Fun With CallerID

I got my Sipura yesterday and spent the evening configuring it and my Asterisk server. I was in a high-fiving mood once I heard it ring. Woot!

One cool thing I experimented with was the ability to set the outgoing CallerID to anything I want. In essence, you can fake a call from anywhere. I assume it works for *69, too, meaning those prank calls just became much more fun.

On Metafilter today, I found a company that haqs found an interesting use for this, um “flexible” CallerID stuff. Dial-A-Cheater fakes a call from your suspected home-wrecker, allowing you to see how your significant-other reacts.

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Randall for Congress breaks the law?

A neighbor got a political robocall on behalf of Randall for Congress yesterday. While that’s not unusual, what IS unusual is that the company calling on behalf of Randall spoofed the CallerID on the call, pointing it to a disconnected number in the 919 area code. This is in apparent violation of NCGS § 75-100, North Carolina’s Telephone Solicitation Law:

(i) No telephone solicitor shall knowingly use any method to block or otherwise circumvent a telephone subscriber’s use of a caller identification service. No provider of telephone caller identification services shall be held liable for violations of this subsection committed by other individuals or entities.

Here’s what my neighbor said about the call:

I got a robocall last night in which a person claiming to be Maria Schrader (sp?) representing African American conservatives encouraged me to vote for Bill Randall for congress. My caller id showed her number as 919-521-8593. I called back to ask to be taken off the list and got an automated message indicating the the number had been disconnected or was no longer in service.

I’m not too impressed with the use of forged callerid, so I left a message on the “Randall for Congress” line and got a call back this morning from Tom Price who informed me that the robocall came from Washington Political Group. I called them at 678-794-9988 and Don Burrell said he would take my number off their calling list.

Longtime MT.Net readers know I don’t take kindly to callers using forged CallerID. I’m sad to see it has come to North Carolina politics. I hope the attorney general steps in and smacks any campaign that tries to do it, as they so clearly deserve it.

Scam call from 724-978-8989

Some folks on the Internet are reporting a scam phone call from 724-978-8989, claiming the person called has won $3000 travel dollars or somesuch. I just got a call from the number on my mobile and never heard a thing. For the folks who are finding this from an Internet search, the number shown on your CallerID has been faked. Don’t attempt to drive to Pennsylvania to exact revenge.

It looks like the phone scammers are still at it. My blog has been getting many hits lately for Tuscany Industries. And many searches for warranty scams. Peruse my Meddling category for more of my sleuthing.

More on the Police Protective Fund

I did some more poking around the Police Protective Fund and discovered more.

The state of Missouri tipped me off that the “charity” is incorporated here in North Carolina, of all places, and lists a corporate services company on Hillsborough Street as its registered agent.

Its also licensed charity number SL000978 in North Carolina, with a number of documents available online from the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website.

I found the Filing Amendment dated 22 August 2008 to be notable. PPF’s law firm states PPF does not use professional solicitors or fundraising counsels in the state of North Carolina. Yet I have been unable to determine any presence the firm may have in North Carolina. So the question remains as to why did I receive a call from a Charlotte-area telephone number? Is PPF falsifying the CallerID of its solicitation calls?

I’m embarrassed that this charity exists in North Carolina. There is more digging to be done here, to be sure.

VoIP and 911

A lot of people thinking of switching their phone service over to voice-over-IP (VoIP) are nervous about losing their ability to dial 911. While that used to be an issue it is not anymore, now that Enhanced 911 service is offered by most VoIP companies.

Our new home doesn’t have any landline service, so we’ve been relying on our mobile phones for dialing 911, simply because I hadn’t gotten around to configuring 911 service for our Asterisk-based home phone system. Well, I did that Monday night. It took a few clicks on the Vitelity webpage, some Asterisk-Fu to get the dialplan set up, and then we were in business. It costs an extra $1.49 per month but that all goes to support the 911 system. Which is a good cause, I think.
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Our outrageous phone bill

We just got our phone bill today – and boy, was it outrageous. It isn’t outrageously expensive, though: its outrageously cheap!

We’ve been charged $20 for our phone service. That’s right: twenty bucks … since May 15th! That’s $20 for ten weeks of service! And its all because we switched our phone service from AT&T to the Voice over IP (VoIP) provider Vitelity. We get two phone numbers, CallerID, and the ability for more than one simultaneous call.

Our base Bellsouth/AT&T bill used to be around $47.00/month. Long distance calling would tack on an extra $20 to that. Thus, our phone bill was often above $60/month.

Put another way, what we used to pay $60 per month for we now get for a jaw-dropping $8 per month! And through the magic that VoIP brings, we’re getting more features now for far, far less!

Voice over IP phone service isn’t rock solid, and it doesn’t always have the highest call quality. To save an extra 52 bucks each month, though, we can live with it!