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posted by martyb on Monday July 19, @11:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the thought-they-were-really-cleaning-up dept.

Feds crack down on brothers behind 45 million illegal robocalls:

Three New Jersey brothers will pay $1.6 million to settle charges of instigating more than 45 million illegal robocalls nationwide, including to tens of millions of Americans on the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call Registry, the agency announced on Friday.

The siblings also agreed to a permanent ban on telemarketing and will hand over a residential property to resolve the agency's allegations, made in a complaint filed by Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC.

According to the FTC's suit, Joseph, Sean and Raymond Carney initiated more than 45 million illegal telemarketing calls to people across the U.S. between January 2018 and March 2019 to pitch a line of septic tank cleaning products. Most of the calls, or 31 million, were placed to numbers on the FTC's registry of people who don't want to receive marketing calls.

[...] Telemarketers working on behalf of the brothers falsely told consumers they were calling from an environmental company to offer free information on their septic tank cleaning products, the complaint charges.


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @12:11PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @12:11PM (#1157852)

    These are Sackler Jrs.

    Why can't we jail the real criminals instead of street corner weed peddlers?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @12:44PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @12:44PM (#1157859)

      "Real criminals" pay lobbyists and make donations to political campaigns. Poor people getting arrested makes rich people feel safe and validated.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @06:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @06:16PM (#1157967)

      Hang Them - It's the only way to be sure.

  • (Score: 1) by HammeredGlass on Monday July 19, @12:55PM

    by HammeredGlass (12241) on Monday July 19, @12:55PM (#1157860)

    The rest of us will bear our millions with the hope that one day our own nemesis brothers will be stopped.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @01:03PM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @01:03PM (#1157861)

    FCC could go after their nework supplier and get many bad guys at once.
    FTC get's em one at a time.
    Guess which we get.

    Come on folks. You know where the call came from because you know how to charge for it. That's improtant to you so it works.
    Either deliver the correct caller ID of none. Never the wrong one. That's important to us so it doesn't.

    Whatever is preventing the FCC from doing something is bigger than who has the whitehouse and congress.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Monday July 19, @03:51PM (1 child)

      by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 19, @03:51PM (#1157896) Journal

      Yes, caller ID is a sick joke. Too easily spoofed or circumvented. I've been getting the extended car warranty scam calls all this year, and last year. They like to spoof with the same area code and exchange as their callee, so that older people particularly will think it's a local call. Obtaining a number in just about any exchange you want is also pretty easy, no need to spoof when going that route.

      There's no good technical reason for caller ID being so easy to made to lie. The system has huge holes, and the people in charge don't care to fix it.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @06:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @06:28PM (#1158364)

        There's no good technical reason for caller ID being so easy to made to lie.

        Correct, there is no technical reason why caller ID spoofing is so easy. The real reason is that caller ID was developed way back in the days when the phone network was an isolated network, run by one company (AT&T in the US). Caller ID was developed in that environment (isolated network, only really one player) and so there was no envisioned need for any authentication of the value, because what was sent came from the same company that transmitted it.

        However, as time went along, more players came onto the field (all the various newer 'phone companies' that appeared). And rather than redesign caller ID to include some form of authentication, everyone just used the existing system (it already worked [caller ID protocol], and each company was, at the time, trustworthy).

        Yet more time went along, and the internet arrived, and then, VOIP arrived on the internet, and suddenly, the phone network was no longer an isolated network, and there were no longer a small handful of companies providing phone service such that one could 'trust' that the other company was not lying about their caller ID value. With VOIP, and cross connection between the phone network and the internet, suddenly, anyone willing to buy the proper network link could be "a phone company".

        And the problem now was, the existing base of telephone companies, and telephone switching equipment, had all grown up in this world where "the guy requesting we terminate his call can be trusted to not be lying" and it now had a problem. It relied on a protocol with no authentication of the sender, but now it had so many senders that some of them were going to be shady operators and would deliberately lie about their caller ID values. But fixing that problem would require a different protocol, and we (the various existing, mostly trustworthy companies) had billions invested in capital expenditures on equipment that was all designed and built to use the "unauthenticated caller ID" protocol. Suddenly changing to "authenticated caller ID" would entail a lot of expense to retrofit everything. So there was little incentive to make a fix, and of course, now a huge herd of cats had to be herded to use a single new system, which in and of itself was unlikely to go anywhere.

