Reporting spam calls and texts

Is it possible to report spam calls and texts?

For example today I got one of those annoying automated calls suggesting I had been involved in an accident. From the call list being able to report it as spam, and potentially block the number.

Then when the same number has been reported multiple times further investigation could be done to prevent the number being used in the future for spamming or even passing details on to a fraud organisation to be able to take the organisation making the calls down, thus preventing the issue in the future.

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I use Should I answer?

Would be great if Zevvle partnered with a service like this.
Doing it from scratch would take a lot of work

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I thought that was a no earlier, but yes that would be possible. We can’t do it at the network level yet (when we work on SIP that’ll change), but iOS and Android have an API for blocking numbers and possibly showing additional info for an incoming call as well, the way Should I Answer? does it.

However, it’ll need some more work on the Android/iOS internals, so this is probably for when our dev team is > 1…

That’s probably the way to go – not sure if SIA? has an API, but “Tellows” does…

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The big benefit, of course, is that you get a much bigger community reporting numbers than if you go it alone.

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Any half-decent scammer will spoof their caller ID and rotate them regularly (or even make one up on the fly before each call), so trying to categorize numbers or block them is futile at best and could have collateral damage (blocking the legitimate owner of the number). It would do more harm than good.

passing details on to a fraud organisation

First off, a lot of these calls aren’t scams per-se. They’re annoying, violate a law preventing calls to numbers registered on the TPS but they aren’t fraud - if you actually fall for it you’ll just be sold a really bad deal but most of the times it isn’t fraud (the “car accident” calls are boiler rooms full of monkeys trying to generate leads for UK-based PPI claims companies).

Second, even if there is actual attempts of fraud involved, I’m not sure we in the UK have any organization that wants to deal with it. I once tried to report a scam attempt to Action Fraud (with more than enough info to track down the scammer) - they literally did not give a shit.

It is a difficult issue to get right, and during the early phases of setting up the network, other things will likely take priority.

The car accident ones are now usually just automated calls. Even if you do get through to a human, it they’ll just hang up if you ask how they got your number.

Some operators allow you to forward spam texts to 7726.

If you actually want to track them down you have to play along and pretend to be interested (Fake Name Generator is a good website to get a set of fake but coherent details). Once they think they have a lead they’ll be more than happy to tell you who they work for (aka the company that’s paying them for the leads). You can then go after that company and get a couple hundred bucks out of them for calling numbers listed in the TPS (they would rather pay to keep you quiet rather than having the matter escalated as that would jeopardise their whole - illegal - operation).

Some operators allow you to forward spam texts to 7726.

Is there any evidence that any of these reports are actioned upon, and can they even deal with ones where the caller ID is spoofed? Given the entire industry makes money on these (your carrier gets paid for delivering these texts & calls) I’d expect it to be better for them to “look away”.

There is a solution against this for where Zevvle becomes one of the major carriers (and where other carriers interconnect with them directly) - disconnect any carrier whose traffic looks like spam (high ratio of inbound calls compared to outbound, sudden increase in traffic, etc) or if their traffic causes too many complaints. But until Zevvle reaches that stage I’m not sure anything even remotely effective can be done.