back to article Since the FCC won't act, Congress finally moves on robocalls by passing half-decent TRACED Act

US Congress has finally acted on the scourge of robocalls, with the House of Representative passing the TRACED Act on Wednesday morning by 417 votes to 3 (with 11 not voting). Senators earlier passed the linked Senate Bill 151, meaning both halves of Congress have approved the anti-robocall law. The legislation will now head …

  1. JohnFen

    Color me skeptical

    "The TRACED Act will put an end to that nonsense."

    We'll see.

    "The FCC will be able to levy huge fines - although whether it actually bothers to collect them is a different matter"

    This is the heart of my skepticism. The legislation doesn't require the FCC to do anything, it just gives them the authority to levy fines. I believe they already had that authority, but this makes it explicit. However, the FCC has clearly demonstrated that it doesn't actually want to do anything about this problem, and so I don't think they'll start unless they're legally compelled to.

    1. Mike Moyle

      Re: Color me skeptical

      The law should require the FCC to announce annually how many of the fines assessed had actually been collected -- both in terms of number of penalties assigned and dollar values.

      Having to explicitly state how little they are doing / how ineffective they've been MIGHT have had a salutary effect on the FCC's activity levels; without that, I'm not expecting much change.

      1. Mark 85

        Re: Color me skeptical

        Since Pai runs the FCC, perhaps the law should make him also liable to some degree. I can see where he'll waffle about, make excuses, and if forced to fine the Telcos, drop the fines for some reason. So, for now, don't I agree, don't expect much change except in the amount of bovine excrement that will be shoveled by the FCC.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Color me skeptical

          I expect Pai will uphold the law. He will HAVE to. The question up until now is whether the FCC already had the authority or not to do what this new legislation wants done.

          in my opinion, Congress needed to pass the legislation. Now the FCC has a means by which it can legally go after these idiots who continue to abuse us with their @#$% robocalls.

          Wait and see indeed. I don't trust ANY gummint agency to "get things right". Or, CON-GRAB, for that matter.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Sorry, but where in his track record do you have any instance of him doing anything else than delaying the application of the law when said application would diminish telco revenue ?

          2. Palpy

            Re: Pai uphold the new law?

            Color me skeptical.

            The current administration has demonstrated clearly how to derail enforcement: just put corporate insiders who oppose regulation into the top spots in the relevant agency. For example, put a Verizon exec in charge of the FCC. That would be Ajit Pai. Then the Verizon exec, Pai, simple lies doggo on enforcement, and when necessary lies about it. Eventually lawsuits will start, but it will be years before any movement is seen. At that point, Pai will be back in the corporate telecom world at a higher pay grade than before, the lawsuits will be challenged on various grounds, and the carousel will keep turning while the squeaky music goes on.

            1. KBeee

              Re: Pai uphold the new law?

              Apparently happening with the US weather service too. Owner of a commercial "rival" service being put in charge of the government run public service. The "rival" uses the freely available data, jazzes it up, and sells it. I imagine it won't be too long till the free service is no longer available to the public if the appointment goes through.

        2. fidodogbreath

          Re: Color me skeptical

          Since Pai runs the FCC, perhaps the law should make him also liable to some degree.

          Auto forwarding all 48 billion robocalls to his personal cell number should do the trick.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Color me skeptical

            Auto forwarding all 48 billion robocalls to his personal cell number should do the trick.

            And in case of a line busy signal (because of another robocall), auto forward again to either one of his two henchmen on the FCC (and switch in case of a line busy signal).

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Color me skeptical

      "However, the FCC has clearly demonstrated that it doesn't actually want to do anything about this problem, and so I don't think they'll start unless they're legally compelled to."

      Which is why I think the effective scheme would be one which enables the recipient to charge a fee for handling the calls by dialling a suitable code. It would be necessary for the telcos to put n place a tracing and charging system but would allow each telco that has to pass the charge back to add on its own handling charge. Any telco that failed to be able to trace back would carry the can for that charge.

      It would never actually come into operation, of course because the telcos would realise they'd be lumbered with costs they'd never recoup through those charges because it would bleed the robocallers dry within days. But it would achieve the required end because the prospect of having a nice little earner turned into a money pit would result in the telsos suddenly discovering they could put a stop to the whole thing without going to that trouble.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Levying fines is hard

      It is too easy for robocallers to move overseas and operate where they can ignore fines. Most probably already are overseas, at least based on the accents when I get a robocall that "your PC is infected" or "this is your credit card company".

