What is Utah doing about illegal, annoying robocalls, telemarketing scams?

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  • kc-guy Provo, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 2:17 p.m.

    This is an easy fix at the federal level. In order for the carrier to allow a spoofed number, you must have signed permission from the owner of the number, who will be held responsible for any DNC violations.

    This lets call centers continue displaying their client's number when making a call, and business can continue to display their main number instead of a personal extension.

    But the states can't fix this, it's interstate and international trade-- outside of their jurisdiction.

    While we're at it, let's remove politician's ability to violate the DNC list.

  • Ivans ,
    Dec. 15, 2018 1:09 a.m.

    The state is incompetent and can not take meaningful steps to curb these unwanted calls. I get a lot of calls regarding pyramid schemes into my office and then when I go to home there are many recorded ones and it makes me sick to delete them and miss important ones at the same time. But what are you going to blame when you can easily get a fake identity card online, if you search on Google for the term fake id website many websites pop up one for instance is fakeyourid.com and you can get Utah state fake id from them for a hundred dollars. Then once you obtain that piece of fake plastic you can easily impersonate yourself as someone else if you have their information. Moreover, you can also verify yourself as a native of Utah state and make people fall for your scam or fraudulent schemes.

  • Justin M Roseville, CA
    Dec. 12, 2018 3:52 p.m.

    A few more tips....

    Don't put your business card into fishbowls for prize drawings. Nothing is given away for free.

    Don't send/text/call survey responses. Businesses are more interested in getting your contact information than they are in improving service. That's just a way to establish a "business relationship"... after all, you contacted them of your own choice.

    Freeze your credit. You'll be AMAZED at how much your mail goes down in volume, and sales calls drop. The credit bureaus make money selling your info to other businesses.

    Some states mandate an annual privacy statement with options to ensure your info is not sold to other entities (to varying degrees). Use it!

    Don't freely give out your phone number to get a better deal or discount. Ask for the sale price without giving that info. If you absolutely must have it, then give a fake one. (yes, you might miss out on food safety recalls and emailed coupons, but it's sad that you have to pay for privacy.) Or use a google phone number that is disposable.

    Don't leave your name in your voice mail, and say you don't answer calls from people that don't show on your contact list, unless they leave a message.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 2:14 p.m.

    You have the world in your shirt pocket. No other age has had such power of communications.

    And spoofers have ruined it.

    I work with a YSA group. If they don't already have your number in their system, they don't answer. They don't listen to the voice mail. They delete your text.

    Why? Because spoofers have conditioned them to think everyone else is a call to sell you something or trick you.

    Such power squandered.

    Government will never fix it. IF they can track you down, they'll fine you a million bucks and get themselves a headline. But 100 more will spring up because they know Uncle Sam is inept.

    Reyes is wasting his time and our money.

  • CKS007 Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:16 a.m.

    I'd also like to chime in on the "helpful people" who are calling in to fix your computer or someone from the IRS calling you about a tax bill.

    This is a form of hacking called Social Engineering. Usually people want to be helpful to others so when you hear someone on the phone trying to "help" you, you may want to take some caution. The people calling you may have ulterior motives.

    The IRS nor any tech company will call you out of the blue to help or to tell you of a legal issue. Banks and government agencies usually send you a letter by postal mail stating that there is an issue. In the 20 years I've been working for tech companies, none of them have ever called a customer at home to assist with an issue. Usually they respond to your issue when you call them.

    Be wary of anyone who wants access to your computer. Be wary of anyone who wants to you pay for a bill when they call you. Especially if they say they take payments in gift cards.

    Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

  • CKS007 Clearfield, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    You don't need an expensive app to block calls.

    What I've done is placed everyone that I want to receive calls from in my Google contacts (with picture of the person, notes of who they are "Son's band teacher" etc.) so when they call me, their information pops up on my screen. When I get a new Android phone, the contacts automatically transfer to the new phone when I sign in.

    Then when I get a call that is not in my contacts, it only shows the number and location (sometimes "Scam Likely" will pop up from the service provider). Since I don't know who it is, I let it go to voicemail. 99 times out of 100, no one leaves a voicemail. Those that do leave a voicemail gives me the option to respond or not. If it's something important, I'll respond to it. If it's a number I need to save, I add it to the contacts.

    If I get a call too many times from one number that isn't leaving me voicemails (or is that indicates that it is someone trying to sell me something) I can block the number in my Android phone (a basic feature).

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:54 a.m.

    I am with the people who simply dont answer my phone if the caller isnt in my contacts. If the call is truly legit (my dentist or some such) they will leave a message.

    And to repeat. You did NOT win a car in a contest you never entered. There is NOT a prince in Nigeria trying to give you a million dollars for helping him. And Microsoft doesnt call you to 'fix' your computer*.

    *I am pretty sure 'we the' was being factious.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:52 a.m.

