Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Phone Phishing (spam): coming soon to the elderly and the vulnerable

Net phone customers brace for 'VoIP spam' | Tech News on ZDNet

It's not just Net phones. Lately our home phone, which is not VOIP, has been getting phishing calls. Non-native english speakers who want to let me know that the Feds want to give me $10,000.00. (Hush money from GWB? I think not.)

With VOIP to voice linkages it's cost effective to set up a virtual phone bank across south Asia, China, and perhaps sub-saharan africa. If 10,000 callers were to participate in a pyramid-like phone phishing scheme, and each were to make 400 calls a day, that's 4 million calls a day. A call every few months -- assuming no automation. If the initial call is automated (screen out the able minded, avoid recordings, etc) it would be easy to scale to hit ever phone in the US every day.

Laws? You must be joking.

How well does phishing work? I've read that the hit rate is 1/40,000 for email. That's enough to provide a relatively small number of desperate and/or immoral people with a superb income. Who falls for these shemes? Do the math. Far more than 1/40,000 people have early dementia, schizophrenia, pyschosis, and a range of cognitive disabilities. They are frail, vulnerable, soft meat for these scum sucking vultures. (Ok, so I'm mad.)

The email route does limit the population of vulnerable persons. The phone route provides far better pickings; the equivalent of a valley full of fat deer to a hungry tiger.

We will come to miss the days that long distance phone service cost a lot of money.

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