Spam telephone calls to a landline?
January 22, 2014 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I have been getting many spam telephones to my landline (VOIP). Any suggestions on what authorities to contact?

About 5 or more spoofed-number pishing calls a day. I have a block list I can and do add the numbers to, but of course these are spoofed and I need to add new numbers to the list everyday. The FCC "do not call" list does not work with these calls since the callers do not give a shit and are originating from India. I have reported some of the numbers I could identify with an actual entity to the FCC. To keep reporting every new number would become a full time job. Of course, we do not pick up the calls.

Who can I contact about this? I would like to complain to some authority so they might consider pursuing some law or regulation about it. My own internet provider (Oceanic Time/Warner) will not/cannot do anything.
posted by wandering_not_lost to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
do you answer each time? In our house we only answer the phone if we recognise the number, otherwise we let it go to voicemail. Since doing that the amount of spam phone calls has gone down over time.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:31 PM on January 22, 2014

We also have had to screen calls. I deeply regret the inability of NoCall to function. If I absent- mindedly pick up the phone and hear "The FBI says there is crime in your neighbirhood" I immediately hang up. Does anyone have any ideas for stymieing the caller? Would it deter them if I continued the connection and thus tied up their phone? We do not pay for phone service to implement some cheapo's advertising, and I wonder how this annoying type of advertising can be profitable.
posted by Cranberry at 12:47 PM on January 22, 2014

We do have caller ID, so we do not pick up calls we do not recognize. A lot of the numbers are spoofed (faked) and caller ID identifies them at originating from Kentucky, cell phones from Iowa, etc.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 12:51 PM on January 22, 2014

Honestly trying to get somebody to do something is going to be a colossal waste of your time. Spoofing caller ID numbers is already illegal. Does your VoIP have some sort of white list function? I'd put friends and family on the white list and send everything else to voice mail without even ringing.
posted by COD at 12:59 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh that FBI says there is crime in your neighborhood one -- I asked to speak to a representative and I quizzed them fiercely, a la "Cite your sources!" and "No I mean specifically MY NEIGHBORHOOD, that's what you said when I picked up the phone" and "How DARE you fearmonger like this!" and they hung up on me and never called back.
posted by janey47 at 1:01 PM on January 22, 2014

I recently heard on NPR (?) that one of the two winners to the of the FTC Robocall Challenge now offers a blocking service. It's free for individuals and a pay-for service for businesses. They mentioned you'd give up some privacy because of how it works.

The two Robocall Challenge winners are listed in the link.
posted by tinker at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

What is "Oceanic Time/Warner" -- is that a typo and should say Time Warner? Because I have Time Warner Cable and if you log into your online account, you can block certain phone numbers from calling you, you can set up special rings, etc. all for your landline. The special ring is really nice because we always know when it's a family member or someone we want to talk to calling. Personally, if I don't hear a special ring, I don't even pick it up sometimes. But if you get repeat junk calls, you can add them to your blocked list.

The web address is The direct link to phone settings is this.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:21 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

i'm not handy enough with electrical circuits to do this myself, but why doesn't someone come up with a little gizmo you could attach to the mic in your mouthpiece that would transmit the loudest pulse ever heard over a phone line? ideally, it would sound like a toddler being eaten by a komodo dragon.
posted by bruce at 2:46 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sadly, Bruce, that's very likely illegal.

Short of redesigning the telephone system from scratch, there's nothing your supplier can do. There's no-one to prosecute: spoofed IDs, VOIP switched through who-knows-where, plus the complexity of international law makes this too much trouble to go after.
posted by scruss at 3:03 PM on January 22, 2014

Just get an air horn.
posted by Slinga at 3:55 PM on January 22, 2014

These spammers who spend all day on the phone usually wear a headset.

Answer the phone, but speak very very softly, so they have to turn up their volume to hear you.

Then hit 'em with the air horn.
posted by xedrik at 9:05 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Phones don't have a whole lot of dynamic range, so the air horn, while satisfying, probably isn't going to do much.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:13 PM on January 22, 2014

Whitelisting is a great Idea... anything not on the whitelist gets an IVR / voicemail that starts with ~ 0.2 seconds of "Number unavailable" tone, so that robocallers think the number is not in use, hence gets taken off the SPIT list (SPam over Internet Telephony) for a while in the hope that it'll make them more efficient.
posted by dirm at 3:17 AM on January 24, 2014

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