Junk calls on my 800 numbers
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  1. #1
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    Default Junk calls on my 800 numbers

    #1 What is the deal with calling a toll free number and holding the line open? We are getting calls on days we are closed and in off hours where there is just noise to keep the answering machine from hanging up. The noise may be raucous music, static, water running, loud back background conversations or my favorite the sound of stuff dropping in the toilet.
    We occasionally get the calls during business hours, no one replies just noise. Looking over hour phone bills the calls seem to last 2.5 minutes. The displayed number on the answering machine is different from the number on the bill. At least once the displayed number repeated with a different number on the bill.
    #2 Anyone know if the number on the phone bill is real?

    #3 The purpose seems to be to keep your line open so I am thinking the person generating these calls may get a kick back from my phone bill, is this possible?

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    My guess is someone is harassing you and the 2.5 minute limit probably relates to the risk of being traced by the telco if they are spoofing phone numbers to fool caller ID.

    Telemarketers sometimes leave this kind of stuff on voicemail and answering to force you to pick up but since someone answers during the week I suspect it is my first guess. They are trying to tie up your line, aggravate you, and cost you money.

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    IMO, this could be easily eliminated: if you call somebody, you pay a rate of some sort. If you receive a call, you GET PAID by the minute. The phone company gets a small fee for the accounting and overhead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuFlungDung View Post
    IMO, this could be easily eliminated: if you call somebody, you pay a rate of some sort. If you receive a call, you GET PAID by the minute. The phone company gets a small fee for the accounting and overhead.
    I would love to start getting paid to answer the calls from the 5-10 "This is your final warranty notice!" every week.

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    We got our WATS line about 30 years ago, right around the time the 800 numbers were almost used up, so the letter/spelling combination we wanted could only be had with the new 888 area code. Unbeknownst to us, the 800 equivalent was—and still is!—a phone sex number. Ever since then we have occasionally had the following conversation:

    Do you guys know what happens if you dial 1-800 instead of 1-888...?
    Uhh, yeah, that's our sideline business, it earns more than the machine shop.
    After the fifth or sixth time I realized I had misdialed...

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    A couple of you may have missed point of the question. Can the caller get a portion of the $.15 I pay for a 2.5 minute call to my toll free number?
    A lot of the robo calls get a very tiny amount from each time the caller ID is used. A tiny fraction of a cent adds up when a billion calls are made. Little cost to the caller with a list of numbers to call repeatedly. Just make sure someone else's number is displayed so he will not get caught.
    I have a friend that did a billion pc run on his screw machines. His profit per part was less than a penny, think about it a billion times a half cent is 5 million dollars!

    Oldwrench we had to block out some states where ads were running that a zero and an o were easily confused by the caller. We have changed telephone carriers since so I do not know if those states are still blocked out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post
    A couple of you may have missed point of the question. Can the caller get a portion of the $.15 I pay for a 2.5 minute call to my toll free number?
    A lot of the robo calls get a very tiny amount from each time the caller ID is used. A tiny fraction of a cent adds up when a billion calls are made. Little cost to the caller with a list of numbers to call repeatedly. Just make sure someone else's number is displayed so he will not get caught.
    I have a friend that did a billion pc run on his screw machines. His profit per part was less than a penny, think about it a billion times a half cent is 5 million dollars!
    Certainly the same principle has been used by bookkeepers and accounting (and bank) clerks, who divert rounding errors to a private account. The same thing can happen with computer-program-driven stock transactions. And yes, robocallers probably make money—but fortunately the individual hit doesn't amount to much compared to a credit card hack. Or getting carjacked.

    The WATS line is probably a wasted expense since much of our business communication is via e-mail. In fact it's no longer featured on our business cards, having been replaced in most cases by e-mail addresses. Ditto the fax number. Remember Thermofax machines? Anybody who had your number could inundate you with pizzeria menus and the like. People used to do that as a prank. In the morning the office floor would be covered with your entire roll of fax paper.

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    I see no point in having a WATTs anymore.
    Everyone has "free" long distance - especially on their cell phones anymore, so ...
    I had a WATTs line 30 yrs ago when I was DJ-ing weddings and such, but dropped it likely in '93 when I shut that gig down.
    We use'ta git wrong calls frequently Saturday nights as our number was one digit (?) different than some collect call program (?) from pay phones that ATT had going on back then.
    Something like 1-800-CALL-ATT or ???
    I don't remember what our number was anymore.
    But we would git some drunk looking for a ride home maybe once a week or so?
    Of course that went away as cell phones got common.