        And that is why caller ID, today, in 2021, is trivial to fake/spoof. It was never designed to be fake/spoof proof in the first place, and it now finds itself firmly entrenched in every expensive piece of telephone hardware out there, but now playing in a world where many of the players are not trustworthy.

        The system has huge holes, and the people in charge don't care to fix it.

        No, they don't, because if they fixed it, it would add millions to billions of additional capitol outlay to their expense line item on their quarterly reports, make them incompatible with everyone who has not fixed it, and potentially cut off part of their revenue stream at the same time (they are getting paid for carrying these calls afterall). This is much like the long slow slog to "no indoor smoking in bars/restaurants". Few individual bars/restaurants wanted to be the lone wolf changing things. But all were fully in support of the govt. mandating the change, because then they were "off the hook" as to why the made the change. Same reasoning here. Authenticated caller ID needs to be a regulatory mandate so that everyone bears the expense all at the same time, and so that no one looks to be a lone wolf/loose cannon on their quarterly stock market reports. Sadly govt. regulation moves too slowly for most of us.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @03:52PM (10 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @03:52PM (#1157897)

      There are valid reasons for having edited caller ID. A call center business where people work from home or satellite offices for example. The business would probably want the main callback number as their caller ID, rather than the operator's number.

      Similar to email services that send messages on behalf of their clients (doesn't have to be ads). They need to use their customer's domain too.

      • (Score: 2, Flamebait) by Tork on Monday July 19, @04:07PM (9 children)

        by Tork (3914) on Monday July 19, @04:07PM (#1157903)

        There are valid reasons for having edited caller ID. A call center business where people work from home or satellite offices for example. The business would probably want the main callback number as their caller ID, rather than the operator's number.

        And this only works if it's easily spoofable...?

        --
        Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
        • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Monday July 19, @07:59PM (8 children)

          by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday July 19, @07:59PM (#1158004)

          Because the helpdesk guy calling you back has a direct number, but the caller id you want is the general helpdesk number. In fact, that guy might be in india - do you want his indian number, one in two hundred at that office, that you have to call internationally to show up instead? Sounds like you do. Cool, so now go get the entire planet to agree how to do caller ID, and your goal of having random useless foreign numbers to show up for calls from bank of america fraud support is accomplished.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Tork on Monday July 19, @08:15PM (7 children)

            by Tork (3914) on Monday July 19, @08:15PM (#1158015)
            Again... why does it have to be easily spoofable? Why does this flexibility REQUIRE it to be easy for Johnny Uptonogood to easily make Caller ID report any number he likes? Is this a technical problem? Is this a problem with poor security? Is this apathy from the carriers?
            --
            Slashdolt Logic: "23 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
            • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Monday July 19, @09:22PM (6 children)

              by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday July 19, @09:22PM (#1158044)

              >why does it have to be easily spoofable?

              looks like reading comprehension issues. let me explain a different way. How else do you change a hundred random numbers in mumbai to display the bank of america 800 number when they call you w/o spoofing? no, at&t is not going to be able to get the random indian telco to follow any guideline or protocol, just like they won't be able to do so with the thousand other telcos worldwide. the world can't even agree on a tv standard.

              >Is this apathy from the carriers?
              no, it's not. tell me, if Bob who lives on your block decides you should all invest in a roof solar panel, which will pay for itself for 5 years, and make that the standard for all new houses in every county in every state, will you follow his order? why would another telco, out of thousands of them, listen to ATT on how to implement secure callerID? How long do you think it would take those robocaller spammers to get a guy to hack AT&T's new secure callerID? How often do all those worldwide telcos update and patch all their hardware to fix the hole? Mind you, they all need to update together, worldwide, or it'll break.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @10:33PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @10:33PM (#1158076)

                I dont buy that argument at all and I think you are still missing the GP's point. There is no technical reason why a system couldn't be put in place that allows businesses to give proper caller ID information without also allowing individuals like these three brothers from taking advantage of that system. Your analogy isn't great either since Bob isn't another company I am forced to do business with anyway. Not only that, the argument was never that the individual businesses should implement their own proprietary systems and force their competitors to use it. The argument is that a standard system should be enforced through the FCC, a government entity, and that all telecommunications companies that want to operate in the US have to abide. Telephone calls aren't free and every single robo call out of india that a US telcom accepts is also charged back to those indian companies. That is a large inflow of cash that nobody wants to part with.