    Thanks Sean Reyes. This is a problem that needs fixing. If I don't receive a robocall before noon, I wonder if my phone is working.

  • zettabyte Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 7:52 p.m.

    I wish this article delved into some technical details a little more, perhaps interviewing telephone network engineers or others with deep technical understanding of the problem and possible solutions out there. The reality is, unless we can–at a technological level–stop caller ID spoofing, then we can't _really_ solve the problem of phone scams and illegal robocalling (regardless of what the government declares illegal).

    I've proposed that the phone system needs to be updated to work using public-key cryptographic certificates with a central set of "Certificate Authorities" (CAs) much like the web uses. These certificates should be used to authenticate all metadata (caller ID) provided with the phone call itself.

    I'm not normally a "central authority" proponent (prefer web-of-trust) but pragmatically, I recognize that the web's system has worked better than what we've now got now with our phone system. There are modifications I'd make, but there are real technological solutions out there. The government's role should be to light a fire under the industry (which should be regulated) to actually try to solve the underlying problem, not put bandages on the symptoms.

  • SGNat St. George, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 7:10 p.m.

    WeThePeople and others, BEWARE of anyone that wants to take control of your computer unless it is a paid tech support service that you researched and subscribe to, or you initiated the call to a bank or software program, etc. Especially if they mention Microsoft. I'll bet you a donut they are NOT a Microsoft employee, but a scam trying to trick you into giving them access to your computer.
    If you store your account passwords on the computer, such as an Excel spreadsheet, password protect access to that file. (It's on the File tab, or search the help.)

    "Just the other day, a nice young man from Microsoft called my wife. I would never have known that my computer had been hacked, but he showed her how to fix it over the phone!"

  • crimendelsiglo Schenectady, NY
    Dec. 11, 2018 6:40 p.m.

    hey, i just emptied the "spam" in my gmail.
    gmail determined that 16 "callers" aka senders were spamming.
    gone ! with one click.

    these senders even had "names" that i didn't recognize and would not have opened any way; gmail just shoved them aside into a folder that gmail would clean for me after 30 days !

    communications can stop spamming, annoying call

    still, i'm not going to wait for t-mobile to help me.

    i'll just continue deleting calls that do not leave a message.
    like i've been doing for years.

  • crimendelsiglo Schenectady, NY
    Dec. 11, 2018 6:23 p.m.

    i simply do not ever answer my fone or cell fone if no familiar name is displayed.
    difficult for that on a cell fone.
    but why ? if it can be done on a wired fone ................ then on a cell fone.
    my recorded message say i will not answer an unidentified number that does not leave a message.
    and i don't.
    if a message is left then i am responsible for what i do and what happens next.

    do not answer calls that do not "identify" a person known to you.

    believe me you are not that famous or important that i am sitting on tacks waiting for YOU to little ol' me.

    no message, no pick up

  • Susan Quinton Draper, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 6:13 p.m.

    Our biggest robocaller is the school district, and they are “legal”. Once I was on a business trip and they called me nine times at 2 am to remind me of the photos being taken that day at school. I politely asked them to block my number and take it off their lists, but they refuse. Sigh.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 6:04 p.m.

    If I rent a house, the owner of that house can not let others use it at their discretion. The same principle should hold true for my phone (along with MY phone number). So when the phone company, or any other entity sells phone lists with my number on it, it should be against the law, period!

  • SLCMom Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 4:11 p.m.

    For the past 2 years, my cell number has been used as a "spoof" number for a "you've won a sweepstakes!" roboscam. So, I get all of these people calling me back to ask about their prize. I've had to let everything go to voicemail with a recording letting them know my phone number is being spoofed and this is NOT a number for their fake prize. It's maddening. I refuse to change MY number that I've had for the past 20+ years just because of some creepy criminal out there. I wish the FCC - or the phone company - or anyone! - could find a way to prevent this from being possible!

  • baerman Draper, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 4:05 p.m.

    There’s an app out there that I saw featured on a news site that blocks calls. Sure it costs $$, but I’d rather pay them than have the government do it. Look up the robo killer app. It’s been good so far!

  • robin138 springfield, VA
    Dec. 11, 2018 4:06 p.m.

    Requiring cellular carriers to grant unlimited call auto-blocking to consumers would fix this issue. I believe the carrier we use allows our family a total of 20 "free" blocks.

  • MabelPines Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 3:06 p.m.

    Oh Justin M, your simple, inexpensive and probably effective ideas don't have a place in The Government. They couldn't justify throwing $800 million at themselves to use an idea like that.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:46 p.m.

    Oh, for the days of the old west where the sheriff and posse could track down those guilty of heinous crimes and find a convenient tree. Sadly such a fate is illegal for these scam callers... even though scam robocalls are also illegal.

