Spoofing Caller ID For Fun and Profit

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The Wall Street Journal has a piece today about how robocall scammers make money from Caller ID. I had to read it a couple of times before I got it, but apparently it works like this:

  • Scammer calls me.
  • My carrier automatically makes a Caller ID request, for which it pays a hundredth of a cent or so.
  • The caller gets a share of that hundredth of a cent.
  • Multiply by a gazillion.

Why does the calling number get a piece of the Caller ID action? That part is unclear. “Regulators monitor such revenue-sharing deals,” the article says, but that’s all. I’m trying to think of what legitimate purpose this could have, but I’m coming up blank.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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