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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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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