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.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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