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Why are callers allowed to block their number from caller ID?

Posted Monday, August 10, 2009, at 1:46 PM

As you might guess, I am the recipient of a growing number of recorded calls that block the caller I.D. It is not just on my land line but my cell as well. I am SURE that I am not alone on this and that you have asked the question, but maybe someone has also heard some answers.

If someone does not want me to know who is calling, they have NO right to call me. The Feds have the "Do Not Call" directories but in their wisdom, they allow these folks to block their I.D.s? Hello? I bet they know my number regardless if called with a perceived threat.

I have one Riddle & Woods calling me for Ralph P*****h and his account number is 234********82 and they want me to call back during THEIR business hours even though they called me at 8:00 PM on Friday night and again on Sunday afternoon. Which I did by the way and they were not open! And when they did answer they hung up on me as soon as they realized I was not the person.

Then I call my carrier to see if they could look at my records and block what they see, but what they see is already on my blocked calls, so the company has a network of dummy phone numbers that show up on records but is not really the number they are calling from. Should that be legal? H**l NO!

I get a credit card refinance offer from another on the AT&T system and they can not get the number they called me without a court order! The laws protect the company that is bugging me??!!

So what is a valid reason for allowing callers to block their number?

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I've had problems with a few bots.

I think some have as much trouble adhering to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as humans have abiding by the Ten Commandments.

Perhaps,someday,their responsometers will get reconfigured so that they will avoid nuisance behavior.

(But,then,maybe they're doing a better job than we are of emulating their creators.)

-- Posted by quantumcat on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 11:08 PM

I would LOVE to have something that fries their phone line. I realize that the callers are trying to make a living, so I would not do them bodily harm by blowing air horn, but.....let me think a little longer on that.

It would also be great to have something for spam e-mails that would feed back to the originator but with the botnets out there, I might fry my own. Can never tell!

By the way, a botnet is when many innocent computers have been taken over by malicious software and it becomes a sender of the same stuff we hate so much.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 1:48 PM

I think some of these calls deserve scientific scrutiny as they seem to come from a paralell world.

The callers from this alternate timeline refer to mortgages,credit cards and vehicles I don't have.

I've asked them for the VIN of the car they want to insure but they can't even tell me the make or the account number of the "lapsed" policy.

I've suggested that they *might* be a boiler room operation that doesn't have any information (including data on their bosses) but what has been included in their scripts.

I tell them I'd rather deal with more knowledgeable folks and suggest that if the employers are trying to mislead US,why would they not also seek to profit at the expense of the people manning the phonelines?

I've had DNR er..DNC put on my phones,had them unlisted,etc. and STILL gotten unknown and unsolicited calls.

Right now,I'm trying to limit the people who have my cell number to a "need-to-know" basis.

That pretty much restricts it to people I do business with,VERY close friends and people in my calling plan.

When a deluge of such annoyance calls tied up our phone during a family illness,we dedicated the landline to our computer.

We could reconnect if we needed 911,etc. and those who might need to talk to us had our email and cell phone data.

We'd check for messages regularly but a PC or phone on vibrate is not going to wake a critically ill person who's just gotten to sleep.

The people who make calls that won't disconnect need to ask themselves if they'd want to have their lifeline to the outside trapped by a recorded spiel when they're awaiting a call from a loved one or they need to call a crisis or emergency line in the event of crime,fire,injury or other life-threatening situation.

Ideally,such insensitive callers would not only trigger an instant,universal boycott,they (like other harassing callers) would be subject to attacks that could,at least,be painful and disabling.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Aug 13, 2009, at 2:54 PM

can my wife sue if I die while getting one of these calls? It would be worth getting the court order.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 9:55 PM

I am not doubting your explanation of abused women not wanting to be found, but why are they calling someone they do not trust?

I planned to block all "unknown caller" calls until I found out that MY cell phone occasionally comes up unknown when I am calling home. I thought maybe it was just when I was out of town but it happens sometimes when I am a few miles away! That must be the unresolved connection Nathan is talking about.

It is extremely maddening. I got a call while in the garden tonight. Had to wipe off my muddy hands only to find Unknown Number. Do people really do business with these folks?

But then to not even let the phone company get the number without a court order? I don't need the number, just identify it so they can block it!!!!

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 9:54 PM

My husband got one of these calls on his cell a few weeks back - he pressed the number to speak with someone and asked for their mailing address. I guess he was figuring that if they were a legit company they would give it to him. The woman on the other end went beserk after he asked for the mailing address. She proceeded to call him eery name in the book. After he hung up, she kept calling back - 5 more times.

We were kind of amused by her behavior, I mean why waste her time doing that instead of going to the next call?

-- Posted by cfrich on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 9:33 PM

I think I read that a lot of these calls aren't real placed by a real person. It's all done by computer. It's my guess that the system, with it's hug database of numbers, randomly call "fishing" for an answer.

If it is unsolicited it is definitely unwanted. Just another telemarketing type scheme to make you think that the call actually has some importance.

Remember the Federal Government truly has our best interests in mind when making the rules and not big business, LOL

-- Posted by SirJim on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 8:54 PM

I am WAY past just being annoyed by phone calls made by a recording. I ALWAYS hang up immediately and I will absolutely never do business with a company who does'nt have the common decency to contact me in person. The recording often starts with..."This is an important call" My absolute favorite is the one that starts with..."All of our personel are busy at this time, please hold for the next available operator" Yep, I hang up on that one too. I just wish these companies would have the decency or guts to speak to me with a real person.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 8:02 PM

Not all service providers can resolve a number to a name. AT&T cell phones will resolve when calling local AT&T landline. At least that has been my experience. Sometimes landline numbers calling other landline numbers do not properly resolve due to electronics data interchange problems that are fairly common. It is even possible to spoof your outgoing caller id information, causing the person receiving the call to believe that a call is coming from elsewhere. This ability is also widely known and can be used to easily gain access to your voice mail box or by your children to make you think that they are somewhere other than where they actually are.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 4:54 PM

I figure if you block your number from me so that I can't tell who is calling well THEN I just don't need to talk to you at all...Sorry..

-- Posted by RGeneW on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 4:17 PM

The original reason for Caller ID blocking was to protect the whereabouts of abused women. If one doesn't want to accept unknown callers, they can have the Telco place a recording on-line that tells the caller that if they wish to speak to that person they have to unblock the call. What I want to know is why does my cell phone only give the number and never the name of the caller, if it isn't blocked, but my landline does.

-- Posted by Tyger on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 3:08 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.