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Yes, exactly! Well said, David! So, I as a customer of these businesses that store mine, thousands and millions of bits of personal data, need to be pressuring these companies to justify the current level of security and tell us what they are doing to make it better. I believe that our time is better spent pressuring these companies rather than worrying about our individual personal passwords, on our own devices.
Thanks, but I think you misunderstood me.

The amount of pressure I can put onto TRW or Experian is... as near to zero as makes no difference.

If all Americans got together... they would lie to us more effectively and still not do anything.

Given the current reality, the only solution is for us to do what we can. Ideally, everyone would require hardware and software keys; the reality is that a bank I was dealing with the other day actually used my social security number as a password alternative! Yes, I’m moving my money out, but how would I know this unless I’d called with a problem?
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I received an email last Friday, starting with "My nickname in darknet is." They say they've been monitoring your email for months and demand a bitcoin ransom....
I just discovered that I got a bunch of these, too. They'd been routed to a spam folder that I hadn't checked in a while. One was an Amazon account, never used for anything else, so that's a bit disturbing. ...
I found another one of these in my spam folder. This time, I checked the password they cited, and it seemed to be entirely bogus - I don't think it's a real password I ever used.

There was a disturbing collection of many, many other varied scams in the spam folder, which I'm afraid are getting harder to discern and dangerous in what they're targeting. Complicating things were a few false-positives that I had to dig out from the garbage. What a swamp this has all turned into.
 


I received this email from Amazon last night. Let the fun continue.

Hello,

We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your name and email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.

Sincerely,
Customer Service
 


I received this email from Amazon last night. Let the fun continue.

Hello,

We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your name and email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.

Sincerely,
Customer Service
I guess I would go ahead and change the password anyway, even if Amazon says it is not necessary. They don't tell you to whom they "disclosed" your information or how it happened. They tell you it was only your name and email address but history shows that can lead to other information. I think this is in the "trust but verify" realm. It takes only a couple of minutes to change the password. It can takes months to correct an identity theft or misused credit card. Be proactive and prevent.
 


I received this email from Amazon last night. Let the fun continue.

Hello,

We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your name and email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.

Sincerely,
Customer Service
It looks like this is legit. Thanks Amazon!
 


Phone calls started earlier today, five calls so far, "There is a problem with your iCloud account." I finally answered, and the voice asked what I was calling about. So, I hung up.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
FYI:
FTC said:
Netflix phishing scam: Don’t take the bait
Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information – like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link, they can install ransomware or other programs that can lock you out of your data.

Scammers often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. Here’s a real world example featuring Netflix.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a nasty new "Apple" scam:
Brian Krebs said:
Apple Phone Phishing Scams Getting Better
A new phone-based phishing scam that spoofs Apple Inc. is likely to fool quite a few people. It starts with an automated call that display’s Apple’s logo, address and real phone number, warning about a data breach at the company. The scary part is that if the recipient is an iPhone user who then requests a call back from Apple’s legitimate customer support Web page, the fake call gets indexed in the iPhone’s “recent calls” list as a previous call from the legitimate Apple Support line.
...
Westby said she immediately went to the Apple.com support page (https://www.support.apple.com) and requested to have a customer support person call her back. The page displayed a “case ID” to track her inquiry, and just a few minutes later someone from the real Apple Inc. called her and referenced that case ID number at the start of the call.

Westby said the Apple agent told her that Apple had not contacted her, that the call was almost certainly a scam, and that Apple would never do that — all of which she already knew. But when Westby looked at her iPhone’s recent calls list, she saw the legitimate call from Apple had been lumped together with the scam call that spoofed Apple...
 


Here's a nasty new "Apple" scam:
Brian Krebs said:
Apple Phone Phishing Scams Getting Better
A new phone-based phishing scam that spoofs Apple Inc. is likely to fool quite a few people....
If you read the comments (including mine :-) I believe this is not nearly as sinister as Krebs implies.

My iPhone (and I suspect many many more) have a contact card for Apple (with their old "1 Infinite Loop" address, and an Apple logo for a user photo). I my case, it was pre-loaded in the Mac Address Book app when I bought my computer (or maybe as a part of installing some release of Mac OS in the past). This card sync'ed to my iPhone via iCloud a long time ago and is still there.

