Stop robocalls act

What, if anything, is being worked on to accommodate the American Stop Robocalls Act? Specifically, what can FreePBX/Asterisk users do to prevent their legitimate phone numbers from being marked as SPAM / Robocalls?


Don’t run a robocall system.

Other than that there’s nothing in Asterisk/FreePBX that adds/removes SIP headers that makes a number look suspicious.

Side note: I think this “new way of fighting robocalls” with a software that will filter these numbers is a endless game.
I think they should make a rule that no robocalls (even appointment reminders) unless you signed up for it. And if a company robocalls you without permission they should be fined.

I know people will say that they are calling from spoofed phone numbers, but you can still track them by various methods.

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They have. There are rules about robo calls in place already including the fact they can’t call cell phones unless it’s an asked for (signed up) or emergency call (tornado, etc warnings). There is the “Do Not Call” list which should be honored.

However, the core of this is spammers/fraud and they don’t play by the rules. So no, they don’t honor the Do Not Call list nor do they follow rules about robo calling cell phones. The issue has been the enforcement of those rules and the penalties of breaking them. This is why things like STIR/SHAKEN are being introduced as the carrier level to help track and combat this.

All this new activity by the government is to enhance/shore up what is already there and adding new measures to help stop it and enforce it.

Lorne (@lgaetz) has put together a reasonably comprehensive white-listing system that should (IMHO) become a standard part of FreePBX. So, stopping robocalls on the inbound side works pretty well.

Now, on the outbound side, I understand there are scum-bags out there that use FreePBX, and there’s little we can do to stop them from this kind of “this is why we can’t have nice things” software.

We’ve seen a spate of suspicious requests from people, such as:

  • How can I set up a lot of callfiles so they run one at a time?
  • How can I set my system so that it uses a group of different Caller IDs?
  • How do I set up a call so that it’s a live call than then turns into a pre-recorded message?

I know. “I would never use this to SPAM people.”

Yet all of these are actually valid questions because they all can have valid use cases. Just like with filesharing and email, there are actual legitimate uses for them that get overshadowed by the bad actors.

Call files are used for various things, including Wake Up Calls and reminders. So making sure the callfiles are executed as needed or ordered or by time is a valid request.

Again, while suspicious there are numerous places that use individual CallerIDs for their users. That whole Direct DID feature people like having. On top of that we already know numerous people use FreePBX to act as a “hosted voice system” so yeah, they need to ability to output multiple CallerID’s.

Again, things like Paging and other features use this exact logic. So it can be a valid request.

It’s not the individual requests that should be raising red flags it’s the concept in which those requests are done it. All three of those requests could fall under legitimate use cases.

Yup, which is why I will continue to answer them. That’s part of the frustration. The bulk of us a responsible, customer-focused engineers trying to do the right thing. Then there’s the rest.

We’ve actually had a couple people get on and, at the outset, say there were setting up robocall server. I applaud their honesty and I think we even helped them, but it still makes me feel dirty. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the replies.

We don’t run a robocall system. Our use case is that we have a few very small web based startup businesses all run by the same individual. Previously the owner used the same cell phone number for all the businesses. This caused a couple dilemmas:

  • What voicemail greeting does he set on said cell phone, business A, B or C?
  • How does he answer incoming calls, as business A, B or C?

Using FreePBX and a SIP Trunking provider with several telephone numbers has solved that issue because now he can have a different phone number and associated IVR for each business on one FreePBX instance.
Additionally the outbound calls are sending the telephone number associated with the respective business.
Another benefit is we appear to be doing this for less that the cost of additional cell phone numbers.

I wanted to present this question to the community to find out how you all see these new regulations playing out and what measures we can take, if any, to make sure legitimate calls do not get marked as SPAM.

So far everything you described is based on some sort of call forwarding theory. These aren’t robo calls, these are a user calling in, selecting an IVR option and being forwarded to the destination which happens to be a cell phone. None of this falls under “robocall”.

Numerous people do this already with FreePBX and other services like Grasshopper, etc…

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