Field guide to robocalls

My new phone has a “record calls from unknown numbers” option, so I’ve started keeping recordings of all the different scam calls I get. Maybe it’ll be useful to someone.

Robocalls have become much more frequent in the last few years because scammers have been able to spoof the phone number they’re calling from, making them effectively untraceable. It really seems like phone carriers should be able to figure out where these calls are coming from, but they just make excuses about how some parts of the network aren’t digital yet and the information gets lost in the exchange (or something like that.)

The FCC is apparently trying to do something about this. As of April 2021 it seems like they’re actually making decent progress; they at least denied Verizon’s request to extend the deadline. The proposed new standard “STIR/SHAKEN” won’t by itself stop robocalls, but it will make spoofed numbers appear on your phone as “Unknown”, making them easy to block without missing legitimate calls. Or your carrier can choose to stop all “Unknown” calls before they reach you. Either way, phone scams will become less effective, and of course any scammers who use a real non-spoofed number can be found and prosecuted.

For now though, your phone’s “don’t ring for unknown numbers” setting is the best available band-aid for the robocall problem. Legitimate callers (and particularly stupid robocallers) are still able to leave a voicemail. Hopefully your phone has such a setting; Android and iOS have only supported this since around 2019.

First seen Last seen Recording Transcript Note
2021-02-24 2021-03-15

Dear citizen, this is to notify you that, due to a certain suspicious activities related to your social security number, we have been forced to suspend your social security number with immediate effect. Due to this, all your social benefits will be cancelled until further clearance. In case you feel this is due to an error, you may connect with legal cell of social security administration. In order to connect with a social security administration officer, press 1 now. In case we did not hear from you, your social will be blocked permanently. To connect with the officer now press 1 and you will be automatically be connected with the concern department.

You can report these directly to the SSA.
2021-03-08 2021-03-22

Hello, this is Officer Michael Brown, from Social Security Administration, to inform you that, due to some suspicious activities related to your social security number, we are forced to suspend your social security number with immediate effect. In case you feel this is an error, you may connect to the legal department of Social Security Administration. In order to connect a Social Security Administration officer, press 1. In case we did not hear from you, your social will be blocked permanently. To connect now, press 1 and you will be automatically connected to the concern department.

You can report these directly to the SSA.
2021-03-15 2021-03-22

Hello, this is to notify you that your social security number has been compromised so to find out some more information and to get connected with an officer press 1. I repeat, press 1 to get more details. Thank you.

You can report these directly to the SSA.
2021-03-24 2021-04-06

Dear customer this is Molly from Amazon we have noticed some fraudulent activities on your Amazon account regarding some unauthorized charge of $120 from unknown IP address estimated location Dayton Ohio kindly press 1 to talk with our Amazon security department thank you.

2021-03-26 2021-03-26

Dear Amazon customer there has been an order placed for an Apple iPhone 11 on your Amazon account from your payment card that is linked with your Amazon account for $549. If you did not place this order and want to cancel the order you can speak with our customer representative by pressing 1 else press 2 to approve.

2021-03-30 2021-04-01

Hello, this is Officer Michael Brown, from the Federal Reserve system. This call is to inform you that, due to some suspicious activities related to your bank account, we are forced to suspend all your bank accounts with immediate effect. In case if you feel this is an error, you may connect to the legal department of the Federal Reserve system. In order to connect a Federal Reserve system officer, press 1. In case we do not hear from you, your bank accounts will be blocked permanently. To connect now, press 1 and you will be automatically connected to the concern department.