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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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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