Coffee heat rising

Robocall Exploits: Part II

LOL! So the robocall scammers, presumably annoyedreally annoyed — at NoMoRobo so consistently derailing their nuisance calls ever since I subscribed to the program — doubled down today. As I reported this morning, one of them apparently drained the battery from one of my landline handsets, when I tried to use it to espy their caller ID. An hour or two later, in came a barrage of phone calls from area code 186.

This makes it impossible to report an unblocked call to NoMoRobo’s online reporting page. To do so, you have to enter the number’s area code, and NoMoRobo does not recognize an area code beginning with the numeral “1” — and so it won’t take the rest of the number that shows on your Caller ID, either. Clever exploit, eh?

These assholes call me several times. The number they’re using is 186-467-6230.

Turns out that 186-467-6230 is a number used by those scammers who call up elderly people and claim to be an adult grandchild, niece, or nephew who, as the hustle goes, has been arrested (or has been injured in an accident) and needs money fast to make bail or to pay for medical care. Click on that link: the stories it elicits range from astonishing to hilarious.

HOW a grown man or woman could fall for these pitches escapes comprehension. What planet do these folks live on? Do they never watch a TV news show or read a newspaper or cruise the Internet or hang out with their old college cronies on Facebook? Do they spend ALL their time filling out crossword puzzles? The “I’m in jail, send money now” scam has been around for so many years, you can’t even imagine how anyone could fall for it.

At any rate, it was a real blitz today. Half a dozen calls came in, of which three were attempts by the 186 scammers to get through. And the apparent draining of my bathroom extension phone’s battery: that was scary. If they can reach out to your equipment with some kind of code or signal and cause damage, that represents a serious problem. Fortunately, the other handsets were unaffected…only the one I picked up to try to disconnect the call was attacked. But still: this is not good.

New Robocaller Exploit? Or…just coincidence?

I think — being the paranoiac that I am — that a robocaller just broke one of my landline handsets. As you know, I now subscribe to NoMoRobo, which works with amazing effectiveness against telephone pests. And you can be sure that the electronics the pests use can detect the presence of NoMoRobo when the program derails incoming nuisances.

So this afternoon the phone jangles. Caller ID reads, weirdly, Welcome! Please wait…

WTF?

So I wait for it to ring through to my voicemail so I can capture their data and, if as suspected it’s a sales pitch, I can hang up on the bastards. When they give up, I click on the “last call” button to capture the phone number and caller ID so as to send it along to NoMoRobo, which collects this stuff. And what I got was…NOTHING.

Blank. Nothing. Dead as a doornail.

Well, f**k.

So I tried another phone set, and from that was able to download the (without a doubt spoofed) phone number. Sent this and a report of the exploit along to NoMoRobo.

But…this is a new one. That phone was not out of juice. It was sitting on a charger when I picked it up. And yeah, the charger was plugged in. So drained was it that it took about ten minutes for the handset to come back to life.

Now, you know and I know that I am batsh!t crazy. With that in mind, you will have to add whatever grains of salt you choose to this speculation:

I suspect that somehow they did something to disable my phone.

We know this is possible for cell phones: the technology exists to drain a cell phone’s power. Maybe this works on a battery-operated landline extension????

Why? Somebody out there (not surprisingly) really, REALLY does not like people to subscribe to NoMoRobo.

Anybody had this experience before?