Phone Numbers are Dead

prepaid cell number = incessant robocalls and wrong numbers T_T

America sounds like a terrible place to live.


It has its pros and cons. Just like any other place. One may reasonably argue the merits of the pros and cons vs. any other modern, industrial country.

Oh I got the Chinese one recently. It’s scammers calling Chinese emigrees with some variation on they’ve been accused of some vague crime in China unless they pay up to some (fake) government office in China they’re gonna have their passport revoked and get arrested and deported and go to prison in China or something along those lines.

I got the robot IRS call on my voicemail once.

None of you do customer support for old people. There are so many people who don’t have email or have been so scared about email scams/spam that they don’t give their email address to anyone, and it’s the only way they have of reaching out for help with stuff.


This is why the robocalls are so heavily targeting the elderly and landlines. They are the primary demographic that receives important information via phone, and some of these articles imply the majority of all phone calls they receive are scams.

The “this is your grandchild, I need cash” scam is really common. So is “this is your doctor, we need your SSN to verify before we give you your test results.”

I think this might be a US problem - I get maybe one unwanted or marketing call every six months or so, and it’s usually from a company I do business with already, like my bank trying to sell me insurance, or my phone company(or rather, my prior phone company) calling me around contract time going “Hey hey, want to upgrade your plan, it’s good times, come on, you know you wanna.” Most people I know haven’t had an unwanted or robocall for months if not years.

Let’s find out.

this survey is going to have a sampling problem


From what I know (since I dealt with telco in a past life), it is a problem primarily in the US for phone calls, and in the developing world for IM/SMS.

The US problem is due to how phone calls are actually paid for. There are areas of the US, where for reasons (mostly related to rural depopulation) it is cheap to the point of being free to initiate calls. Whole companies set up telco routing centers in these rural locales to make last-mile calls initiated over the Internet from foreign operations centers.

Tangentially… Having spent ~8 years at a telco… though in a programming capacity… there’s definitely a lot of toll fraud and “least cost routing” bullshit in the US. Boy is it weird that out there exists some guy in Jamaica who just wants to find passwords to sip phones or some-such and have them endlessly on long distance calls. One of our customers was a ticket scalper that wanted local numbers everywhere and “a giant block of ips that are also used by regular consumer customers.” Basically so they could spoof to buy all the tickets. At least as far as we knew we hadn’t given that to them…

Yeah, the “least cost routing” thing is amazing. It’s also why many rural calls fail to connect despite “ringing.” It’s cheaper to fail to connect the call then to let it complete depending on the location. -_-

Well even under current anti-robocall laws, organizations that you have had a prior business relationship with are exempt from the do-not-call list.

While I find getting a call from my bank or whatever somewhat annoying, at least they typically don’t do it all that often (I assume because they don’t want to risk pissing me off so much they lose me as a customer), so I let it slide. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got an unsolicited call from my bank or any other similar businesses I use. It’s the robocalls from people/companies/organizations I’ve never heard of, whether legit or scam, whether in a language I speak or not, that annoy me.

AFAIK, most robocalls in the US are illegal ones that ignore the DNC list.

These aren’t banks upselling or whatever. They’re just naked scams. They’re directly illegal.

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One of the worst examples of a robocalling asshole was for a Massachusetts-based company that pressure washes houses. When told that he was going to be reported to the appropriate authorities, he’d often respond with threats of violence, claims to be buddies with the local sheriff, and so on. I admit to have gotten robocalls from this jackass on my landline, but always when I was away from home, so he only left messages advertising his services.

Oh, and even better, it looks like he’s some sort of Sovereign Citizen who claims that the do-not-call list is “unconstitutional” and “passed under martial law.”

So, uh, I read that article this morning and have gotten 4 or 5 robo calls today. Normally I get about one or two a week. Correlation? Causation? Coincidence?

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Hiya definitely works. Nomorobo not so much. Even when I had that app deliberately working in the background, I still got robo calls.

Since I’m currently initiating the process of moving across an ocean. Keeping my current cell phone number is a non trivial problem. There’s a few solutions, and none “just work” or even “pay money and it just works”. Google voice seems to be the best option, where you get a google voice number (I’ve had mine for a decade so it’s easy to memorize) and you can tell google to route calls and texts to that number to whatever device you like and change what device that is at your lesure. It’s not the same as keeping my number but it’s basically keeping my backup number.

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