Apple to Join 'Robocall Strike Force' to Crack Down on Automated Phone Calls

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. rbrian macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2011
    Aberdeen, Scotland
    I admit to a little hyperbole, but only a little. I don't even bother googling the numbers anymore, just block them immediately. Then I get another half dozen calls within the hour with the same recorded message (or at least the first 2 seconds are the same) all from different numbers. Do they have blocking detection technology? It's clearly an arms race; before blocking there wasn't much spoofing. We could go back and forth for years, developing amazingly sophisticated electronic warfare... Or we could go straight to the punch. I wasn't entirely joking about the nukes, but I suppose a conventional air strike would suffice for a call centre. I've thought about finding their addresses and sending them letters containing flour, but while that might shut down a legitimate company for a few hours, these criminal enterprises care no more for their employees than their victims, so it wouldn't work. Bombs it is then.
  2. CrystalQuest76 Suspended

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    There is a local megachurch that keeps sending me paper mail for their services. All I keep thinking is what a waste of paper. Its not just paper but very glossy coated paper. Very poorly run church/business to waste so much donated money for marketing.
  3. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    What exactly are they selling or doing? Since everybody I know hates and avoids telemarketers like the plague, I don't understand how it's profitable for them to keep doing this. My father-in-law will talk to live telemarketers but he talks their ears off because he's a rambling storyteller who will talk to anyone just for amusement. He's too savvy to buy anything, he just likes yanking their chains. But he's the only one I know who takes telemarketing calls. I guess they must be preying on the less savvy elderly or something.
  4. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Most of these boiler room operations are overseas (India) so good luck targeting your letters, let alone, surgical airstrikes!
    --- Post Merged, Aug 19, 2016 ---
    I have often wondered the same. Probably not one out of hundreds will talk to them, out of those, one of thousands will fall for whatever scheme they are peddling. Yet the costs of bombarding thousands of phone lines at once is so low, it seems to be worth their effort if only one in a million rewards them. One of these scammers got through to my voicemail the other day and left me a rambling and far from credible message broken English about how I was about to be sued by the government and needed to call them back right away (a variation on the common IRS scam). So somebody must be biting on these calls. If only one sucker a month gives them a couple of grand, that's a lot of money in India.
  5. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I can't believe how many Scam calls I receive on my iPhone a week now. I used to average three a year, now it's three calls weekly.

    It's unavoidable and these robocalls/Scammers are an epidemic. And the unfortunate part is the geriatric demographic is becoming more and more victimized of losing money. I hear about it all the time. Something has to happen.

    We need resources and technology to partner fast to be effective and prevent these acts. And Law Enforcement to hold these people accountable, if applicable.
  6. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    Yikes! I could see how a scam like that might work on me someday when I'm getting on in years and maybe widowed and isolated and a bit out of touch.

    I know first hand, when I had to take care of my in-laws Mail while they moved and had some health problems, that legitimate charities really go over the top taking advantage of the elderly. My father in law is Catholic and involved in a lot of charities relating to his religion and therefore ended up on some kind of charities list. The contents of the mail are rather exploitative to say the least (super guilt tripping) and the volume of these mailings to just one person is overwhelming. So I was not shocked to read articles on the subject on how some caretakers end up devoting hours per day as personal secretaries sorting through mail for their elderly relatives.

    I was involved in just a couple of charity drives for animal rescue and pediatric cancer and I am now fending off electronic mailings myself, but on a limited scale since I took precautions about my contact info and most of the cancer fundraiser were for specific families hit with pediatric cancer costs and not organizations.

    I have had to shut off my Facebook account in large part because my friends have been bombarding me nonstop with forwarded beggary for Go Fund Me pleas that had me questioning their legitimacy. Friend of a cousin of a friend with some sad story and so forth. I'm a generous person but not a foolish one. It just got to be too much. There were other reasons for me to put my FB account on indefinite hiatus but that was a big one.
  7. robsp2000 macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2005
    It has gotten so bad lately. I have Xfinity and have phone service as part of a bundle. I probably get 5 a day. Often it's the same number. So I have been blocking them with Xfinity but for whatever reason I can only black 25 numbers. I don't get that, why is it limited? Also I picked up a couple but no one ever answers on the other end. Just some clicks etc. What is the point then?
  8. pat500000 Suspended


    Jun 3, 2015
    Yes! I hate these "hello, you have won......" calls.
  9. morcutt11 macrumors 6502


    Jun 26, 2015
    What a load of crap. Telecom and cell phone manufacturers could have given us the tools to stop this years ago. Stop allowing spoofing and prohibit no number/blocked number calling. Done.
  10. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    Alright Randell- how do I sign up?
    "AT&T is prepared to take a leadership position in the industry in the development of comprehensive solutions. We currently allow many of our customers to block calls using black-listing software like Nomorobo and we are committed to providing our customers with the best blocking tools available for use with their knowledge and consent. [...]"

