling" systems) have a means to spoof the origination, but do so legitimately with the source number's consent. A few years ago a guy I hired to try telemarketing for me did this. His system first made a test call to my number that would show up to called parties, and I had to press a digit to OK it and give my consent. Once I OKd it, he could make calls on my behalf with his system.

The current scam practice seems to be to use software that lets telemarketers plug in any number with no validation.
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unix

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 05:53:33 AM »

I use this app called Mr. Number, it works but it does block legitimate calls, and yeah, they spoof legitimate numbers.

I don't answer the phone if it's not in one my contacts or something I recognize.

I don't like to talk on the phone, either email or text works much better. I am either driving or in the office when I cannot talk.

My voice mail got full and I forgot the password and haven't cared to reset it.  If I do talk on the phone, I usually need to write something down. Which I usually cannot if I am driving, or if I do, I lose it. So I need a record via email or text I can come back to when I need it.

Phone calls are obsolete. I need to get a text only device.   

Communicating with many people, you want the stuff *in writing*.  Text and email constitutes it *in writing* and whatever is said on the phone is vapor and has never been said.


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The Gorn

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 08:15:32 AM »
Phone calls are obsolete. I need to get a text only device.   

Communicating with many people, you want the stuff *in writing*.  Text and email constitutes it *in writing* and whatever is said on the phone is vapor and has never been said.

Indeed, the old system of telephone and POTS phone numbers are now almost completely devoid of trust. A caller ID has no meaning today. POTS phone numbers are probably going to go the way of FAX in a few years.
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benali72

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 02:39:01 PM »
Indeed, the old system of telephone and POTS phone numbers are now almost completely devoid of trust.

Excellent summary of the problem. 

I have quite a few friends who don't even answer their phones anymore.

If you want to talk with them, you have to leave a message, and they call you back.

(of course, that's assuming you will answer when they call you back! otherwise you get an endless loop of phone messages!)

JoFrance

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 02:47:33 PM »
Geez, its frustrating that there really is no good solution.  I've gotten occasional spam texts, but its nothing like the phone calls.  I don't think personal phone calls will ever go away.  I know I can burn up the phone lines talking to my friends and family.

I'm going to look into Mr. Number.  If I can block most out of state numbers it would be a help.

ilconsiglliere

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 01:50:34 AM »
I had an iPhone 4 up until this summer so dont feel bad. It still works even now. The only reason I stopped using it as I could not install anything and the OS could not be upgraded. It was retired in place. Went to a Samsung S7 Galaxy Edge, hated it and went back to the iPhone. I have now have an iPhone 7. If I get 4 years out of it I will be happy.

As for the spam numbers there really is nothing you can do. Generally speaking if you are not in my contacts I wont answer the phone. On an iPhone one tap of the power button silences the phone, two taps send it right to voice mail.

I have found something that seems to help. I answer the phone but dont talk and put it on speaker and mute. Than I just leave the line open. Computers hang up eventually and users just go hello, hello, hello. Some go nuts. I just leave em hanging till they hang up.

I have noticed that if you do this enough and they remove you from their dial patterns as you are tying up the line.

I D Shukhov

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 08:21:39 AM »

Indeed, the old system of telephone and POTS phone numbers are now almost completely devoid of trust. A caller ID has no meaning today. POTS phone numbers are probably going to go the way of FAX in a few years.
Right.  I don't know why any legitimate company, like a financial institution, would even ask for it or why I should give it to such companies.  I assume any call is spam unless I recognize the number as someone I know personally or am expecting a call from -- like a car repair shop.   The spammers have actually rendered telephones useless for anyone not in your contacts list.

Be Prepared.

I D Shukhov

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 08:25:14 AM »
I'd try Nomorobo:  https://www.nomorobo.com/.  The pricing is at the bottom:  $1.99/mo.  VoIP landlines are free and the blocking is very good.  Not 100%, but I'm very happy.  (But maybe that's because the price is right  :-X)

I'm not sure how Nomorobo builds its database.   I think they may do it partially based on the wisdom of crowds because when I report a robocall they missed they ask when I received the call and "just now" is an option.  So if 1,000s of reports come in for any number -- spoofed or not -- "just now" they know it's a fake number.