    Fax line is not published anymore, and quite honestly only online for one particular customer as he is old skewl and not likely to change anymore in this lifetime, and struggles with e-mail and attachments.


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    whats a 800 number?

    In the era of unlimited national phone plans, email and voip, unless its so ingrained all your customers have it on speed dial, I'm not sure what the value of it is. Gave up on fax as well, we still have the number for the odd hold out, but it just comes through as a pdf on an email and there is no outbound fax capability. No more telex either lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAMasochism View Post
    I would love to start getting paid to answer the calls from the 5-10 "This is your final warranty notice!" every week.

    Aye.. Or the student loans I never had to begin with, even over fifty years ago?

    Been possible for more than thirty years. Book yerself a NINE hundred number. Caller pays a fee you set. Or not-even, given the robocallers ordinarily avoid 900 numbers like the well-earned fires of Hell.

    Premium-rate telephone number - Wikipedia

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    At one time, there was a for-pay service that one would subscribe to. You effectively forward your number to a private 800 number that uses ANI for the true caller information, rather than easily-fakeable Caller ID. Then they run a search of the phone number, and forward the call to you with the actual, verified caller ID info... all in the blink of an eye. You can subsequently choose to answer, block, or voice-mail them based on whether you have them as contacts, or whatever.

    I don't know if it's still available, and if it will work with your 800 number. But it would let you block your off-hours knuckleheads.

    Or, make your message: "We're open from X to Y. Please contact us during that time. Thank you goodbye." Short and sweet, and quickly disconnected.

    How many legit off-hours calls do you get on that number? How many legit messages get left?

    If it's not a cell number, you can use the software Asterisk to do many things with landline phones. Might be easier to just forward to a cell after hours, and accept messages based on a confirmed contact list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
    At one time, there was a for-pay service that one would subscribe to. You effectively forward your number to a private 800 number that uses ANI for the true caller information, rather than easily-fakeable Caller ID. Then they run a search of the phone number, and forward the call to you with the actual, verified caller ID info... all in the blink of an eye. You can subsequently choose to answer, block, or voice-mail them based on whether you have them as contacts, or whatever.

    I don't know if it's still available...
    Too often, it isn't. It is having to be put-back into place after getting out of the barn.

    AND .. they WILL be charging for such stuff....

    Telco's had shot both their own feet off at the knees to shave costs, cut detailed billing out of the equation in favor of all-you can eat, simple flat-rate fee, and "paperless" with autopay off a debit or credit card or bank account if you please as well.

    Right about the time I retired from C&W, 25 years back, "CCS-7" Common-Channel Signalling System 7th revision" had pretty much gotten full implementation, worldwide, GSM and other mobiles included, for Direct Distance Dial and International DDD traffic.

    Reliable end-to-end transmittal of the originating subscriber's ID HAD BEEN carried all the way TO the last-mile Central Office, stopped no earlier, even if optioned to NOT be displayed. The police could still get it off the logs, last-mile CO. That's how we put-paid to called-in bomb-threats by lazy schoolkids and such.

    And then.... "Alternative Carriers" began using call-back to shift the basis of tariffs, which buggered-up the data.

    Enter, also, Voice over IP, which wasn't even a participant.

    Dominant-Carrier Telcos took revenge by messing with the callback operator's clear-down handshakes, dynamically rotating IP's out from under their ISP customers, and building BETTER (and cheaper..) designed-for-the-purpose and "other-than public internet" VoIP networks THEMSELVES.

    As the networks changed, reliable Caller-ID fell by the wayside. Spoofing became zero effort.

    And here we are of recent years.

    Phone bills are dirt cheap in money, but we pay a different price in TIME wasted. Robocall annoyances. Malware infections seeking gain off your data or money. Or to enable a foreign power or criminals for ransom to lie in wait, then cripple an entire nation's telecoms and data networks.

    Or try to do. As usual, the past fifty years and counting. "Common channel" signaling was an earlier counter to an earlier vulnerability, MF and SF INBAND "tone signalling" compromised by audio "phone phreaking", if anyone remembers the "blue box" era.

    Got me one-each 16-button keypad MIL-SPEC 4-Wire E&M STE unit still up in the attic, left-over off R&D for a contract Day Job once did for some 3-letter agency called Fort Ritchie home.

    Tempting to order me up a legacy copper trunk for that old sojer and let the bastids try their damndest to infect it's "operating system" - a rather nicely made device called a "hook switch", like it was a too-smart-for-its-own good iPad!

    "Knock yerselves out!"

    Mind.. my ruggedized but intentionally STOOPID flip-phone plays dumb really well arredy..

