Verizon Now Offering Free Call Filtering to Block Telemarketers

(Josh Centers) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/04/02/verizon-now-offering-free-call-filtering-to-block-telemarketers/

Under pressure from the US Federal Communications Commission, Verizon now offers a free call-filtering service, but it’s just a band-aid on the spam-call problem.

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(Simon) #2

I support all efforts against spam calls. OTOH I have a feeling regulation and consumer protection are at an all-time low in terms of US government priorities so I do also believe people need to prevent these calls at the source as much as they can.

One thing I find surprising is how willing people are to divulge their personal information to complete strangers. When I spent three years in Germany I learned to appreciate their skepticism towards this behavior and how serious they take data protection. Back home in the US I then found myself baffled by how careless we are with our personal information.

Some Joe walks our neighborhood going door to door trying to get people to sign a petition or something to save the planet. Heck, half my neighborhood gladly signed up, gave him their names, addresses, phone numbers and email. Wow.

Or you go to an outfit like Target and spend $200 on household items. Target will then offer to give you a $2 discount if you sign up for some sleazy promotion. Sure enough, people will just hand over their contact details. Postal address, phone, email, the whole shebang. Works the same at a place like The Gap. People will give everything just to save a buck. No matter that that’s one buck on a $300 purchase.

I mean come on, seriously, what’s the deal with people just handing out their personal information? And worse yet, doing it for chump change. Why? No wonder you get spammed like nuts and ID theft is rampant. People need to smarten up. Keep your private stuff private. Put it public domain and you’re entering a world of pain.

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(John Burt) #3

My wife received a repeated spam call she quickly hung up on. When she went to block the number, it was her own! She eventually listened a little longer before hanging up and got a different number which is now blocked and the calls went away. Weird world.

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(John Burt) #4

I agree Simon. I don’t give out my phone number, or email if I can avoid it. If an internet form demands one, I give them 555-3253 just like TV shows.

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#5

It’s incredibly easy for spammers to “spoof” legitimate numbers and spoofing numbers in a wide range that includes the victim’s number is rampant:

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(Tommy Weir) #6

What I really hate is the targeting of elders.

My father-in-law has fallen for these guys more than once, telling him that the IRS were coming to investigate, giving him pricey callback numbers to phone and putting him on hold.

Frankly to my European ears even the charities he helps out behave in a very similar fashion to the spammers,
“Hi is X there?”
“Sorry who is this?”
“Oh I’m a friend of his.”
“And your name is?”
“Tell X I’ll call back later.”
And hangs up on me. Distinguish that from the actions of a spammer, I can’t. A major US charity.

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(David Weintraub) #7

I got several calls at my home identified simply as “Mom” which is a bit disconcerting since my mom died a while ago.

I guess the scammer is hoping that people won’t think too much about it before answering the phone.

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(Doug Miller) #8

I get about 1 or 2 same area code and prefix spam calls each week (i.e., the first six digits of the caller ID are the same as my Verizon number; a common technique that SPAM callers thinks will fool us into answering a local call), so I installed this app last night. So far I haven’t received any calls, and, as I said, I don’t get a lot of SPAM calls anyway, but any little bit helps. So far I also haven’t shared my contact info with the app, but if it turns out that it won’t work right without that, I’ll probably bite the bullet and do so. Or maybe I’ll just install and pay for the Nomorobo app and share contacts with them - I already use Nomorobo with our home phone, so I think I trust them.

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(Paul Schinder) #9

Frankly to my European ears even the charities he helps out behave in a very similar fashion to the spammers,
“Hi is X there?”
“Sorry who is this?”
“Oh I’m a friend of his.”
“And your name is?”
“Tell X I’ll call back later.”
And hangs up on me. Distinguish that from the actions of a spammer, I can’t. A major US charity.