Also, maybe VoIP has a protocol where parts of it can't be spoofed and can be used to identify the source.

Be Prepared.

The Gorn

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2017, 08:43:19 AM »
I'd try Nomorobo:  https://www.nomorobo.com/.  The pricing is at the bottom:  $1.99/mo.  VoIP landlines are free and the blocking is very good.  Not 100%, but I'm very happy.  (But maybe that's because the price is right  :-X)

I'm not sure how Nomorobo builds its database.   I think they may do it partially based on the wisdom of crowds because when I report a robocall they missed they ask when I received the call and "just now" is an option.  So if 1,000s of reports come in for any number -- spoofed or not -- "just now" they know it's a fake number.

What a great recommendations! Thanks.

Yes, your hypothesis is correct. There's NO way to predict spam calls in advance. From the short video I watched on their site it seems to be a very real time thing - nomorobo will see an avalanche of calls from the same number and can preemptively decide that it's a number to block really quickly.

Exactly how Gmail and spam blocking sites handle email spam.

Also, maybe VoIP has a protocol where parts of it can't be spoofed and can be used to identify the source.

Not at all. My understanding is that VOIP is a translation of POTS (plain old telephone service) voice calls into a purely digital, TCP networked environment. VOIP is more like an interface layer between old phone system and digital networked voice. The POTS system of direct dial and DID numbers and PBX systems doesn't contain any such "real source of call" info and is basically wide open. The caller over POTS can be programmed to appear to be anyone. VOIP doesn't receive any better data than what a POTS phone would receive.

You can't extract data from a legacy source that isn't there and isn't part of the protocol.

So there's no inherent way to defend against the calls except with flood detection.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 09:14:15 AM by The Gorn »
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The Gorn

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2017, 09:16:51 AM »
In fact -

Nomorobo has a big incentive to let VOIP customers on their service for free: DATA COLLECTION. They can SEE spam call floods in real time. The more free members, the more data and the more accuracy.

Brilliant.
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I D Shukhov

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 05:00:51 PM »
^ That's perceptive.

I'd say Nomorobo is about  85% effective in blocking calls.  It's better than 1 in 5 but worse than 1 in 10 (calls that get through).  The ones that do get through often have a local area code.  I don't know if that's because of spoofing where the goal is to get me to let my guard down because it's not out of state, or if hapless work-from-home people are given a list of people to call locally.

Maybe in some cases I'm among those first people called before the number gets added to their database.

As soon as I get a call that's not blocked I see it as my civic duty to immediately report it and I suspect that other Nomorobo users do the same as a way of saying thanks for the free service.



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benali72

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 04:34:48 PM »
ID, thanks for sharing your experience with Nomorobo. I was wondering how good it was.

Here's how to reduce spam calls for landlines --
www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/04/30/how-beat-robocallers-and-telemarketers-your-landline/101041228/

and here's how to reduce spam calls for smartphones --
www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/04/16/how-to-stop-robocalls-on-iphone-smartphone-android/100474848/

My dad gives to several charitable organizations. His "reward" was about 10 to 15 spam calls per day on his landline. I was able to reduce it to about one per day by a buying a call-blocking-box. But that's as good as I could get it.

On my home phone, I just turn the ringer off and only answer calls when they're leaving a message. If they don't try to leave a message, I don't answer.

I D Shukhov

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2017, 07:53:43 PM »
On my home phone, I just turn the ringer off and only answer calls when they're leaving a message. If they don't try to leave a message, I don't answer.

That's a great idea!

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unix

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Re: How do you stop spam phonecalls?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 06:10:54 PM »
That's not a bad idea. Another idea is not to answer any calls not in your contact list.

I am sure there is an app for that.

I got my VM full and then forgot the password. Haven't bothered to recover it. WTH for. All the important stuff is either via email or text.

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