    Screenshot 2016-08-19 12.55.37.png
  11. coolfactor macrumors 601

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    Definitely need a different robot image. Poor WALL-E.
  12. Moorepheus macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2012
    Niagara Falls, NY
    The problem with that is, the FTC wants you to tell them not to call you. As for the company that was calling me, I went through all the BS from the robo call company just to get to the real company that was using the robo call service to contact me, then I got their name, number, url, address, etc so I could give that to the FTC. But still no change, I still get calls from them, even after asking the end company to stop calling/harassing me.

    It's even worse then that, as long as it's picked up, by you or your answering machine, they know it's a real number and they will continue to call.
  13. rotax, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016

    rotax macrumors regular

    May 17, 2010
    I think some of the back end ideas are great in terms of filtering. But this would be easy to implement and should be a secondary option an individual user could choose to enable. But I would go farther in allowing it to intercept no caller ID calls and a separate option to intercept all calls not in your contact list.

    It could require the person calling to enter a random number that was texted to them if it were a cell phone number to allow the call to go through. If the number were spoofed, the text would be rejected and the back end could take care of regulatory action. Another option would be for the person to be required to enter a random number that was read to them in order to. This would require them to use voice recognition or be a human. Then they could leave a voice message that would allow you to ID the caller and allow you to choose from a menu call them back on the number they called from, or report it as a unsolicited advertisement / robo call that the back end could take care of. They could leave you a number in voice or enter it digitally if it were legit and the return call required you to call another number, this would leave the option again to flag as spam.
  14. Numbah One macrumors newbie

    Numbah One

    Jun 7, 2007
    Even when/if this is implemented, politicians will exempt their own robocalls from any restrictions.
  15. yanki01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 28, 2009
    I've been getting the girl that says "consider this your final notice" for over a year already. GET THE HINT LADY!!!
  16. Defthand macrumors 65816

    Sep 1, 2010
    AT&T is leading this? Boy, that's rich. We still have a landline (GF insists it's needed for 911 emergencies). Every incoming call is a god***n robocall or scammer originating from an AT&T facility. Every. Single. Call. Don't tell me that the robocallers don't have a contract with AT&T to do business on their network.
  17. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    How are you able to tell this?

    With spoofed numbers and fake callerID information, I'm not sure how you would have any idea where the calls are coming from.
  18. mw360 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Unfortunately services like this operate by uploading all your contacts into their database, without first getting the consent of your contacts. And their database got stolen by the Syrian Electronic Army a while back. So, ironically, scammers with that data not only have lots of phone numbers to call, but they also know exactly which numbers to spoof in order to bypass any filters, like Truecaller, the recipient might be using.
  19. SeattleMoose macrumors 68000

    Jul 17, 2009
    Der Wald
    Where is the problem? If when the phone rings it doesn't show up as someone in contact list, let them leave a message. Robocalls never do and then i just block them when I review my Recents.

    If they do ever start emulating folks on my contact list, THAT would indeed be a problem. But so far so good.
  20. kylelerner macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2013
    I love that fact that Mr. Joe Rossignol chose Wall-E as the article picture for this story.
  21. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012
    Awesome to see such a concerted effort to stop robocalls! Part of any crackdown needs to include penalties for those responsible for robocalling. Not the lowly minimum wage workers involved, but the corporate executives who organized the robocalling or purchased robocall services. Make the penalties bad enough and the robocalling will stop.

    LOL, I'm just kidding around. They won't do anything at all to the responsible individuals. Corporate executives will get sternly worded letters of reprimand from the FCC, and the robocalling will continue. A few robocalling firms may be fined but no one at the firms will be held accountable, except maybe some low level staff who are scapegoated.

    This is America, where it's a god-given right to harass people at all times and places with advertising.
  22. commodorepet macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2013
    When cell phones first became popular in Japan in the 90s, nuisance calls (e.g. heavy breathing) were a problem. My old phone from that era had a "Gekitai" = "Repulse" button that plays a loud noise to the caller.
  23. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    That is awesome!!
  24. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I have the TrueCaller app, and as long as I remember to update their spam list, it seems to work fairly well at identifying spam calls.

    I understand it should get better in iOS10, which will allow apps access to your dialer, so apps like TrueCaller will be able to query their database on the fly as the call comes in.
  25. peterh988 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2011
    Exactly how my home landline phone works. From the manual;

    1. How do you accept, block or send a call to the answer phone?
    1. BT Call Guardian answers a call for you and asks the caller to say (“announce”) who they are.
    2. Your BT8500 then rings you with the Announced call on the display and announces the caller’s name when you pick up the phone. (e.g. “You have a call from Mark”).
    3. You now have the following choices :
    • To accept the call, press 1
    • To always accept their calls, press 2
    • To block their calls, press 3
    • To send this call to the answer phone, press 4
    • Or to ignore the call, just hang up (this call will then be sent straight to the

      answer phone)

      Your friends and family are already your whitelist, the default mode is the above procedure unless the number is whitelisted, which then gets through as normal. Machine calls and spammers never complete step 2, so you're never disturbed by the phone ringing, or even know they did.

      As said previously, it exists, works, and I don't understand why it isn't in the mobile world.

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