      1. JohnFen

        Re: Levying fines is hard

        All of the times the FCC technically levied fines on domestic companies, but never bothered to actually collect them, indicates that they aren't interested in mitigating the bad behavior of US telecoms.

        It's also not really necessary to chase after international robocalls. It would be effective to require domestic telecoms to put mitigations into place, and fine them if they aren't making a good faith effort (which is the approach the legislation appears to be taking). It wouldn't eliminate robocalls, but it could reduce them enough to make it possible to start answering the phone again.

      2. Kev99 Silver badge

        Re: Levying fines is hard

        Two of the world's largest "legit" call centers are located outside of Manila, Philippines and Mumbai (Bombay) India. Both locales are contracted by Synchrony Bank, you know, the gang that actually carries your Lowes, WalMart, Sam's Club, and other co-branded credit cards.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Levying fines is hard

          True, but legitimate credit card companies don't introduce themselves as "your credit card company" but rather as "Chase Bank" or whoever.

          The call centers for legitimate business have been outsourced for the same cost reasons that scammers have outsourced their call centers - my point was that fining them will be difficult if they operate in India or the Philippines. Who you really want to fine is who hired them, since as I understand it most robocallers are essentially contractors acting for a third party. If someone in the US hires an overseas company to robocall me, you need to fine that guy in the US, otherwise even if you shut down the company that's robocalling for him he'll simply hire someone else and the calls will continue.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Levying fines is hard

            "[...] legitimate credit card companies don't introduce themselves as "your credit card company" but rather as "Chase Bank" or whoever"

            There are only a limited number of large credit card companies. So the callers can take a punt on saying they represent any specific one eg VISA or Mastercard. Just the same gamble as saying " Microsoft" to a Linux users. All these scams work by winnowing the gullible minority from a large number of attempts.

    4. Graybyrd

      Re: Color me skeptical

      Sure the FCC may levy fines... HUGE fines... collectible in 2120. Subject to administrative appeal and internal adjustments, based on industry input.

      We solved the problem: we answer no landline calls directly. All calls go to the answering machine. Most robo calls don't respond to the prompt; anyone seriously needing to talk to us will leave a message. Ulcer factor is now down to tolerable levels.

      Also, to flee the increasing assault of innumerable mosquito-bite taxes, we dropped POT copper-link service and went totally VOIP. The morass of taxes exceeded the basic phone service three times over! We realized an immediate reduction of 80 percent local and state taxes for basic phone service. FCC? Just another agency led by self-justified self-serving pack'o'useless obstructionist bureaucrats in suits, comfortably indolent and self-enriched.

      1. usbac

        Re: Color me skeptical

        We did something similar. I run FreePBX at home, and set up an auto attendant to answer all calls. The greeting says "press 1 to speak to...", then after three seconds of no activity, it sends the call to Lenny.

        I have inbound routes for family and friends that bypass the auto attendant.

        This totally fixes the robocall problem at home for us. My cell phone is a different matter...

        1. CoffeeBlacker

          Re: Color me skeptical

          That, is about the best way i've heard to do away with spammers...Now to go Google to see if i can do that with my cell phone...

    5. Just An Engineer

      Re: Color me skeptical

      But until they actually include the Politicians, in this robo-call ban, then it will make a difference.

      Between my mobile and landline, i get as many as 5 a day, and during the high campaign season, there are as many as 10 a day. I live in a small state where the "first in the nation Primary" is held.

      I cannot wait until the first of the year when and sitting quietly at home the land line will ring every few minutes until 9:00 PM, i just wait for my caller ID to tell me it is an unknown number, and then ignore it. I usually have to turn off the ringer and let CID tell me I have a call.

  2. Shamino

    I'll believe it when I see it

    Congress has passed all kinds of laws like this. Laws against spammers. The "do not call" list. Laws against junk faxes. Lots more.

