Recently a client of ours that has about 1,000 nearly sequential toll free numbers felt they were being attacked by a Houston phone bank. Our Call Data Report (CDR) confirmed that an unscrupulous dialer had indeed dialed all of our clients numbers in order over a 2 day time span. You could see the dials in order, e.g. 888-555-2001, 888-555-2002, 888-555-2003 even though we had some numbers on different RespOrgs and running traffic through different carriers. It was no surprise that the ANIs (caller’s number as it appears on the caller ID) was not in service. There was a substantial number of calls and hence fees so naturally the client wanted to know “Who is dialing my toll free numbers?”
The short answer is we do not know. Maybe they're just trying to see which phone numbers connect and which ones don't in an attempt to see what numbers to call in a robo-call campaign. In an election year such as this, robo-call campaigns run rampant with political messages. It's free for the campaigner and only ridiculously annoying to 99% of the people on the other end of the toll free phone number. I guess that 1% could be the vote needed to push an election in a different direction.
We believe that some national toll free registry listing companies dial toll free numbers to see which numbers are in service and who as the end business are using them. To test this theory, we setup some auto attendants that state the name of a fictitious business and offer phone tree routing that doesn’t go anywhere. The goal is to find this fictitious business name and number on Google in the future. We hope to have some insight late 2012.
What can a business do about it? Not much I am afraid. We do have the ability to block numbers based on ANI, but it is a game like whack-a-mole. As soon as you block one ANI, they are calling from another. And so on. If it becomes bad enough, the carriers can take some action, but the unscrupulous dialers seem to keep the intensity and frequency of their attacks down to the annoying level. Depending on th the results of our auto-attendant test, perhaps we'll have the solution to this problem soon.
photo credit: ellenmac11
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