Apple teaming with AT&T, FCC, Google in 'strike force' to battle robocalls

Posted:
in iPhone
After a call by U.S. Federal Communications Commission's commissioner, Apple and 32 other companies are banding together to make an industry-wide organized resistance against the expanding "robocall" scourge.




The FCC "Industry-Led Robocall Strike Force" is holding its first meeting in Washington D.C on Friday morning. AT&T CEO and strike force director Randall Stephenson is expected to detail the effort at some point Friday following the meeting.

The strike force is expected to report back to the commission with "concrete plans" on how to combat the automated call services on Oct. 19. No specific deadline for implementation of any such developed plan is known.

Apple, Google, and AT&T are three companies associated with the program. At this time, the identities other 30 companies involved in the effort are not yet known.

Apple has rudimentary blocking features in iOS. If a callers on a user's block list dials, the user is not presented with a notification of the call, nor with the phone ring.

However, at present in iOS, there is no wide-reaching "black list" feature, where known "robocallers" are blocked by default. Users can implement a de facto "white list" work-around with the "Do not disturb" feature, and selectively allow only users in the "favorites" or in specific defined group to ring the phone.

In July, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he had spoken with major wireless carriers to expand carrier-level call-blocking services to users at no cost. Friday's meeting with the "strike force" appears to be in response to that call to arms.
dysamoria
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    Will miss talking to Sally from my credit card company. She calls often to tell me everything is fine.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    I can't believe how many of these I get in a week. I thought it was just me getting them. Thankfully they are doing something about it.
    latifbpdysamoriacully
  • Reply 3 of 43
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    I get tons of these a week. it's absurd. I don't even answer the phone anymore unless it's a contact. 
    nottylerdurdenlatifbppscooter63dysamoriaoseamecully
  • Reply 4 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,106member
    There's no need for any of this and collusion between the private sector and government to share data cannot result in anything good. Ever.

    Problem number one: One of the biggest robocall sources, political ads, are ALREADY LEGALLY PROTECTED and cannot be blocked, because political speech is protected!

    My solution has been extremely effective. I have no landline and any call from a number not in my iPhone's address book will go unanswered and is immediately blocked.
    edited August 2016 cyberzombiebignoivadtallest skilbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 43
    mobiusmobius Posts: 377member
    If a callers on a user's block list dials, the user is not presented with a notification of the call, nor with the phone ring.
    Any chance you could re-write this sentence so it makes sense?
    pscooter63dysamorianoivad
  • Reply 6 of 43
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 710member
    I've had the same cell number for over ten years. It's the only number I have, so a lot of people and businesses have it. I usually go weeks without a single robocall. Some weeks, however, I might get two or three a day for a day or two.

    I notice a dramatic increase in unwanted calls if:

    1. I answer the call - whether or not anything is said by either party.
    2. If I ask to be removed from their calling list.
    3. If I have a custom voicemail greeting.

    Simply ignoring all calls that I can't identify or am not expecting and using the generic voicemail greeting seems to be very effective at minimizing the calls. The Do Not Call registry seems to have little to no effect.
    cwingravdocno42palominebigrob55baconstangdysamoria
  • Reply 7 of 43
    Blocking numbers doesn't work. Most calls are coming from spoofed numbers. I've had people call me because they got one of these calls from my number because it was spoofed.

    If it comes from outside my country I don't answer it. If it comes from outside my state there's a 50% chance I will answer it.

    If you answer the call but don't say anything, the robot call will hang up after a few seconds, a real person will say "...hello?"

    I've wondered what would happen if I would play the recorded the sound of a fax machine attempting to connect when they call. I don't know if their software is sophisicated enough to deem my number as a fax line and not call it anymore.

    Anyone have a dedicated fax line that gets robo calls?

    cwingravpscooter63stantheman
  • Reply 8 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member
    You know it's not that big of a problem for me.  My iPhone's number is on the Fed No call list and I dutifully report any I get that I shouldn't.  I only  get the exclusions i.e. charities and political calls other than a few that shouldn't call and as I say I report them.  The handy option to decline on the iPhone takes care of the charities (of which the vast majority are scams as we all know)  and the political begging calls fast enough.  My rule of thumb is 'ID blocked me no answer.'  Add in macOS Sierra's Mail's massively improved Junk filtering, I'm a happy camper.
    big
  • Reply 9 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member
    Blocking numbers doesn't work. Most calls are coming from spoofed numbers. I've had people call me because they got one of these calls from my number because it was spoofed.

    If it comes from outside my country I don't answer it. If it comes from outside my state there's a 50% chance I will answer it.

    If you answer the call but don't say anything, the robot call will hang up after a few seconds, a real person will say "...hello?"

    I've wondered what would happen if I would play the recorded the sound of a fax machine attempting to connect when they call. I don't know if their software is sophisicated enough to deem my number as a fax line and not call it anymore.

    Anyone have a dedicated fax line that gets robo calls?

    Decades ago (when faxes still existed lol) I had that issue but now I use a digital fax service remotely (i.e. no physical fax this end or dedicated line required) run through Safari it's never been an issue.  For sending I use a SnapScan for physical paper or print to PDF on the Mac and the same service sends the PDFs
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 10 of 43
    I think the bigger issue is a phone system that allows call spoofing. 
    bignolamacguyspacekiddysamoriaroundaboutnowjax44tallest skilbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 11 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member

    zroger73 said:
    I've had the same cell number for over ten years. It's the only number I have, so a lot of people and businesses have it. I usually go weeks without a single robocall. Some weeks, however, I might get two or three a day for a day or two.