    They pass the law and think they solved the problem, but the laws aren't actually enforced. Law enforcement agencies don't have the time or the manpower or the budget to go after spammers and telemarketers. The spammers and telemarketers aren't deterred because they know they won't be brought to justice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll believe it when I see it

      Shit... it takes 7 years to pass a law for robocalling due to financial corruption in this country. How long would it take to actually do something more tangible like stop Corps. from spying on private citizens... 700 years? 2000? How about corruption in healthcare or education? 50,000? How about government... 99999999999999999999999?

  3. Ima Ballsy

    And in other NEWS:

    president Trump has announced his company is building 2 HUGE call center skyscrapers in India and Nigeria ....

  4. Jay Lenovo

    Does this Pudding come with Proof?

    "We near unanimously empower an agency to do what we want, but can't force them to do it."

    Good job Congress, almost acting relevant again.

  5. Rich 10

    "what's this new $15/mth per line charge on my bill? Cell Phone Spam Call Protection Fee? you are shaking me down now instead of the spammers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking for loopholes in all the right places

    You've already convinced me nothing will change till some later round.

    "... using an unauthenticated number."

    Hey, this here is a valid number. A perfect number. Very very stable number. Who can say this number isn't real?

    "obliges phone companies to verify the legitimacy of calls"

    Hey, this here call *is* a phone call. It rang, didn't it? You answered it, didn't you. 'Phone' and 'call'. It's a legit phone call!

    "... and they don’t want to see that revenue dry up."

    See above.

    No really, this is prompted by the fact that one day I received a phone call from my partner. It gave my partner's number. It wasn't my partner, it was a spam call. But it *was* a *real* phone number. And it *was* a call. So aren't the phone companies *already* doing everything asked for?

    Give _us_ a number to call to report bad calls. Make it a rotary that distributes those calls to a pool of representatives.

    And senators, too.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Looking for loopholes in all the right places

      Give _us_ a number to call to report bad calls. Make it a rotary that distributes those calls to a pool of representatives.

      And senators, too.

      Just forward those bad calls to representatives and senators (on a collect-call basis).

      1. ma1010

        Re: Looking for loopholes in all the right places

        AND every phone Ajit Pai has. And throw in all his immediate family, for good measure. Maybe if THEY complain to him, he'll listen?

  7. Kev99 Silver badge

    Does anyone really believe that Idjit Pai and his bought off cronies will even go thru the motions of enforcement? They haven't done squat enforcing the do not call registry. From the number of trash calls we get I sometimes think Idjit Pai is selling the DNCR lists to the trash callers.

    At least telco isn't doing diddly in cracking down on trash calls. For over a year our Frontier Tel connected phone will not show show caller IDs. That kinda makes it hard to identify in advance if a call is legit.

    1. JohnFen

      "I sometimes think Idjit Pai is selling the DNCR lists to the trash callers."

      I don't know if they sell it or not (I don't think they do), but those lists are absolutely made available to telemarketers, so that they know which numbers they aren't supposed to call. So yes, the FCC does make the list available to trash callers.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      In the UK, our equivalent is the Telephone Preference Service, and people who are on that list get more nuisance calls than people who are not.

  8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    It's time to rebuild the FCC when it's doing such a bad job that Congress must waste their time handling illegal telemarketers. No Pai, you can't charge an Early Termination Fee on your way out.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Reboot

      I don't believe FCC is doing a bad job. What they are NOT doing is OVERSTEPPING THEIR BOUNDS. You cannot just regulate for the @#$% of it because you *FEEL*. There has to be actual Congressional law by which you regulate and fine people for non-compliance...

      So I say THIS is a start of what should have been done in the FIRST place.

      (many of you are just angry because Pai isn't using the FCC the way OBAKA would have wanted it used, like cramming so-called "net neutrality" into our body orifices, in a heavy-handed power grab kind of way)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reboot

        OBAKA? Thanks Bob. LOL Just so you know, I'm gonna steal that...

    2. Rasslin ' in the mud

      Re: Reboot

      Congress is doing a fine job of wasting their time and MY MONEY with their Kangaroo Court of an impeachment. Frankly, I don't know how they squeezed passing this piece of nearly useless legislation into their agenda.

      1. jdb3

        Re: Reboot

        Because, contrary to what almost every media outlet (on both sides of the political spectrum) is showing, the impeachment isn't the main activity in the House. Personally, I think it's a legitimate activity, but they also have plenty of time to pass other bills that Mitch can sit on.

