Pity the phone, long abused by bad people like telemarketers and fraudsters and unable to do anything about it. Caller ID has no security capabilities – it’s completely spoofable. There are even apps for that with clever names like Spoofcard, Spooftel, SpoofApp, CallerID Faker and the charming TeleTurd. Thanks to VoIP, anyone anywhere can afford to call (relatively) rich targets in the US and Europe for next to nothing. So while we tend to complain when a legitimate company routes us to a call center overseas, the real threat is the rows of fraud company employees (junior social engineering associates?) dialing madly away from jurisdictions where enforcement is weak to nonexistent.

But help may be on the way. This week, we’ve seen the release of several reports on the problem, or at least parts of it. The FTC on October 16 published their latest National Do Not Call Registry Data Book. The FTC report is specific to telemarketing calls, revealing tremendous growth in the number of complaints, from 2,273,516 during FY 2011 to 3,840,572 during FY 2012.And we at Pindrop dropped our latest Phone Fraud Report. Our focus is on complaints of fraudulent calls. We tracked over 1.6 million instances of phone fraud, in the U.S from January – September. At this rate, there are almost 5 fraud calls every minute.

And tomorrow in Washington, DC, our CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan will join an FTC Summit to discuss unwelcome calls. The overall focus is on “robocalls” but Vijay will sit on a panel discussing Caller ID Spoofing and Call Authentication Technology.

Wouldn’t it be nice to trust the phone again?

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