If the telemarketer/scammer has forged Caller ID to use the phone number on that contact card (which appears to still be Apple's support number), then the iPhone will associate that card with the incoming call.
 


If you read the comments (including mine :-) I believe this is not nearly as sinister as Krebs implies.

My iPhone (and I suspect many many more) have a contact card for Apple (with their old "1 Infinite Loop" address, and an Apple logo for a user photo). I my case, it was pre-loaded in the Mac Address Book app when I bought my computer (or maybe as a part of installing some release of Mac OS in the past). This card sync'ed to my iPhone via iCloud a long time ago and is still there.

If the telemarketer/scammer has forged Caller ID to use the phone number on that contact card (which appears to still be Apple's support number), then the iPhone will associate that card with the incoming call.
Yup, exactly. I also have that contact card, likely from an old Mac purchase, which was synced everywhere upon sign-up to iCloud. I'm surprised that someone as astute as Brian Krebs was incredulous about this explanation.
 


If you look in the comments for the article, someone provides the contact card explanation for the display of the name and Apple logo, and Krebs is incredulous that that is the explanation, when that is, in fact, exactly what is happening.
Yes, it is 'just' caller ID spoofing, and yes, many millions of Apple customers will have that Apple Inc. address card by default. So this is nothing new, but that is not why Krebs is 'incredulous'.

Is your mom going to be as astute as us tech-savvy people in recognising this as a support scam? Heck, if you had recently contacted AppleCare, and got one of these calls, can you be certain that even you would not be fooled, at least initially, or when distracted?

There's nothing technically new, here, but it is a confluence of circumstances that make the scam more than the sum of its parts.
 


My iPhone (and I suspect many many more) have a contact card for Apple (with their old "1 Infinite Loop" address, and an Apple logo for a user photo). I my case, it was pre-loaded in the Mac Address Book app when I bought my computer (or maybe as a part of installing some release of Mac OS in the past). This card sync'ed to my iPhone via iCloud a long time ago and is still there.
I got the Apple contact card pre-loaded in Address Book on one of my previous Macs or maybe with my first Mac OS X installation. I removed the card a long time ago and it never came back.
 


Yes, it is 'just' caller ID spoofing, and yes, many millions of Apple customers will have that Apple Inc address card by default. So this is nothing new, but that is not why Krebs is 'incredulous'.
If you look in the comments for the article, someone provides the contact card explanation for the display of the name and Apple logo, and Krebs is incredulous that that is the explanation, when that is, in fact, exactly what is happening.
 


Since installing Mojave (or perhaps one of the Mojave updates) on my late 2015 iMac, I’ve noticed a peculiar behavior of FaceTime that results in the camera being active but with no FaceTime window being open.
... I've just recently encountered a "social engineering" issue that involves the MacBook Pro camera.

"Social engineering" in this instance is a disgusting (but, worrisomely, written in idiomatic and grammatically correct American English) email supposedly sent to me from one of my own IMAP accounts (not true, it came from Turkey, sent by someone who'd harvested someone's - or perhaps many - email address books). It told me that the sender had hijacked my account, watched me by turning on my camera as I visited "adult" sites, and concluded by telling me that unless I delivered $550 in bitcoin to an encrypted address, he would ruin my life.

I've received similar threatening emails written in barely parsable English; this one was distinguished by its fluency with the English language. He allowed his threats to get a bit too ambitious (for example, he told me he'd be contacting "all my friends and family", which include many people who've never used an internet-connected device in their entire lives).

Apart from the absurdity of the notion that this guy would sit waiting for hours for some poor sap to stop playing Sudoku and start watching Sexy Susan (I have no idea whether such a "performer" exists), there's the issue of the privacy of Apple's laptop cameras. My understanding is that they've not been hacked. Of course, once upon a time the cameras told you when they were on with a little green LED just next to the lens. That deletion is one of those bits of Apple "simplification" that I could have done without!

The piece de resistance in this bit of nonsense was that the hacker asked me to pity him because "in his country" it's really hard to find a job that can feed one's family, and he promised to "destroy the evidence" and cause the "backdoor" he'd "installed on my system" to self destruct as soon as I paid him. (I guess he has time to watch Mission Impossible reruns). On my end, however, any tendency to such compassion was extinguished by the fact that he sent me this on a Sunday morning, with an eight hour window in which to learn more about bitcoin than how to spell it, then find a way to procure and deliver some on a Sunday.

