Have you ever wondered how countless spam phone calls can use your area code to make you believe the call could be coming from someone you may know?
The answer to that question is awful, but what is far more disturbing is the potential threat to our national security because of companies that are only concerned with their bottom line.
The Baltimore Post decided to look into one aspect of this problem by focusing on the giant cable provider (and media conglomerate) Comcast. The Baltimore Post made one phone call to cable giant (and media conglomerate) Comcast and, believe it or not, the audio below was provided without any hesitation by a customer service agent.
Please click the audio clip below: Comcast Customer Service and Support
What is amazing about the audio clip is that Comcast freely admitted to a policy that we believe is far more menacing than any Russian collusion investigation. (And doesn’t it seem like that investigation has been going on forever?)
Basically, you can live anywhere else in the world and have a Baltimore phone number as long as you have money.
How can this threaten national security, you may ask? Think of this scenario: you are a terrorist living in the Middle East and you want to establish a scam in the United States to gain access to the personal information of U.S. citizens. You get a Baltimore phone number and call some unsuspecting Baltimore citizens who believe that they are speaking to someone down the street. You’ve just circumvented our nation’s security for a modest cost.
Folks, if you receive these phone calls trying to get your personal information, and we have recorded a number of them, what you hear in the background is what is referred to as a boiler room. You hear many voices in the background pitching the same scam to potential victims.
Here is an article from the Minnesota Attorney General that deals with how to handle such spam calls from unscrupulous telemarketers. Read how the scammers obtain the information required to make these types of phone calls:
Spoofing technology allows scam artists to trick caller ID into displaying false information. Scam artists realize many people no longer answer calls from phone numbers with unfamiliar area codes or that display no caller ID information, or “unknown,” on their caller ID. By spoofing local phone numbers or information into caller ID devices, scam artists hope their calls will appear familiar enough to entice the recipient to answer.
But that is not how it always goes down, folks. There is no spoofing of technology in some cases. Comcast basically does the spoofing … for a price.
The same type of scam can happen through another media giant–Google. Google gives everyone explicit instructions on how to create a fake local phone number.
Do you remember Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg appearing before Congress to defend his company’s actions in a very similar manner of doing business? Anyone can create as many pseudonyms or fake identities as they choose on Facebook, which can certainly benefit scammers that want to use the social networking site to further their agenda.
Facebook reached out to the Baltimore Post via phone encouraging us to further use their services in reaching more readers. We responded that we stand against allowing individuals to create fake names and personas from which the can attack or berate others. We told Facebook not changing their policy to stop this kind of activity would clearly impact their credibility and decrease trust among those who use their site.
Facebook asked if we wanted to file a formal complaint, which we declined to do based on our belief that nothing would actually change.
Some of the very same issues we complained about were also matter of conversation between Zuckerberg and members of Congress during the recent hearings.
The fact of the matter is these communication giants actually can manipulate an outcome of an election, as was described during the congressional hearings. We also learned from the testimony that some sites, mostly conservative ones, were actually censored.
Our position is that public discourse and debate are something guaranteed in the Constitution under the First Amendment. But those deep in the shadows spilling vile misinformation cannot be held accountable because they lack the courage to stand behind what they say by establishing their true identity. Many of these comments from fake profiles can destroy a person’s life through the practice of cyberbullying or libel.
This is why these media giants must take action NOW.
If Facebook, Google, and Comcast do not address these issues, someone else will. We just need an entrepreneur with the drive and knowledge to create a more secure way to communicate and share information that still protects the First Amendment rights of everyone.
Maybe a class-action lawsuit will stop the media giants from continuing practices that hurt our populous and threaten our national security. We suppose only time, and the courts, will tell.