Like a lot of folks, I got a robo call asking to donate as little of $3 to Romney's campaign. The call came from 202-730-9976. Of course, it is a bogus number. I am curious if there are any knowledgeable folks here who understand how the number that displays on Caller ID gets into the pike at the beginning and then gets handed off to a subsequent entity the might be carrying the call. Do subsequent entities have to accept the reported originating number? Are they any controls at the origin end to prevent bogus numbers from being accepted by the first switch that handles the call? How does the Caller ID number jive with all the other information that is needed to distribute the revenue among all the parities that carried or handled all or part of the call? (Are folks getting cheated out of their revenues?) There is a chain-of-custody process here and I wonder it is so full holes that should be abandon caller ID anyway? It has become like disguised junk mail. The packaging looks interesting enough to open, and then once opened you learn that it is junk.
Caller-ID is an informational data carried along with the call. It is separate from ANI, which is the data used for billing. Caller-ID data can be supplied by the originating PBX or even VoIP phone.
ANI is supplied by the originating LEC, but is typically not as precise. Ie. for my block of DIDs, I can set the outbound callerID to any number in my range, but if I don't, the ANI is picked up and used, which is the set by my LEC to be the my first DID. ANI is what is used for billing purposes of which LEC terminates the call and the reprocity aggrements within.
ANI typically stays within the phone companies, it usually isn't presented to the end user (unless they have 1-800 service, or something else billing sensitive to the calling data). Other than my example if my PBX doesn't push calling-ID out, then the LEC adds in their IE with my ANI as the calling-ID info.
As I mentioned, my LEC filters what I can send as calling-ID info, but many other LECs don't, especially the iLECs. When I had PRI trunks with the iLEC I could send any data out I wanted.
Also, many VoIP carriers have negotiated with the LECs in each of their service areas to be able to provide calling-ID, so that their customers can present their VoIP individual number out their PRI trunks. It wouldn't do to have VoIP service, and every single one of the VoIP service customers has calling-ID data showing up as the first DID that the VoIP carrier has.
But, many VoIP carriers aren't as strict to filter calling-ID data to make sure it is correct and valid. Some services let the end-subscriber supply whatever they want with no further filtering. Some have a control panel that lets you set your data there. Others lock it to your DID for your VoIP service and don't let you modify it in any fashion.
(won't bother getting into the CNAM database, not too relavent here).
I guess personally, that the junk calls I get all have empty caller-ID or something like 'Out of Area', so they are easy enough to ignore. Unfortunately, many cell-phone carriers don't bother putting in useful callerID for their customers (T-Mobile of old, and AT&T do, but I probably get more cell-phone calls from friends that lack it and have generic CNAM data for their phone #s).
I don't think it is too broken, it is useful. There is some abuse of it, and there are laws that try to fix some of the more blatent abuse. (ie. Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009).
But it was never designed to be very secure, with much of the data coming from end-user run PBXs (besides the LEC sending their single-line customers data onwards).
I don't know enough to speak to the specifics, but from experience:
- When I make outgoing calls from my iPod via the "Bria" app over WiFi, I spoof my home landline number so that when the phone rings on the other end they see that it's me calling.
That is a service provided free-of-charge by my VOIP provider - so it must be easily available to the telemarketing industry.
- The Do Not Call lists are fading into irrelevancy bco VOIP, offshore telemarketers, and other technical stuff.
I used to report telemarketing calls to the Penna Do Not Call list enforcers, but all I have gotten back in recent years are lame-sounding letters on how it's too hard to go after these guys. National DNC, I've reported to also, but never received a response.
- If you fire up Google and search on "Who Is" plus the offending phone number you can often get confirmation that it's perpetrators are up to no good.
For instance, among the hits for "Who Is 202-730-9976", was
which contained: "Got robocall 10:33am from someone soliciting donations for Mitt Romney saying please donate as little as $3 because Obama out raised Romney in August. Press 1 to donate, 9 to unsubscribe. A few days ago got a call from another Washington D C number from Mike Huckabee. We are not Republicans. Caller: Donate to Romney Campaign Call Type: Political Call"
- In anticipation of the election season, I have pre-pended the SIT tones for "Non-working Number" to my answering machine's message.
I don't really expect it to help, but maybe... just *maybe* some of the ironically computers will recognize it and delete the number from their database.
I think the chances of this happening are between zero and a very, very, vary small number... but it didn't cost me anything....
- One of my fond wishes is that one or more stand-up comedians line Jay Leno will start making jokes at the expense of people who are foolish enough to listen to *any* telemarketing call... especially political ones... My hope would be that it might affect the cost/benefit ratio...
It was from an era where there was one Telephone Company in an area. The thinking was there were 2 classes: Telcos to be trusted explictly; and outsiders, never to be trusted. Then there were CLEC's and the model broke.