The truly sad thing about this is that the guy either possesses or knows someone who possesses real technical skills, communicates clearly (as opposed to the "support" people in third world countries who represent too many American megacorporations to their consumer customers and who can do nothing more than offer to help you reset your password, no matter what else you need). It's pretty clear he could indeed get a job that would feed his family!

I must admit I'm in the "Jony Ive fan club" family of Apple ecosystem products (there's no such thing as too much gloriously thin "precisely milled al-u-MIN-i-um) and wouldn't dream of pasting a crude piece of opaque tape over my web camera lens. In any event, is anyone here aware of successful captures of a user's activities via his bezel-mounted Apple-branded webcam?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've just recently encountered a "social engineering" issue...
This is a widespread scam currently - I've gotten a ton of these, automatically dumped to my spam box - and they're targeting email addresses harvested by some of the many massive breaches we've seen in recent years. (See Have I been pwned? for examples, such as Adobe and LinkedIn breaches.)
 


... I've just recently encountered a "social engineering" issue that involves the MacBook Pro camera.
Well, the scam claims it used your camera. It is far far more likely that the scammer is just lying.
... It told me that the sender had hijacked my account, watched me by turning on my camera as I visited "adult" sites, and concluded by telling me that unless I delivered $550 in bitcoin to an encrypted address, he would ruin my life.
Sounds like the "sextortion" scam that Brian Krebs recently wrote about. The scammer claims to have all kinds of life-destroying information and presents information that supposedly can back up his claim, but he doesn't actually have anything. He has data purchased from some data breech and is showing it to you, in order to make you think he has everything else as well.
Of course, once upon a time the cameras told you when they were on with a little green LED just next to the lens. That deletion is one of those bits of Apple "simplification" that I could have done without!
As far as I know, they still do. Even though the aluminum bezel looks solid, it is actually perforated with microscopic holes that let the light of the green LED shine through. At least that is the case with my 2011 MacBook Air. Launch FaceTime to try it out.
 




If you look in the comments for the article, someone provides the contact card explanation for the display of the name and Apple logo, and Krebs is incredulous that that is the explanation
Ok - yes, I see that now. (My content blocker blocks comments!]) Agreed, Krebs should not have been so dismissive of this explanation.
 



Even though the aluminum bezel looks solid, it is actually perforated with microscopic holes that let the light of the green LED shine through. At least that is the case with my 2011 MacBook Air. Launch FaceTime to try it out.
Thanks, David! It's good to know that Apple isn't cutting corners they shouldn't cut. I'm not sure where I got the notion they didn't tell us anymore when the camera was on, but, sure enough, when I activated the "take a picture of your signature" function in Preview, the green LED illuminated. Mea culpa for propagating bad rumors (but I wish the charger/transformer blocks or cable plugs still told us when they were receiving a/c power).
 



Well, the scam claims it used your camera. It is far far more likely that the scammer is just lying.
Sounds like the "sextortion" scam that Brian Krebs recently wrote about. The scammer claims to have all kinds of life-destroying information and presents information that supposedly can back up his claim, but he doesn't actually have anything. He has data purchased from some data breech and is showing it to you, in order to make you think he has everything else as well.

As far as I know, they still do. Even though the aluminum bezel looks solid, it is actually perforated with microscopic holes that let the light of the green LED shine through. At least that is the case with my 2011 MacBook Air. Launch FaceTime to try it out.
I get these emails. but I just delete them and to date nothing happens. I see this the same way as someone fishing for us to pay them fee money. Spam is spam.
 


I wish the charger/transformer blocks or cable plugs still told us when they were receiving a/c power
Me, too. But since Apple is now using USB cables for charging, maybe Apple should start selling something like this for their charge cables.

All we need is a variation with two USB-C connectors instead of (as this example features) a USB-A 2.0 connector paired with a USB-C connector.
 