        1. Just An Engineer

          Re: Reboot

          There are currently 250 bills passed by the House sitting on the, or under the desk of the Senate President. So i guess the house has been busy over the last 10 months.

  9. rshpount

    Author is clueless

    Almost every single statement in this article is factually wrong. Robocalls cost cell phone companies money. Long distance companies make money on robocalls. They actively promote services to robocallers since this is the only new source of revenue for them with decreasing call costs and regular call volumes. The law is pointless to an absolutely absurd degree. It puts the burden of blocking robocalls on terminating party instead of originating carrier. STIR/SHAKEN is incomplete and nowhere near being ready. It also ignores how a lot of illegal robocalls are placed (pretending to be local through LEC TDM links where STIR/SHAKEN is not supported).

    I expect this to be blocked since author cannot handle disagreements or discussions.

    1. Adelio

      Re: Author is clueless

      I assume that no matter what phone number comes up on your phone when a robocaller calls the telephone company DOES KNOW who they really are as they have to bill them.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Author is clueless

        Quite possibly, though I doubt they really care as long as they bill someone.

        Our records show the call originated from your number, so we're charging you for it. Prove it didn't come from your number.

        1. rshpount

          Re: Author is clueless

          First of all, most of consumers in USA are on the flat rate plan. They are not billed for placing calls to domestic, and in a lot of cases a lot of international destinations. Also, in US, called party is never billed for receiving the call, unless it is a toll free number. So, as far, as cell phone companies are concerned, the less people call, the better. Flat rate fee is already collected and any usage on your phone, be this data, SMS, or phone calls are just an expense for them.

          Outbound calls actually cost money (some small fee per minute). So, robocallers pay some phone company to place these calls. This phone company is usually a smaller long distance operator. What this operator does, is gets a regular phone calls by providing the discount rate to legitimate caller such as one of the numerous VoIP or enterprise phone service providers, and then mixes the robocall traffic with the traffic from legitimate source. This long provider knows exactly who the robocallers are, but anybody who is receiving traffic from this long distance provider, cell phone operator or likely one of the larger long distance companies, cannot easily filter this traffic out.

          Furthermore, local calls within the same local calling area in US are free. These calls are placed through LEC (local exchange carrier), which are old telephone monopolies in each region. LEC only accept connections using TDM (old digital phone lines). So, what long distance operators targeting robocallers do, is spoof the local caller ID within the same area as a called number. This allows them to terminate calls for free through the LEC. This not only reduces their costs, but also mixes their calls with all the other local calls in the area. Since robocallers spoof caller ID, when calls go through LEC, it is virtually impossible to distinguish robocalls from valid local calls. Furthermore, LEC often state that FCC prohibits them from blocking calls or, more importantly, tracing robocalls back to origination without a subpoena, which cannot be obtained unless crime was committed. Enabling tracing robocalls back to origination and reporting this to FCC is essential to resolving this issue.

          Calls through LEC are free but connections to LEC are expensive in large part due to using old technology. With the increase of robocalls, cell phone companies are forced to buy more connections trunks to LEC, which drives their costs up with no additional revenue for them.

          One last point is, that even though robocalls are fly by night operations, long distance carriers are not. They are registered and regulated by FCC. There are about 10 to 12 well known long distance operators responsible for introducing robocall traffic to the phone network. These people advertise. If they are fined or closed the traffic would virtually stop.

          A colleague of mine, David Frankel, is running an initiative to stop robocalls: He has sued FCC for this, met with law makers, and testified before congress and senate. He is in the same area as author (SF) and would probably be available to help with explaining this issue in more details.

          1. Drew Scriver

            Re: Author is clueless

            Mostly accurate, but there are still budget phone plans (e.g. Ting Mobile) that charge on a tiered basis. Ergo, if the subscriber receives enough spam calls and/or text messages the plan jumps to the next tier.

            The subscriber thus pays real money for the spam calls.

      2. BlackFlag

        Re: Author is clueless

        They don't know who the call is actually from (as CID is trivial to spoof), but they do know where the call comes from (the previous hop in the call delivery). It's a pain in the ass to track a call down, and requires cooperation from the other carriers, who may not want to help prosecute their customers. They don't really care where the call originates, as they don't charge the caller, they charge the previous hop in the chain.

