How robocallers make money even when calls go unanswered

Posted at 10:53 AM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 10:53:17-04

Even if you ignore that annoying robocall, the person behind it might still be making money off the call.

It has to do with caller ID services, as the Wall Street Journal explains in a look at the problem. When a call is made, phone companies query caller ID databases in an attempt to identify the person calling; the companies pay small fees (typically between $0.0025 and $0.005) when a match is made and a name is displayed.

Some caller-ID databases then pass along some of those fees to the company that controls a caller's phone number or the company making the call.

Scammers can purchase blocks of unused phone numbers, submit fake names and addresses for those numbers to caller-ID databases, and watch the pennies trickle in.

With millions of robocalls made per day, those pennies add up. See the Journal for more, including what carriers are doing about the issue.

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