Thanks, David! It's good to know that Apple isn't cutting corners they shouldn't cut. I'm not sure where I got the notion they didn't tell us anymore when the camera was on, but, sure enough, when I activated the "take a picture of your signature" function in Preview, the green LED illuminated. Mea culpa for propagating bad rumors (but I wish the charger/transformer blocks or cable plugs still told us when they were receiving a/c power).
Yes, but you are assuming that the camera and light can't be independently controlled.
Washington Post said:
Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning
MacBooks are designed to prevent software running on the MacBook’s central processing unit (CPU) from activating its iSight camera without turning on the light. But researchers figured out how to reprogram the chip inside the camera, known as a micro-controller, to defeat this security feature...That allows the camera to be turned on while the light stays off.
They only looked at 2008 and older Macs but suggested this would work on newer models. Who knows if Apple has made any other changes which prevent this since then - like hard-wiring the light directly to the camera's power source, so it can't even be powered on without the light coming on.

Is this within the capabilities of scammers? Who knows. One of the scam emails I received specifically addressed this, claiming that their malware was designed to not turn on the light when the camera was on, so I would not have noticed they were recording me.
 




The notion of nefarious use of my MacBook Pro’s camera is disturbing, but it seems like a rather remote possibility. I have never even used FaceTime, on any device.

I have received several of these emails. The fact that I have no interest in porn and have never visited porn sites makes it very clear, aside from all the other telltale signs of grift, that these emails are just a scam. Aging pet sitters are just not prime marks for these scamsters. If they could blackmail me for following Curious Zelda or Mo the Screaming Staffy or Viiru the Cat on social media, I’d be in trouble.
 


The notion of nefarious use of my MacBook Pro’s camera is disturbing, but it seems like a rather remote possibility.
This is my opinion as well. Although it has been demonstrated that one can push firmware into the camera to disable the LED, someone still needs to install that software. You can't just craft a web page with a "<DisableWebCamLight/>" tag to make this happen.

In other words, for someone to secretly install this hack, you would have to run the installer yourself, or some piece of malware would have to install it.

My recommendation (at least until I learn something that changes it) is that you shouldn't have to worry about this unless you have already found yourself victim of a malware infection. If you have, then you should check to see if your camera firmware is compromised (I'm not sure how to do this), in addition to checking for other kinds of compromised system firmware. If you can't check it, then by all means, install a cover over the camera.
 


Does anybody here use the iOS app WideProtect, developed by Valerii Andrusyk?

I just saw a mention of it in the comments to a MacRumors article. WideProtect is designed to block robocalls, based on the (usually spoofed) area code and prefix of the incoming call. It sounds useful so I wanted to see if the MiT community had any experiences or comments to share.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... WideProtect is designed to block robocalls, based on the (usually spoofed) area code and prefix of the incoming call. It sounds useful so I wanted to see if the MiT community had any experiences or comments to share.
I can't comment on WideProtect, but, as I've noted before, I'm using Malwarebytes for iOS, which blocks some spam/scam calls and lets you report bad calls when they get through.

A simple trick suggested by a friend, though, has worked incredibly well and made me happier, especially for one phone number that gets a great deal of scam/spam abuse:

In iOS Settings, enable Do Not Disturb with Silence Always and Allow Calls From All Contacts.

Scam calls from unknown numbers never ring, which is simply wonderful, and I can report them to Malwarebytes when they leave spam messages and easily block the number and delete it from the Recent Calls list (to avoid accidentally returning one).

Meanwhile, calls from any contacts in my address book ring normally, and a legitimate caller from an unknown number can still leave a voice message.
 



Does anybody here use the iOS app WideProtect, developed by Valerii Andrusyk?
I've been using it for a couple or three months now. It definitely has cut down on the number of times the phone rings each day with spam calls; spammers apparently are so stupid that they think I'll ignore 203-555-1212 but I'll pick up 203-555-1214, and WideProtect cuts out all of that nonsense.

Unfortunately, that still leaves many area codes and exchanges to block, as they appear before I list them with WideProtect. I suppose I could pre-list area codes (too coarse a block, in my opinion) and exchanges, but these calls already waste enough of my time...

The only demerits I can think of are that
1) sometimes WideProtect seems to take a bit to kick in; a few times I've blocked an area code/exchange only to hear the phone ring an hour or so after that with the same digits (different last four, of course). Not sure why that happens, but the area code/exchange is silent after that. And,
2) when I go into (iOS) Settings/Phone/Call Blocking & Identification, WideProtect shows 20 different apps (block lists?) "running" on the phone. I don't know how much storage or CPU time that's taking up (doesn't seem to be much), but it doesn't look elegant.
 