        What would ACTUALLY help is making changes to the POTS system so that call setup includes more detailed and accurate caller info, and requiring carriers to globally block calls that are known to be bad. Also good would be requiring auto-blocking of calls with obviously spoofed CIDs (an incoming international call with a New Jersey area code), or that are anonymous.

      3. rcoates

        Re: Author is clueless

        That's not how it works. The phone company on the receiving end only knows who made the call if it is a local call, because the call stays on their internal network.

        On a long distance call, there are at least 3 phone companies involved -- the originating local phone company, the long distance carrier, and the terminating local phone company.

        The Caller ID standard was invented a long time ago, before the breakup of the Bell System, and it was assumed at that time that the Caller ID info being received came from another part of the Bell System, which was a trusted source. There is no security built into Caller ID. That's why the recent proposals.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

      I think the issue is about land lines, not cell phones.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

        It categorically is not about land lines. I haven't had a land line at home in ages (at least, not one with an active phone attached), and my cell phone gets bombarded with spam calls. For that matter, so does my work land line. Robocallers have no way of discerning which number is a land line and which is a cell phone, they just bombard all numbers.

        1. el_oscuro

          Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

          Over on this side of the pond, it is definitely about land lines. We still have an "unlisted" one and it is relentlessly robocalled. It is to the point that we don't answer unless we know the caller.

          On the other hand, our cell phones have remained relatively robocall free.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

            On the other hand, our cell phones have remained relatively robocall free.

            Possibly because in the US a cell phone customer pays to receive calls, so robocalls are profit to the cell company. In Europe only the caller pays.

            1. rshpount

              Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

              This is due to costs. Calls to cell phones in Europe are order of magnitude more expensive then calls to land lines or calls to cell phones in US. The reason robocallers are not calling -- it is not economically viable.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Author is clueless

      If we're so wrong, can you email or the article author, Kieren, with specific sentences you think are incorrect, please? And we'll fix up any issues.

      PS: I've tweaked some of the language from your feedback. Thanks.


  10. Norman123

    They should find a way to reveal the real identity of the callers and allow people to bring class action suits against them. Hit them hard in the pocket. Set the attorneys loose on them. That will stop them all. $$$$ always work both ways....

  11. Herby

    Maybe the solution is...

    Put the sum of the fines in a year-end bonus pool for the agency that does the most to get rid of these. Financial incentives work quite well. No cost to the government. Everybody (except the spammers) wins.

  12. Fazal Majid

    Unlikely to be effective

    This will stop carriers from profiting off their own failure to implement SS7 and Caller ID security by charging consumers for anti-robocall services. It won’t stop the robocall scourge itself, as it is conducted by scam operators who are already criminals, mostly located offshore, and unlikely to comply with any fines levied.

  13. sbt

    The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

    If Pai had any shame, he'd see that vote for the searing indictment of his leadership of the FCC and his total failure to act so far that it is. However, I expect precisely nothing will change while he's in the chair.

    Mission Accomplished! seems to be the order of day; declare victory and go home.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

      I'm just happy it's a truly "bi-partisan" legislative victory for the people. So many congress-critters realized it needed to be done, and they just DID it. Slow clap for CON-GRAB.

      1. PapaD

        Re: The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

        Whats the CON-GRAB thing about

        (Asking as someone who genuinely doesn't understand what your trying to say)

        EDIT: Though, in hindsight, i'm wondering if you are trying to call out congress for being money grubbing politicians, much like the rest of them - so i still don't really see what you are trying to say.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

          Re: The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

          Don't try to understand bob, he's almost incapable of making a coherent point about politics. I say "almost" because there was that one time.

          1. Keven E

            Re: The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

            Three blind *mice... cowering in a corner... everyone pointing... laughing. #sad

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: The huge, almost unanimous 417-3 vote

      If Pai had any shame

      But he doesn't, that has been established beyond any reasonable doubt and with scientific certainty.

  14. Anon

    Big carrot

    If the wages of the head of the FCC came out of the fines, I suspect there would be a lot more fining going on.

  15. Rich 2 Silver badge


    If this bill was passed by congress with such an overwelming majority, then that suggests that they're a tad fed up of the FCC and its lack of action.