                As far as details are concerned there are many ways to ensure such a system isn't abused. We could easily require all calls with a callerID to have a cryptographic signature that is signed by a telco stating that the callerID has been vetted by them as real. We could maintain better track of who owns/operates what phonenumbers. Why should a new jersey company be able to use a california phone number without any sort of checks? If that number is "owned" by some company, and to use that number requires a cryptographic signature from only that company, it becomes far more difficult to make random use of the number. If those brothers try, the first telco they go through drops the call when the signature is incorrect. Extending this system to international calls is NOT an insurmountable obstacle. At any rate I'm not a security expert and there are definitely far more and better ways to secure the system than what I've described. Your line of reasoning that making it secure would also inhibit businesses from functioning doesn't make any sense.

                • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Tuesday July 20, @06:49PM (2 children)

                  by fakefuck39 (6620) on Tuesday July 20, @06:49PM (#1158374)

                  >a standard system should be enforced through the FCC, a government entity
                  whose standard? what goverment? half the calls we get are from overseas call centers that show up w/ a US business's number despite coming from another country. no one cares what standard we put in place, no one is going to bother following it irrelevant of what regulation or standard the US passes. And yes, I still want my incoming calls to go through.

                  >Why should a new jersey company be able to use a california phone number
                  and you can enforce that. except none of the spam calls are initiated in california or jersey. they're all coming via voip from another country, just like the incoming call from bank of america's customer service is coming from another country. and there's nothing you can do to force a telco in that country to follow any standard you make up. you can only block the call completely, and then you'd lose all your customers, because me - I want that call from my bank to go through.

                  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @08:37PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 20, @08:37PM (#1158425)

                    You are still doom crying without giving any tangible reasons beyond your feeling that nobody would play ball. The US could easily require that all international calls that are routed into this country are closely tracked. As I said in a previous post, all those calls require the US company to bill back, so they know exactly who is calling already. We could absolutely enforce a system where international telecoms that transmit spam calls are just dropped by US telcos. US telcos wont want to do it but the FCC could absolutely require it. If a US company wants to set up a call center in india, they'll have to go through a telecom that actually checks the phone calls. Why would they do that? Money, plain and simple. If they want their calls going through to america so they can get a cutback, they have to manage their customers. Note, they don't have to have our system in place at all. All they have to do is not give spammers free reign on their network or they are less likely to be trafficked into the US. You could enforce penalties on US companies that do business with telcos that do nothing to stop the spam. In actual first world countries I could absolutely see governments enacting similar systems and I see absolutely no reason why international companies wouldn't enact policies that go beyond the borders of the US. And my point about a new jersey company being able to use a california phone number is even more important in the international scope. There is even LESS reason for a company who operates in india to be able to use any US phone number without any basic checks. Again, if the company who operates that call center in India was forced to purchase or license those phone numbers from a US telco, we can verify the people using those numbers are associated with an actual US company. Then it becomes far easier to prosecute individuals who abuse the network. Accountability doesn't hamper anyone's ability to make or receive calls.

                    So maybe for your next post you could come up with actual reasons why there can't be ANY kind of system in place to accomplish the end goal of attenuating spam calls. Your protestations that it just can't be done, full stop, are unconvincing at best.

                    • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Tuesday July 20, @08:57PM

                      by fakefuck39 (6620) on Tuesday July 20, @08:57PM (#1158436)

                      >You are still doom crying
                      so saying all the world's thousands of telcos won't follow a US standard is "doom crying" to you. gotcha

                      >any tangible reasons beyond your feeling that nobody would play ball
                      not at all. I'm sure a few would play ball, like they did by adopting the american analog TV and then digital TV standards, followed by emission standards, followed by our measuring units, followed our cell frequencies, which is why you don't need special phones to have them work worldwide.

                      >why there can't be ANY kind of system in place to accomplish the end goal of attenuating spam calls
                      we do have many various systems implemented by different telcos. they have been in place for decades and are constantly being upgraded. some are implemented by carriers, some by the telcos themselves. you have zero idea of what you're talking about.
                      https://www.t-mobile.com/customers/scam-shield [t-mobile.com]

              • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @11:27PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @11:27PM (#1158095)

                at&t can solve this by putting out a specification of what you must do to connect to their network. Rather the FCC should make that specification so all U.S. phone carriers have to use it. You don't follow the specification, you can't make calls to the United States. Make spoofing part of the specification and set up a reporting system where the spoofers whole network gets cut off for violations. The network owners will get their act together or be cut off into their own island.