I've been getting a sudden increase in spam text messages. Apart from the usual 'lonely young ladies' there have been several that simply say "Stop" - I assume this is to look like someone texting a courier service to delay a delivery. I just block them (and I wish that wasn't such a byzantine procedure in iOS).
 


I've been getting a sudden increase in spam text messages. Apart from the usual 'lonely young ladies' there have been several that simply say "Stop" - I assume this is to look like someone texting a courier service to delay a delivery. I just block them (and I wish that wasn't such a byzantine procedure in iOS).
Or the spammer spoofed your number and, to make it look legit, had the classic "to opt out of these messages reply 'Stop'". I've had several people call me to ask why I called them. Of course I hadn't, I was just the lucky fake number that showed on Caller ID.
 


I've been getting a sudden increase in spam text messages. Apart from the usual 'lonely young ladies' there have been several that simply say "Stop" - I assume this is to look like someone texting a courier service to delay a delivery. I just block them (and I wish that wasn't such a byzantine procedure in iOS).
I use Hiya, and it works reasonably well. The problem with blocking specific numbers, even from a data base with hundreds of thousands of numbers, is that the perps can keep changing numbers.

I do not know how to make it worthwhile for officials to go after the bad actors for all kinds of spam anywhere in the world. I would like a legal system where every spam call or email results in an automatic $1.00 bill sent to the FCC or other government agency that, in turn, is required by law to pay the bill. All of sudden, the incentive to do something becomes real.

The phone company could have killed all phone calls whose Caller ID differs from the routing code years ago. It is a matter of incentive, in my opinion. Or the wheel needs to squeak loud enough.

My mom's phone is equipped with an answering requirement to enter 1 to ring her phone. It works very well to cut out the robo calls.
 


The problem with blocking specific numbers, even from a data base with hundreds of thousands of numbers, is that the perps can keep changing numbers.
Worse than that - they routinely forge Caller ID numbers, so every spam call has a different ID. If you start blocking them all, you'll end up blocking hundreds or thousands of innocent phone numbers.

And since (at least has been my experience), their forged numbers seem to be designed to be local to me - they share my area code and the first three digits of my phone number. So sooner or later, I'll end up blocking people I know if I just block them all.
The phone company could have killed all phone calls whose Caller ID differs from the routing code years ago. It is a matter of incentive, in my opinion. Or the wheel needs to squeak loud enough.
I've a friend who works for a major telco, and I asked him why they can't do this. There are several problems with it.

The first is regulatory. Phone companies are legally "common carriers." This grants them several legal benefits, but it also means they are legally obligated to complete every call they receive. If they pick and choose what to complete and what to reject, they lose that status. Even in the case of people forging caller ID values, they don't want to risk legal problems, so they won't do this unless there are laws (or FCC regulations) explicitly permitting them to do so.

The second problem is that you can't just blindly match caller ID against the origin, because there are legitimate uses for providing different IDs. For instance, calls originating from a call center (e.g. a help desk) frequently use caller ID values that point to the call center's main access number, not the desk phone of the person who actually placed the call. So any such matching needs to take this into consideration (e.g. check to see if the origin and the ID are owned by the same person/organization). It can be very hard to do this in a way that never rejects a legitimate call.

The third problem is that it is actually very difficult to determine the true origin of an incoming call.

If the call originates on your network, then, sure, your systems have the complete call-trace. You know the exact circuit that originated the call and who it belongs to.

If the call originates on a different network (e.g. caller is on Verizon and recipient is on AT&T), the receiving network probably doesn't know which circuit/customer originated the call. You can check to see if the number in the caller ID corresponds to the same network you received the call from, but you probably can't go any further without accessing the other network's internal records, and they are not going to grant access without a court order.

It gets even worse if the call originates from a different country, or if it is routed through several different operators (e.g. call placed from a phone in Romania might pass through Hungary, Austria, Germany and France before getting to a transatlantic fiber to carry it to the US). Each operator along the path isn't going to know much more about the origin than the particular trunk/cable used to carry the call from the previous-hop operator. In order to identify the origin, you're talking about getting access to many different networks in many nations. You're not likely to be able to get that kind of access without Interpol warrants, and even then, it isn't going to happen before the first ring.