    In which case, why don't congress pass a law to make the FCC do their job (and chuck Ajit Pai in jail at the same time)? (rather than allowing it to carry on in a brazenly transparent corrupt way)

    1. Tom 35

      Re: FCC

      I expect they have just been bothered by Duct cleaning calls and your number was drawn and you won a free trip scams like everyone else.

  16. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Nomorobo is reasonably effective

    "It has been seven years since the problem of robocalls became so significant in America that the Federal Trade Commission offered a $50,000 cash prize to anyone that could come up with a way to block them. At the time the director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said that “the winner of our challenge will become a national hero,” highlighting just how infuriating it had become. The prize was eventually split between two companies."

    Nomorobo is one of the two companies which split the prize. Their service works pretty well. At least in the US, it's free for landlines/VOIP and somewhat reasonably priced for cell service (although, as mentioned in the article, it SHOULD be freely provided by the telcos). With Nomorobo, my robocalls dropped from >20/day down to <5/day. The only thing that service doesn't do that my cell phone does is block specific numbers - and my cell phone does that directly in the device rather than because of anything the telco/provider does. Some of my robocallers don't bother to spoof or change their numbers often so number blocking works against them for a time.

  17. Alterhase

    Some local telephone service provides do a pretty good job.

    I live in Silicon Valley and have Sonic as my land-line telephone service provider -- both a POTS line and a high-speed fiber (VOIP) line. Sonic does a pretty good job at blocking robocalls -- I get two to three "missed calls" (hangups without going to my answering machine) per day. One interesting thing is that my POTS line will ring and not go to the answering machine and then, a minute or two later, my VOIP line will ring, presumably the same robocaller.....

    But a couple of times per week, I get a Chinese language robocall on my AT&T cellphone. I have had the cellphone number since 1993 so it never belonged to a Chinese speaker....

  18. ma1010

    Fight the roboscammers' technology with technology.

    I use Extreme Call Blocker, which is set to route all numbers not white listed [or whatever the politically correct term is this week] to VM. Most scum callers don’t leave VMs, of course. For those who do, I use YouMail which is a nice VM package in general and warns “Scam Likely” for the usual “This is your credit card company” or “You won a free trip!" calls. It also transcribes voicemails so you can quickly see if it’s crap and just delete without wasting any time listening to their drivel.

  19. BlueCat49

    Not the FCC's Job

    It is NOT the FCC's responsibility to make laws or even exist. The "rules" any government agency makes can be enforced by the "barrel of a gun". Do you want that?

    Want to be really scared. Search for these two articles:

    List of special law enforcement units - Wikipedia, scroll down to your country and start worrying about being SWATted.

    From nationalreview .com

    The United States of SWAT?


    April 18, 2014

  20. Drew Scriver

    The SOLUTION to Spam/Scam Calls

    There is a solution to spam calls.

    If enough of us simply string the scammers along by playing along it won't be long before it will no longer be cost effective.

    I do this all the time when I get a spam call while driving (hands-free, of course). Spammers seem to be catching on, as they now routinely use a two-tiered system.

    The first person simply screens the call. Once they get the impression the caller is gullible enough for their ploy they transfer the call to another agent.

    In my experience it works best to sound like an elderly person. The scammers fall for it almost every time, and it's kind of fun - especially if you tell them a few minutes into the call (in a shaky voice, of course) that you just remembered something you heard in the news about these calls often being criminal. They tend to launch into a lengthy explanation on how they're fully trustworthy.

    Then you throw in all kinds of things an old lonely person might bring up, like how you're so glad somebody finally called and how much you enjoy talking to them. And throw in a sob story about your poodle.

    When I get home I just tell them it's time to go. It was soooo nice to talk to you, young man. Goodbye now. Call back soon.

    And I rejoice that they weren't able to scam an elderly person during the time I had them on the phone.

    1. jtaylor

      Re: The SOLUTION to Spam/Scam Calls

      Lovely way to deal with spam callers.

      I disagree with your priorities, though. When we're driving, Job One is to be safe and responsible. You're compromising that in order to talk with a nuisance. I hope nobody is injured as a result.

      (Hands-free has no effect on how we pay attention. The hands-free driving laws are just a way to Be Seen To Do Something without inconveniencing customers.)

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