Okay, now I'm pissed.

Just got a phone call from an unfamiliar number. It's in the same NPA-NXX as my mom's hospital, and she just had another surgery (her chest tube was removed), so I picked up.

I then heard my mom's voice - "Hello?"

Then the credit card spammer's recording cut in.

Fuckers are correlating numbers and voices to get people to pick up. They probably recorded me saying "Hi, mom?" if and when they call her.

@drwho That’s a whole new level of creepy…

@drwho how would a voice played after you pick up have any effect on you picking up though? Or staying on the line once you identify it as spam. If anything it feels counterproductive.
... It sounds even more fishy than spam.


Up front: I am not angry with you or yelling at you.

Because, the last time I ignored calls from strange Pennsylvania numbers, it was when my mom had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I ignored a half-dozen calls in less than a minute, and finally picked up, and :oh_no:

So, I don't want to do that again, because she's been back in the ER a couple of times since her surgery.

And hearing her voice makes me think "Oh, shit, what happened?"

And it winds up being a credit card scammer.

Does that make sense?

@drwho of course it makes sense.
I pick up every call because of the fear of something like that, I completely understand. I'm not wondering about your reaction.

I'm trying to understand what a spammer is achieving with the voice. I get the number. But the voice? Of course once you understand it's not your mother but spam/scam you hang up. How does that help their conversion rate? It feels so weird that I would suspect their ulterior motives, other than spam.

@signaleleven To be honest, I don't know. It's a total waste of time and energy on their end because the result's probably going to be the same: A hangup.

@drwho @signaleleven

once i got a call from someone with a thick accent who began by asking for the answers to my personal identification questions. i hung up immediately. he tried again a few minutes later; i hung up again. then i googled the number and found several credible references that said it was from the Australian Tax Office. i went through their phone jungle and eventually found they were auditing me. the original caller just had a really bad approach.

@Nikolai_Kingsley @signaleleven It's not a given. I got a couple of calls along those lines from other countries earlier this year, around tax time.

@drwho @thegibson holy shit, that’s seriously messed up. the telecom industry urgently needs to put an end to caller ID spoofing.

@amatecha @thegibson Or tell me who's doing this, because I'd like to perform a little corrective phrenology.

@drwho @amatecha @thegibson

> corrective phrenology.


in the Church of the Subgenius we call it "acubeating".

@drwho This needs to be reported to the FTC. I don't know if you're in the head space right now to do that, but if of when you can, it has to get out there that this is happening for anything to be done about it

@cypnk Local state AG's office also almost certainly fields complaints. For what good it might do.


@dredmorbius Yes, indeed. It may fall on deaf ears there, but this is inexcusable on every level and has to be dealt with as strongly as possible. At least there would be a paper trail @drwho

@cypnk I'll make a few phone calls and see if I can figure out who to get it to.

@djsundog @drwho

what sounds *very* worrying here is the Doctor says he heard his mums voice on the recording, that suggests the hospitals phone system is being intercepted to get that in the first place (and maybe they have other data on patients and relatives etc, possibly even an inside job from IT contractors of the hospital?)

We have the problem here that (some) hospitals don't present any caller ID (for genuine tech reasons) so spammers can make use of that..

@vfrmedia @djsundog I do not believe this to be the case.

I think that, however they got hold of both of our phone numbers, they correlated them into a pre-existing relationship (parent - child).

So, they probably called her up and recorded her saying "Hello?" The robocaller then went through its schpiel and was probably hung up on.

Then they called me with the recording of my mom's voice as the outbound greet. In the process, they recorded me saying "Hello?"

They probably used the recording of me to call her back at some point.

They're probably using both of those recordings to get through to other people. In the recent past I've gotten similar calls with unfamiliar voices.

As for a potential data breach, I always assume that data is out there unless I can prove it's not. I've no hope for or trust in data protection. Been doing security too long for that.

@drwho @djsundog

that makes sense (and shows a worrying level of determination by the scammers to match up peoples relationships).

In UK disgruntled employees in call centres have been sacked and arrested for selling on customer details to third parties; there's also loads of chancers trying to work out business relationships via LinkedIn and send the usual dodgy attachment emails. Currently their broken English gives them away, but I suspect it won't be long before locals try this >>

@drwho @djsundog

all it will take is a few more rounds of layoffs in local call centres/admin offices and angry ex-employees who have reasonable IT skills but also less morals (and maybe drugs habits to feed - I'm no prohibitionist (having been a raver throughout the 90s) but I've also seen at first hand what cravings or even just bad comedowns can do to peoples integrity...

@drwho People who do shit like that deserve nothing less than to suffer for the remainder of their lives.

@drwho I am very far past seriously questioning the utility of any direct-dialable telephony service: landline, VOIP, or mobile, for pretty much just this reason.

The telcos know this, and yet do nothing. I think they want to kill the service entirely themselves.


@dredmorbius I think that's what they're trying to do in Oakland. Our telecom infra out here is terrible. Poking around in a couple of local pedestals the wiring has not been taken care of in many years. Additionally, they've been busted open a couple of times and all of the punches are covered with years of spraypaint. I could go in there and clean it up, but it'd take days to un-punch every pair, sand down the wiring and the punch, and re-punch them.

I've also SE'd a couple of COs out here. Official word at the offices is that they want everyone to go cellular so they're not taking care of anything that isn't cellular related anymore.

@drwho The telcos know they're on thin ice:

[S]ince mid-2015, a consortium of engineers from phone carriers and others in the telecom industry have worked on a way to do [stop phone-number spoofing], worried that spam phone calls could eventually endanger the whole system. “We’re getting to the point where nobody trusts the phone network,” says Jim McEachern, principal technologist at the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS.) “When they stop trusting the phone network, they stop using it.”


@drwho oh my fucking god.

only a matter of time before the get-you-to-power-off-your-phone-for-"upgrades"-then-call-family-say-you-got-kidnapped-and-demand-random folks learn that

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A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.