    I notice a dramatic increase in unwanted calls if:

    1. I answer the call - whether or not anything is said by either party.
    2. If I ask to be removed from their calling list.
    3. If I have a custom voicemail greeting.

    Simply ignoring all calls that I can't identify or am not expecting and using the generic voicemail greeting seems to be very effective at minimizing the calls. The Do Not Call registry seems to have little to no effect.
    I'm on the same page as you.  One trick that's started just recently is I've seen is a call comes in from a local number, so I answer and either a charming male or female voice, on an exceptionally clear line, asks if I can hear them ok.  I've experimented with this.  The AI being used is very sophisticated and could easily fool people into thinking it is a real person.  If I've time to kill I'll keep the AI chatting for a while just seeing how clever it is.  Next time I'm asking either what the meaning of life is or for the first two million digits in calculating Pi and see if that old saw from Star Trek works and fries its brain.
    edited August 2016 big
  • Reply 12 of 43
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,304member

    I've wondered what would happen if I would play the recorded the sound of a fax machine attempting to connect when they call. I don't know if their software is sophisicated enough to deem my number as a fax line and not call it anymore.


    Good point.  I have a printer with a fax built into it, and I can remotely activate a manual receive.  I'll have to remember this the next time I'm foolish to answer a call from a number I don't recognize and get a robocaller.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,593member
    Blocking numbers doesn't work. Most calls are coming from spoofed numbers. I've had people call me because they got one of these calls from my number because it was spoofed.

    If it comes from outside my country I don't answer it. If it comes from outside my state there's a 50% chance I will answer it.

    If you answer the call but don't say anything, the robot call will hang up after a few seconds, a real person will say "...hello?"

    I've wondered what would happen if I would play the recorded the sound of a fax machine attempting to connect when they call. I don't know if their software is sophisicated enough to deem my number as a fax line and not call it anymore.

    Anyone have a dedicated fax line that gets robo calls?

    Yup, robot faxes. 
  • Reply 14 of 43
    There's already a solution to this for landlines: nomorobo.com, which has completely stopped all robocalls to my home phone. They are working on providing the same service to mobile phones, but ironically, AT&T is a holdout and the service is not available on their network. I have sent a complaint to AT&T which was not even acknowledged.
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Blocking numbers doesn't work. Most calls are coming from spoofed numbers. I've had people call me because they got one of these calls from my number because it was spoofed.

    If it comes from outside my country I don't answer it. If it comes from outside my state there's a 50% chance I will answer it.

    If you answer the call but don't say anything, the robot call will hang up after a few seconds, a real person will say "...hello?"

    I've wondered what would happen if I would play the recorded the sound of a fax machine attempting to connect when they call. I don't know if their software is sophisicated enough to deem my number as a fax line and not call it anymore.

    Anyone have a dedicated fax line that gets robo calls?

    We had one at work that we finally needed to just unplug. The robo callers were collecting fax numbers and then faxing ads to all the machines they found. So it was a waste of power, paper, and toner to have the thing plugged in.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    Can't wait to stop this madness!
    dysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 43
    nomorobo.com works great. Probably close to 99% of all unwanted calls are intercepted. My phone rings once and stops. It's funded by the government and free. I can't believe more people don't know about it. 
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Let's waste the scammer's time and frustrate him. If a scammer's robocall program thinks it has a live person on the phone it hands the call over to the live scammer. But if you can trick their robocall program into thinking a live person picked up the phone on our end then their robocall program hands the call over to their live scammer and instead of talking to a real live person, HE now ends up talking to a robovoice in return. It's payback.
    baconstang
  • Reply 19 of 43
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 478member
    mobius said:
    If a callers on a user's block list dials, the user is not presented with a notification of the call, nor with the phone ring.
    Any chance you could re-write this sentence so it makes sense?
    Even if it is not 100% grammatically correct (and I'm not saying it isn't), it still makes perfect sense. Maybe English is not your first language so let me explain. On the iPhone you have the option to block a phone number. If a caller is on your block list and they call you, you (the user) will not get any sort of notification about that call (your phone won't ring, you won't see a missed call notification and I don't think they get to even leave a message.) AppleInsider managed to say all of that in one sentence though! I block these calls all the time but with VOIP dialing now, they have so many numbers to route a call through that it barely makes a difference. Glad that the these companies are working to stop it. 
    tallest skil
  • Reply 20 of 43
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 478member

    scamman said:
    Let's waste the scammer's time and frustrate him. If a scammer's robocall program thinks it has a live person on the phone it hands the call over to the live scammer. But if you can trick their robocall program into thinking a live person picked up the phone on our end then their robocall program hands the call over to their live scammer and instead of talking to a real live person, HE now ends up talking to a robovoice in return. It's payback.
    There used to be a phone number you could call and it had a voice that sounded like someone was listening and then make up crazy scenarios like a bee landing on your arm. I would conference call in the computer and then mute my phone and listen to the fun. It must have been costing him a lot to keep the service running as he has now made it a paid service but you can try and see if it is still working (from http://jollyrogertelephone.com/how-to-send-your-telemarketers-to-this-robot/):

    1. Press “add call”
    2. Dial my robot at 214-666-4321. While you’re dialing, keep chatting into your phone like you’re trying to get Mr. Jones (“yeah – phone for you”, “okay, he’s coming hang on…”, etc)
    3. Press “Add call” or “Merge call” or “Conference” or whatever will add the robot to the conversation.
    4. MUTE YOURSELF so your background noise doesn’t affect the conversation.
    5. Listen to the call, and hang up when the telemarketer hangs up.
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