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Many people have noticed a recent uptick in unknown callers as telemarketers get wise to new technologies to spoof numbers and spam phones with unwanted calls. But no one has dealt with it quite so thoroughly as South Carolina real estate agent Kim France, who, for five straight days in June, was the unlucky recipient of hundreds upon hundreds of robocalls.
She realized something was up when she woke up to 225 missed calls one morning, but she would have figured it out even without that: Her phone rang every few minutes for five days straight, making it impossible to place calls, compose texts, or even take photos. Even worse, since she’s in a line of business that involves answering calls from unknown numbers all the time, France’s business was effectively taken offline for as long as her phone was.
Perhaps most disconcertingly, there’s little France could have done to make it stop: She tried Do Not Disturb mode, but if the same number rings twice in a row, the second call will still make it through. She tried installing tools that block known robocall numbers, but spoofing makes it possible for the perpetrators to hide the call’s true origin. She even tried getting the police, lawyers, and her cell provider (Verizon) involved, to no avail.
Even the co-creator of RoboKiller, a technology that ironically uses bots to combat bots, said his product would likely have been useless against such an attack. His best advice? Simply grin and bear it, asking family and friends to contact you another way for a few days. And remember, if you do accidentally answer one, don’t say “yes.”
Read the full report on Ars Technica.
Monica Riese now serves as the Daily Dot’s director of production, having previously been the publication’s entertainment editor and assistant managing editor. She is based in Austin, Texas, and formerly contributed to the Austin Chronicle, where her breaking news work was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.