    Malware finds it sorta like a prevert with a raging hard-on trying to rape a marble statue.

    No holes with any DEPTH to 'em. Literally "dumb as a box of rocks".


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    When we started/purchased our manufacturing business, all old 800 numbers had been discontinued. My business partner had a verizon Home phone that we used for business number. Since it was just the two of us we were rarely actually in the office so calls were forwarded to one of our cell phones.
    We also had a problem with a barrage of robocalls, vehicle warranty, etc. One day the verizon rep came out and was promoting verizon's business line system which looked quite nice. However, all calls were done via wifi so anytime you were out of internet service the phone would be down.
    Long story short we instead found the service called Talkroute. We ported our number into it and it also gives you an 800 number if you need one. Gives us a simple call menu, Press 1 for sales, etc which simply go to our cell phones. You can set it up that outside of business hours it plays a different message and goes straight to voicemail.
    one thing we like, it uses existing cell or landlines so not dependent on internet to operate. Options are set on webpage and it has an app also.
    Kinda cool, you can transfer numbers to another extension while in a call, even on a cell phone.
    [B]THE BEST PART? ALL ROBOCALLS NEVER GET TO US! If they can't press 1 or 2 or 3 it ends there! That feature alone is worth the $39 a month.
    The only thing I don't like is that to make this all work they can't show incoming Call ID. It shows business number which allows you to have a distinctive ring for that number so you know immediately that it is a business call. Now I always have to ask where customers are from. Before i could tell from ID where the call was from.

    I tried a trial of Grasshopper but we chose Talkroute instead. Check it out (Free Trial) Virtual Phone System - Better Business Phone Service
    If you get serious use this link to get a free month of service. Talkroute Signup

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    I'm not 100% sure how big of a deal the internet issue is or not?
    I'm guessing that most of the phone calls (at least long distance?) go over the internet lines anyway these days?

    I live in the shadow of, and even heavily considered buy - a big AT&T repeater station, but that's been shut down for 30 years now.
    They were laying down fiber optics back in the 80's.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I'm not 100% sure how big of a deal the internet issue is or not?
    I'm guessing that most of the phone calls (at least long distance?) go over the internet lines anyway these days?

    I live in the shadow of, and even heavily considered buy - a big AT&T repeater station, but that's been shut down for 30 years now.
    They were laying down fiber optics back in the 80's.



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    One of the big NE US trunk lines runs along 30 near where I live. As far as I know it has been there 20+ years. I just found out this year we MIGHT get hooked up to fiber...

    FredC, good luck, and please keep us posted on what you find out.

    I have a friend from college that had a CS degree that used to hack things for fun. I have considered a go fund me or kickstarter campaign to hire him full time to track down these robo spoof companies/people and take them offline.

    He's one of those people that when someone pisses him off online, he will leave personalized messages on their computer, change their passwords, and mail a picture to their house of their cars license plate sitting at their house, their favorite restaurant, and at work. It is beyond creepy the tracking he can do from his computer. He makes a damn bit of money by letting bitcoin use his super duper computer. All WAY over my head. I have seriously talked to him about it, because of the time I waste every week answering bogus calls. Then tracking people down I ignored because I thought they were bogus calls.

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    On the last phone bill it had phone numbers for some of the calls that were different than the caller ID display numbers. I never called any of them back or took the time to see if the phone company could ID them. Thought someone in PM land might have already knew the answer.
    Reason for the thread was how they were monetizing this. Do they get a portion of the nickel or what ever a 2 1/2 minute call cost me. I know the source of the calls is an automated computer that cost nothing to operate. I would guess they may make a fraction of a penny per call at my expense.

    Volume users of caller ID get a fraction of a penny for using the caller ID system. They do not care if they sell you anything or not, just so the phone rings long enough to display the fake number. Thus the reason for the robo calls during the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post

    Volume users of caller ID get a fraction of a penny for using the caller ID system. They do not care if they sell you anything or not, just so the phone rings long enough to display the fake number. Thus the reason for the robo calls during the day.

    They somehow get $ for reporting a fake caller ID number?
    (Or likely "any" caller ID number?)

    I always wondered what their angle was?
    I try to figger out the "Follow the Money" trail, but never made any sense to me.

    Most will try to sell you sumpthing I s'pose if you listen long enough, but - yeah - there are plenty of "nobody's home" calls too I guess.


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    My 800 number is just forwarded. I just pay a flat fee every month. It's like $20 and I can forward the number to my landline, smart phone, whatever.

    Wouldn't that be better than paying for talk time?


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