Funny you should say that. A month ago I had an endoscopy. A few days later I got a call from “your doctor’s office” on our landline. (For a while there was a company actually named “Your Credit Card Company” which was running some scam or other. I got a few calls from them. Both my credit card and my doctor know their actual names, so the doctors office should just say the name.) Since we never answer our landline any more, I listened to the message, and called them back at them number they gave which I checked before returning the call to make sure was my actual doctor’s office. So even legitimate calls raise red flags. I’ve gotten many calls from “the IRS” (they’re required to contact you by mail first) and from “Microsoft" saying that my license was about to expire (nothing in this house runs any Microsoft software).

(My return call went to a live receptionist and then through to an answering machine black hole, because I left my information but they never called me back. The next day I got another call from “your doctor’s office”. I returned that, got directed to the answering machine, gave up. A few days later I got a letter in the mail saying “we haven’t been able to get through to you”. I called, insisted on not being directed to the answering machine, and finally got the appointment to discuss my endoscopy results.)

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(Will M) #10

Adam Engst has taken to sending all calls that aren’t from contacts to voicemail

It’s nice to know I’m in good company.

A representative of my land line company assured me that this could not be done. I was incredulous, but he insisted.

Is that spoofing technology available to ordinary mortals? Often, when I make a call, I would like the Caller ID on the recipient’s end to show my office number.

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(Adam Engst) #11

That’s exactly what Josh mentioned in the article—getting an angry call from a guy because the spammers were spoofing Josh’s number. I suspect they’re making up numbers randomly but some percentage will overlap with numbers that are in use by legitimate people.

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#12

I’ve read that Spoofing technology is inexpensive and easy to set up. I’ve also read that it just sequentially dials numbers within designated area codes, and it can be set up to repeat dial people who answer robo calls. So I don’t think it will work they way you want it to.

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(Seth Anderson) #13

In re: AT&T’s Call Protect, while it is true that the basic service is free, the Call Protect Plus costs $3.99 a month (includes protection, allegedly, against Telemarketers, Surveys, Political Calls, etc.). In my experience with the free version, it rarely blocks a call. I currently get about 3-5 robocalls a day, none of which are blocked. Maybe now that Verizon has upped their service, AT&T will follow suit (but I’m not holding my breath)

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#14

What are the implications of signing in and putting your caller id on the phone?
Will Verizon charge me for this?

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(Nello Lucchesi) #15

Would the Verizon spam blocker app work on PagePlus, a virtual mobile network that’s based on Verizon?

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(Doug Miller) #16

There are proposed cryptographic certificate signing protocols called SHAKEN and STIR that providers can use to make sure that the caller ID information is legitimate. If it is not, they can reject the call before it even rings through. The FCC is pushing carriers to adopt these protocols.

See https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/02/ajit-pai-orders-phone-companies-to-adopt-new-anti-robocall-tech-in-2019/

There is a free tier and a premium tier. The free tier says that it “shows the name of callers who are not in your contacts”, and also detects spam calls and alerts you that the call is spam as it is received.

The premium tier allows you to customize spam lists and white lists and automatically forwards spam calls to voicemail without ringing through. There is a monthly cost; I believe it is $3.99/month.

No, it is for Verizon postpaid customers only. But, again, there are other utilities on the App Store that do this, among them Nomorobo and Hiya. The Sweet Setup did a good review of these apps here: https://thesweetsetup.com/apps/best-spam-call-blocking-app-iphone/

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(John) #17

What are the advantages, if any, of the Verizon app over Hiya?

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(Al Varnell) #18

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm

Best Fake your Caller ID. Have any number appear on the Caller ID.

-Al-

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(David Ross) #19

I had call protect (free) installed for about a year before switching to T-Mobile last August. I did make a difference.

Of course now that I’m turning 65 soon, all kinds of people have my name and number (extracted from legit sources) and I get all kinds of calls about my impending need to sign up with them for extra coverage. Some more legit than others. BCBS vs. “We sell old fart insurance cheep”.

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(thomasdavis) #20

This is a basic thing. I think people should have been very aware of this. We should not give out any information to someone who call us out of the blue. I personally even ignore any calls that come from unfamiliar numbers. Most of those calls are coming from telemarketers. I also read a nice article that talks about this topic at https://www.whycall.me/news/my-4500-payday-from-a-telemarketer/. I think it’s time for us to fight against those telemarketers.

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