Every time I think I’m getting too cynical, some asshole or another will come along and remind me that I’m not cynical enough.
A recent example is the horrific car warranty “telemarketing” which has plagued my cell phone in the past few weeks.
My cell phone, get it?
I’ve had it for years, and like many clueless Americans, I always kind of assumed that cell phones were sacrosanct, and that no one could call them unless you were dumb enough to give out your number. No more. The latest generation of criminal spammers uses robocall technology to randomly generate numbers in the hope of targeting any that ring.
And on top of that, they use Caller ID spoofing (available here to anyone) to completely conceal their location and identity.
Mind you, although I’m sophisticated enough to Google a number that appears to be the source of a harassing phone call, at first I was foolish enough to believe that someone named “Angie Xxxxxx” in Chewelah, Washington was behind the suspicious car warranty scam. But then I also saw that another woman named “Euralee Xxxxxx” in New Bern, North Carolina was also involved. (I tried calling both of “them” back, but naturally, “their” numbers have been disconnected.)
I learned that these same two “people” (who probably once had listed phone numbers) had been irritating thousands of clueless citizens just like me, who dutifully checked them out, and warned others:

Why can’t the federal government get their s@$t together, crack down on this crap and figure out how to protect their citizens. We are paying billions to companies with outstretched hands and this is what we get. Now the FCC is trying to ditch analog TV signals to sell to cell phone companies and for what so we can have more of this crap? I have had it. I want my money back! These people won’t stop calling even after being on the national do not call list!
2009-04-29 02:32:47 UTCkegler280
Received call on my business cell today. Didn’t even bother answering. I knew that this was the same a@#holes that called the other week from 262-513-8290. This is clearly a scam. I don’t know how they’re getting away with this. These people have no conscience. They should be strung up!!!

Well, in all probablity, they are not even telemarketers, but criminal phishers, and they might not even be in the United States.
It’s easy to say that this should be made illegal, but it already is. The best analogy is to Nigerian spammers. What bothers me is that there is nothing to stop them from calling your cell phone, and in what seems like a cruel joke, impersonating ordinary people, who then find themselves hated by thousands and getting death threats:

An anonymous reader writes
“A nice little old lady I know has had her number spoofed by some car warranty scammers. They’re calling hundreds of potential victims per day pretending to use her phone number, and the angry ones call her back; some of them have even left death threats. She’s terrified. Some well-intending anti-telemarketing folks have posted her address on the ‘net as well. How can we figure out where these scammer bastards are, and what’s the state of the current legislation to prevent caller ID spoofing? I called the FBI in Boston (near where she lives) and they said they can’t help. She’s called her phone company, but they said they can’t help either. She’s had the same number for over 50 years and doesn’t want to change it.”
If the Feds can’t or won’t handle it, what’s the best approach here?

I feel very sorry for this woman (like the two who appeared on my Caller ID, her mistake appears to be that of having a listed phone number), but I don’t know what the Feds can do. Technology is outpacing the ability to police it.
As to the “DO NOT CALL” registry, forget it. It’s useless against criminals, and besides, many of these people are beyond the reach of the United States.
It’s easy to say, “just change your number!” but I don’t want to do that. What would be really nice would be to track some of these people down, and see to it that they are severely punished.
Maybe I should update the Classical Values Torture Poll, and ask readers which punishment should be applied to spoofed Caller ID telemarketing spammers.