Telemarketers are using technological advancements to their advantage

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Telemarketers and robocalls have been a nuisance for decades. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1991 and the National Do Not Call Registry opened in 2003 yet still, the problem persists.

A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission highlights the fact that 3.8 million phone numbers were added to the registry in 2017, pushing the total to over 229 million active registrations (as of September 30).

The FTC notes that advancements in technology have increased the number of illegal telemarketing calls made to numbers on the registry. Voice over IP technology, for example, allows callers to make higher volumes of calls inexpensively from anywhere in the world. Other advancements make it incredibly easy to spoof caller ID information, thus allowing callers to conceal their identity from both consumers and law enforcement.

Unsurprisingly, consumer complains about illegal calls – especially robocalls – have increased significantly. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the FTC received approximately 63,000 complaints about illegal robocalls each month. In 2017, that number more than quintupled as the FTC fielded an average of more than 375,000 complaints per month.

I know I’m in the minority here but personally, I’ve never quite understood why people get so worked up over telemarketers and robocalls. I follow a simple philosophy. If I don’t recognize a number calling my phone, I just don’t answer it. If it’s a pressing matter, they’ll leave a voice message or send a text message. Otherwise, I block the number after the phone stops ringing and go about my day.

Illustration courtesy Diana Quach

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BSim500

TS Evangelist
"Unsurprisingly, consumer complains about illegal calls"

"I know I’m in the minority here but personally, I’ve never quite understood why people get so worked up over telemarketers and robocalls."
It's that underlying arrogant attitude of "we're above the law" combined with using deliberately deceptive technology (Caller ID spoofing) behind the calls that irritates people more than the individual calls themselves. Sometimes the number being spoofed isn't unused and that 3rd party then has to deal with potential backlash (little different to stolen ID being used to commit a crime). No-one likes a spammer and no-one likes an anonymous "hit and run" troll. Robocalls that hide behind fake CID numbers succeed at being both simultaneously.
 
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viperfl

TS Enthusiast
I knew from the start that the Do Not Call List wasn't going to work. Criminals will always go about there business because the FTC won't do a thing. How many individuals or companies did the FTC forward for prosecution for any violations? How many fines did the FTC issue? The Telephone Consumer Protection act was a no win for consumers.

So it was left up to the tech companies to give people what they wanted.
 
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ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
"I know I’m in the minority here but personally, I’ve never quite understood why people get so worked up over telemarketers and robocalls."

Seriously? How you you like to have an alarm that goes off randomly every 5 minutes and you have to walk across the room to shut it off? It's an extreme example, but that is the point. They use a computer to annoy you. It's like kids coming up and ringing your doorbell 6+ times a day and run away. A waste of your life. Not only is it an annoyance and a complete waste of time, but most likely it is a scammer trying to extort you for money. Pure evil.
 

bmaytum

TS Enthusiast
For my VOIP home phone, free NoMoRoBo has been a godsend. It intercepts and drops 95% of those confounding telemarking / scam calls - I love it!
It's free for VOIP, and is also available for a monthly fee for iPhone and Android smartphones.
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
What I'd like to know is how anyone can spoof their caller lD. I've always assumed the ID must be assigned by the phone company you're placing a call with and its routed to the number dialed along with the ring command. If that's not the case then where does the info come from? I can only guess its just ASCII data and the spoofers are simply overwriting it with their equipment. If so its just another indictment of the utterly antiquated telecom system.
 

Lance Bolden

TS Rookie
Possible solution to the problem. Step 1 - Initiate a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the telcos, since the telcos enable the telemarketers, profit from all of the telephone traffic generated and fail to protect the end users with adequate call screening and blocking technologies. The telcos know who the rogue telemarketers are, since the telcos have to engineer their networks to carry the offered traffic and to bill for the use of these networks. The telcos have profited from these unwanted calls for decades. Step 2 - Order the telcos to ensure no calls are being made to any number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This action could be accomplished with the same database lookup technology used for every 800-type toll free call. As soon as the call rejections begin, the call volumes from the telemarketers will decrease substantially.
 

MaikuTech

TS Evangelist
The people behind telemarketing are people with the same attitude as those bitching about Adblockers. Always trying to push their **** and will not take no for an answer.
Funny you mentioned that, I had a phone call just the other night when I got back home from work.
Some crazy teenage girl started ratteling off trying to sell some garbage, as soon as she asked me if I wanted to buy.
I put my phone on dead silence for about 5 minutes, after saying hello sir and becoming unnerved.
I took the silence off, asked her point blank, what do you want, she started high cheery *** tune of hers.
Soon as she shut up again, I told her don't bother calling back, don't bother masking your number.

I told her point blank if I got angry enough, it wouldn't take me long at all to find her company of source and have something be done.
Put whatever number they give these telemarketers and put it on block, they're going to run out of numbers to pick off soon.
I already got 6 of them blocked during this past year so that should tell you something.

@Lance Bolden, I agree with you on that, but in order to get that fully moving.
Something very bad enough needs to happen to get them to finally wake up do something about them for good.
Sadly thats only way things get done these days in order for people to finally act when something is on the line of being ruined.
 

Tanstar

TS Evangelist
Sometimes the ***** Robo callers do leave a VM (since they don't acknowledge the call wasn't answered by a human), so then I have to go through the hassle of checking it and deleting it (and Verizon at least, makes you listen to all the call info before the actual message). I also have gotten calls from people asking why I called them. I didn't, but my number was spoofed so the telemarketer would appear to be another local calling them. I've heard of one person who thought it was a call from their brother, but it was just that number being spoofed.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
If I don’t recognize a number calling my phone, I just don’t answer it. If it’s a pressing matter, they’ll leave a voice message or send a text message. Otherwise, I block the number after the phone stops ringing and go about my day.
:grin: Me Too. For my cellphone, the App Truecaller implements white & black lists to assist you.