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No tech that can't be abused
*Sigh*. It is depressing to realize that I am beginning to want not just anti-virus for my phone, but anti-malware filters for my text messages. I just got a text that is a *screamingly* obvious phishing spam, but I suspect a lot of people will fall for it anyway...

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I want a remote detonation switch that works on malware senders.

And that includes Grandma's Friends who forward heartwarming stories about urban myths and various stereotypes. Goodbye Grandma's Friend's Computer.

Interesting to me, on Android, I have installed Lookout. It can pre-screen calls before you make them, and tell you if you are returning a call to a known spammer.

It does not filter incoming email, text or calls. I have a dynamic caller ID program that shows the originating location for calls - but that is only useful SOMETIMES.

What does the dynamic caller ID do? I was flabbergasted when we dealt with caller ID at Convoq, and I discovered that normal caller ID is, on a technical level, essentially meaningless -- if you know what you're doing, you can make it show more or less anything. One of the few major technical systems that appals me even worse than the financial system...

It shows the geo-location of the ostensible ID on the call.

True that said ID may be completely bogus... sigh.

It affects my behavior in the following way. If a call comes in from a known number, I take it. If it comes from the local area, I am likely to take it. If it comes from a geo-location I have recently called, I take it.

If not, generally, I don't answer, and send to voice mail, and I check that. If there is no voice mail, I return the call through Lookout to see if it is a known spammer.

One phone spammer was calling with caller ID from around the country, and it was up to 2-3 a day. I got defensive.

Spam used to be like car burglary, random and infrequent and look less appealing than your neighbor. It's really tiring now that it's a flood, pressing on all weak spots simultaneously...

Personally I'm shocked it's taken this long for this sort of thing to become a problem.

These have been problems for ages! So frustrating to see scammers are still doing it.

I was a top-tier agent for a cell phone company at one point. When you get one of those, if you have some time, call your provider to let them know. They're happy to take the info down; it helps them track down and prosecute people doing that stuff. In the two or three years I worked for that provider, I heard of half-a-dozen different scam groups that got busted because people took the time to report messages like those. It's best to call really early in the morning if you can for stuff like this; it's usually pretty slow before 7am EST and making the report is really easy if you can access the message with the tech to give him/her the shortcode sending, the time/date, company name being claimed as the source, and what ph# the SMS is asking you to call. You don't want to call after about 9pm EST for non-technical matters as about all the people left at providers' call centers are super-techy sorts who won't have the faintest idea how to deal with a phishing report.

In this particular case, it doesn't claim to be from a company: it's disguised as a personal message, which contains a URL (obfuscated so I can't tell where it goes to, but I'm not going to open it). The general smell is that of malware distribution.

Anyway, hadn't occurred to me that the phone companies actively prosecute this stuff. I'll see if I still have the thread live on my phone with the information -- thanks...

Most welcome :) Yeah, phone companies get tetchy about people sending fraudulent stuff over their systems.

Just wait: Some day you'll be mugged while in London and need a friend back home to wire you money. Won't you be sorry then!

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