                • (Score: 2) by fakefuck39 on Tuesday July 20, @06:44PM

                  by fakefuck39 (6620) on Tuesday July 20, @06:44PM (#1158371)

                  >at&t can solve this by putting out a specification of what you must do to connect to their network
                  so again, for those who can't read, you're asking the carriers of the world to follow a spec AT&T put out, update their software as it changes multiple times a year to fight hackers.

                  and your solution is for AT&T to block calls to AT&T's customers if the global carriers don't follow their spec? Got news for you - I don't want half the business calls to me blocked, I'd just switch to verizon who doesn't block them.

                  >The network owners will get their act together or be cut off into their own island.
                  no, they're going to be dumped by customers who are purchasing the ability to have incoming calls, which AT&T isn't delivering.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @05:03PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @05:03PM (#1157939)

      Do you have personal knowledge of the telephone system and can vouch for this?

      I honestly don't know, but I've been on the "technically knowledgeable" side of the discussion too many times when a boss, family member, or friend has said "a PS5 is just a computer, why can't I run Final Fantasy 7 Remake on my Macbook Pro?"

      Sure, on the outside, it seems like it would be easy to backtrace the source of a spam phone call. However, I'm entirely prepared to believe that a system created hundreds(?) of years ago has an architecture which just doesn't make this technically possible.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @06:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @06:39PM (#1157972)

        "created hundreds(?) of years ago has an architecture which just doesn't make this technically possible."

        The theory supporting the idea is that getting paid for delivering long distance calls over multiple jurisdictions was an original requirement for the architecture.

        Being able to display something random as caller id is a separate use case.

        To support these two separate use cases, the call setup messages contain both the calling party for billing and the caller ID for display.

        Unless you think the phone company has become less pickey about getting paid, it seems safe that it is still there.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Frosty Piss on Monday July 19, @01:59PM

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Monday July 19, @01:59PM (#1157875)

    Telemarketers working on behalf of the brothers falsely told consumers they were calling from an environmental company to offer free information on their septic tank cleaning products…

    In other words, the brothers were full of shit…

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by fakefuck39 on Monday July 19, @06:21PM (3 children)

    by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday July 19, @06:21PM (#1157968)

    I get these about once a week and I love it. 99% of the cases you can get a person on the line. Then I keep them on the line as long as I can. It's amazing how many times they ask for credit card numbers, and I list the even numbers. 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18. Every single time, not kidding here, they don't hang up. They start arguing with me about how 10 is not a number. I start explaining to them the difference between a number and a digit, telling them "yes, that is my credit card number - I'm looking at my card now, I need the car warranty." There was a church that called once to donate. I had a 30min long conversation about how I like to have sex with little black boys, and how much do I need to pay then today to still get into heaven like the priests, w/o becoming a priest myself.

    It's kinda like talking to the ACs here. I find it very enjoyable when the other party comes to the fight unarmed.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @09:21PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @09:21PM (#1158043)

      It's kinda like talking to the ACs here. I find it very enjoyable when the other party comes to the fight unarmed.

      Well, OK, if you say so but some of us ACs don't find it very challenging when you just bend over and beg for your daily asswhacks. Just sayin'.

      • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by fakefuck39 on Monday July 19, @09:33PM

        by fakefuck39 (6620) on Monday July 19, @09:33PM (#1158051)

        True, I do like to get whacks in my ass. You talk a lot about dick and ass with men. In fact, you seem to see dick and ass in normal words. I'm guessing you watch so much porn you're into some weird german shit at this point. Enjoy your mouth piss.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @10:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @10:29PM (#1158074)

      That's the thing with the ACs on S/N, we never fight people with disabilities, dickhead.
      Be a good boy now and get that medication on time, it's fer yer own good, see?

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @08:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, @08:33PM (#1158023)

    It's kind of an insult. I mean, if you pass a fake $20 bill, you get a beat-down and/or summarily executed by a cop, but if you make 45 million robocalls, bilking people out of their money, all you have to do is give up one of your extra houses and promise you won't do it again (wink, wink).

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