    A more entertaining solution, if you are patient enough to get a real person is to tell them "That sounds really interesting, hang on while I get a pen to write stuff down..." and just put the phone down and walk away for a while. Or, keep a whistle or air horn near the phone and as soon as you know it is one of "them" give them an earful. (And hope you don't get sued.)

    I hope government agencies can put a stop to these pests soon!

  • B-Real2 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:34 p.m.

    Calling? Sure. Make them go away. Get rid of the political texts and fundraising texts! Texts now overtaking calls on my phone.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:27 p.m.

    "WeThePeople" Fact is, your right to peddle your goods ends at my property line, whether you come knocking at my door, or ringing endlessly on my phone. I have a right to post a No Solicitors sign on my door; I have a right to prohibit those same shuysters or their kin, from disruping the peace and quiet of my home by ringing my phone day in and day out.

  • WeThePeople Sandy, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:24 p.m.

    No! Not only are these businessmen providing a valuable public service, but they help people who need it.

    Just the other day, a nice young man from Microsoft called my wife. I would never have known that my computer had been hacked, but he showed her how to fix it over the phone!

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:24 p.m.

    It's gotten to the point that I just don't answer my phone anymore. And please can we stop talking about what the founding father might or might not have thought about machines capable of dialing tens of thousands of numbers per minute. They could scarcely imagine such a thing, and any guess as to what they might have deemed appropriate action is simply guessing.

  • Yuge Opportunity Here Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:01 p.m.

    I have followed the FTC complaint process, and found it to be nothing more than therapy for the angry taxpayer. There is currently no way to effectively prosecute a spoofed call.

    Let us face the fact that these callers have us over a barrel. They are not likely to obey Do Not Call rules. They will claim to be your bank or Microsoft with impunity.

    So, this effort is great for a Reyes political brochure, but can never be effective.

    Speaking of politics, Reyes is too kind to himself. We don't want political robocalls any more than we want Medicare supplement robocalls. You may think you are in a separate category...but alas, you are not.

  • Justin M Roseville, CA
    Dec. 11, 2018 2:04 p.m.

    If a telecommunications company is allowed to start charging money for each call to those systems that generate more than X calls in a time period, that will stop it cold.

    If a telecommunications company is able to freely be sued or substantially penalized when it doesn't stop the calls from those frequent calling numbers, that will also shut it down.

    The alternative to that is to tell me that telecommunications companies don't have the billing or security expertise to stop the abuse of their systems. And I really refuse to believe that!

    As it stands, the telecommunications companies have the imprimatur of "business as usual" when there is legal language protecting them from lawsuits.

    When there's a will, there's a way.

    Start by writing to your representative in Congress and share their responses widely. Don't just write to the FCC where Mr. Pai (ex Verizon General Counsel) is pro-industry. Then start reminding them of their job and lack of action, particularly as it gets close to election time.

    Don't let them defer to the FCC, as it operates under the authority of congress.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 1:34 p.m.

    It seems that with the technology of today, that companies or the government could do something so that I do not get 10+ spam calls/day. The do not call registry is a joke, so any potential action is greatly anticipated.

  • Enough is enough! Saint George, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 1:05 p.m.

    I don't agree...WeThePeople.

    I consider these calls an INVASION of my privacy. I don't want them!!! I'm tired of getting up to answer calls that come from Amanda, Shirley or whomever who tell me "do not hang up!" The people behind these calls want to steal your/my money.

    Thank you, Reyes, and others for tackling this problem. Next can you please work on the unsolicited mail that, if stolen, can be used to open up a credit card in my name. I get mail for businesses that don't exist any longer and send letters back to those companies pleading to be removed from their lists. Doesn't help.

    After that, go after the apps which access personal contacts and the STUPID friends who allow that access.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 12:56 p.m.

    @ WeThePeople - Sandy, UT,

    You say "Utah needs to stay true to the principles of conservatism that made America great!"

    How is that possible when you elect a democrat to congress?
    And looking at your further remarks, you are obviously clueless, stopping harassing, unwanted solicitation in no way restricts business transactions. People who make these calls are predators and can't make a dollar without resorting to unethical means. Greed corrupts.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 12:51 p.m.

    Utah is doing absolutely nothing! I get 10 calls a day from some recording or other wanting to lower my credit card interest of sell me a warranty for my car. Not things I want or need. If I ask how they got my number they just hang up. I wish they would be completely outlawed.

  • WeThePeople Sandy, UT
    Dec. 11, 2018 12:30 p.m.

    Utah needs to stay true to the principles of conservatism that made America great!

    We don't need government to interfere with these phone calls. That just means that government gets to meddle with any business transaction. The founding fathers would never have imagined government restricting who can make phone calls!

    And we especially don't need our state's weakening their authority. Shame on Mr. Reyes for getting the feds involved. All they know how to do is take our taxes!