But the scammer is probably in the US, not Romania, right? Maybe, but they often place calls via a hacked switches in other countries. And they can use the hacked switch to explicitly route the call all over the place, not only along the shortest path to your phone. So even with an American scammer, the call might still trace to a random (hacked) phone switch in a distant country, assuming you could perform the trace in the first place.

But, OK, maybe you can at least compare the caller ID with the country of origin (or the previous-hop country)? Not necessarily - the call might not go straight from the point of entry to your phone's carrier. It might have to be relayed through one or more domestic carriers to get to you from there.

Finally, there are even legitimate reasons why you might get a US caller ID from a foreign circuit - for example, international roaming. If you use your US SIM card to place a call from Europe, for instance, the caller ID will carry your US phone number, but the call will be carried on a European circuit.

There would need to be significant changes to the phone network's signaling protocols to provide an accurate trace to recipients. Existing protocol are only concerned with notifying the originating network, since that is the network that will be paying the cost of completing the call, and the originating network doesn't need a trace because it is the network that computed the path to place the call in the first place.

In other words, what you are asking for is much more difficult than you think. It would require significant changes to both the technical and legal infrastructure of the global phone network to even have a prayer of success and even then, it would be extremely hard to distinguish scammers from legitimate calls in a way that never blocks a legitimate call.
 


BKN

And since (at least has been my experience), their forged numbers seem to be designed to be local to me - they share my area code and the first three digits of my phone number. So sooner or later, I'll end up blocking people I know if I just block them all.
This is exactly what iOS apps with "neighbor blocking" like MyNumberBlocker and Hiya are designed to do, and they do it well. They block numbers with the same area code and prefix as your phone number but whitelist your contacts so they do not get blocked, even if they share the same first six digits with your phone number. All others get sent directly to voicemail, and as we know, most scammers don't leave voicemail messages.

That is pretty much the main feature and purpose of MyNumberBlocker, while it is one of the free features added within the last year or so in Hiya. There are probably other iOS apps that do the same; those are two I've tried with success.
 


I've a friend who works for a major telco, and I asked him why they can't do this. There are several problems with it.
David, the telcos have been claiming much the same points for years. They even testified to Congress on the lack of technology to solve the problem. I can't fully agree with many of the points mentioned. It just doesn't add up.

First off, there are already laws in place to cover the issue. These robocall/telemarketers routinely violate the Do Not Call list. Every call I have received for as long as I can recall also violates several other rules (things like stating business name - they all hang up if you ask the real company name or where they are located).

These people are criminals. Both in the "letter of the law" sense and (in most cases) for the deceptive businesses they are hawking. This can be stopped, but there is apparently no real interest is doing so from the government or the telcos. As is usually the case, I believe the answer can be found by following the money.

The person making the call has to be billed. Some network of switches has to connect that call to the recipient. Within the US, this can easily be "traced," even among different carriers. I agree that the government would likely need to be involved. How hard can that be? We are not talking about a few calls here and there... these bottom-feeders have distinctive calling patterns... thousands or tens of thousands of calls every day from spoofed caller IDs. You don't need Sherlock Holmes to spot the pattern.

By contrast, try moving some cash around to different banks to "hide" your deposits. You'll have the feds breaking down your door and end up on a no-fly list before you get home.

Routing through different countries poses a bigger hurdle, especially if going through a country that doesn't want to cooperate. But how is "call laundering" any different in this case from "money laundering?" If you are in Miami and making ten thousand calls a day to Boca Raton routed through Romania - shouldn't that raise a red flag with the telco? I think it just raises a "green" flag for them to protect a "high revenue" client.

If the other country won't cooperate, we (government and/or telco) fine or flag them. We do it to banks. These are "illegal" phone calls where the caller is intentionally masking their identity in violation of US rules for telemarketers. The laws are there - the desire to enforce is not.

Follow the money. Someone is making money on the call from Miami to Romania to Hungary and back to Boca. The originating carrier, the locations along the way, and the receiving carrier are likely all in on it. Stopping this obscene practice takes money out of their pockets and that's the real reason they dodge the issue.

There are few things that get my back up as much as these low-life cretins.
 


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