By Glenn Fleishman

Did you know that Caller ID is a sham? It is. There’s no system of verification on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to check that the Caller ID number inserted into the system by the calling party is a number that party legitimately owns. For many years, the New York Times’ Caller ID was (111) 111-1111; I freelanced for the Times, and when that number popped up on my cell, I knew who it was.

This makes it frustrating and sometimes impossible to block all incoming spam, fraudulent, or harassing callers, because many people and organizations who want your time use Caller ID tricks. There are free and cheap services to route calls one at a time, and software that lets boiler-room operations do it in bulk.

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