I’m not aware of any technology that has managed to achieve it in a meaningful way, but I’m sure whoever solves the issue will be very popular.
Any solution is likely to cause other problems by blocking legitimate phone calls.
The only way I can see would be for scammers to buy special voip systems which placed a unique code with the initial data transfer, which allows other systems to read and block. There is one major problem with this solution though.
If you have legitimate calls from overseas. I don’t. If you do then don’t use it. If ‘it’ is possible of course.
It could be implemented that non Australian numbers could be blocked but as noted above this would be a complete block rather than a “discrimination” block of unwanted numbers. For those who never (but never is not always never) receive OS calls I guess this could have a benefit but I also think it could have unforeseen consequences when for example family members on OS holidays need to contact or legal/health/feedback calls come from OS numbers.
The better option and it isn’t perfect but at least it would reduce the issue of unwanted calls would be to restrict the allocation of Australian numbers to only those who provide their Australian bona fides before a number is allowed to be used. This would really curb the practice (some would still be able to abuse it) of OS “scammers” buying/having generated numbers to use on us.
Could you get around this by having a whitelist of your OS friends and rellies?
I guess you could as this is possible already on mobiles with either the adding of apps or the system having the option added. But even whitelisting could be at times limiting if the legitimate call was not a listed number, but I think you (you as in the user not meaning you personally) then have the consequences of that choice and have to make a value judgement that suits you.
Of course that is the risk that you take. No automagical call (or email) filtering system is 100% accurate, you have to make a judgement about what kind of errors you are prepared to accept and the probable rate before you employ any of them.
At least if you can flag OS origins you don’t have to whitelist all your domestic caller numbers (which I would find unacceptable) as they would get a free pass.
There seems to be little will in the industry to supply this kind of service. Can anybody tell me why?
Yep as I said you have to make the value judgement. Blocking OS numbers certainly would reduce some part of the nuisance callers, but most don’t use OS numbers most use generated Australian numbers and they do so because the Federal Govt have not legislated that only Australian based users (whether commercial, private or non profit) can obtain Australian numbers to use. Other countries have this legislation and it does help to reduce the amount of foreign abuse of their telecom systems. From Freespee which is a cloud communication platform (https://support.freespee.com/hc/en-us/articles/201955061-Number-regulations-in-Germany) comes this:
"Due to regulatory rules set by the (1) Bundesnetzagentur, a few extra custom-fields are always mandatory for customers who operate in Germany. All address details must be confirmed before you are able to get a number. Regulations in Germany also states that a phone number can only be given in the same area as the address of the customer
To be allowed to allocate a number for a German customer both the
- exact business name and
- the full customer address
need to be added to the tab (2) Einstellungen .
(1) The Federal Network Agency of Germany: Bundesnetzagentur,or in shortened form BNetzA, of the German government.
(2) Translation is “Settings”
You seem to be assuming that the only way to identify the origin of a call is through the number the call purports to come from, is that the only way?
Pretty much yes, a VOIP call through say Skype (or any other Cloud platform) that has an exit in Australia would appear as an Australian based phone call even if the caller was actually in China or Russia or some other location other than Australia. Currently these callers buy a range of Australian numbers (they are generally bulk acquired by the VOIP platform and sold to the users of their services but you can also have your number ported to them). There is a fee the VOIP providers (they are termed a Carriage Service Provider or CSP for short) pay for these numbers just the same as other providers like Telstra or Optus have to. They have to pay in this case in Australia, ACMA as the fee collector and allocator of the blocks of numbers. It is in no way a financial obstacle to the VOIP provider as they can get blocks as needed so they just charge the user and then ask for the numbers if necessary if they don’t already have some on hand.
The VOIP service then sets up a gateway that identifies and routes the call so that if you wanted to ring a number the call would hit their VOIP service gateway then the number you dialled would be identified as to which “real number” it belongs and then be converted to a digital signal and then sent back to the real device (phone or computer) to be answered by the user of that number. When a VOIP user dials out the gateway then links into the telephone system and then the number dialled rings. It appears and is for all intents an Australian call.
ACMA currently under the legislation is not prohibited from selling those blocks for use by overseas users so the CSPs (Carriage Service Providers) can then sell those numbers to anyone anywhere in the world. This is what needs to change.
If you or anyone would like to check which CSPs have a number or block of numbers allocated to them you can check at:
For the yearly number allocation costs see:
(for most numbers we would be concerned with the cost is currently $35 per annum)
I am frustrated that I can no longer answer my mobile phone with my name, as I do not know who is calling and do not want to give them any information they don’t already possess.
On the SMS front, I have received three - all from different numbers (I know because I blocked each number in turn) - in two days claiming to be from One Nation and telling me what they want to do in the NSW election. Fascinating, except that I’m not in NSW and I loathe everything that party stands for.
Sorry, but it couldn’t be done. As long as we have Voice Over IP (VOIP) - which is becoming the new standard for phone calls because of the NBN - anyone can lie about where they are calling from. It’s the same as the rest of the Internet, you cannot realistically block one country from another.
Australia allows the use of Australian numbers by users outside of Australia. This could be abolished by a change to the legislation that currently allows this. I have posted about this in the post above your one. Then all you need to do is block any non Australian numbers but as I said this is a complete block of those numbers on a service rather than a discriminatory one as it would need to be actioned at the RSP level. Of course they could bring out more “intelligent” phones that allowed international prefix blocking and maybe that is something that could be agitated for.
I solved my nuisance call problem by having my answering machine active all the time. A genuine caller will leave a message, scammers will not. Once I moved to NBN FTTN, I did the same thing, but that was for a very short time. I no longer maintain a VoIP incoming number and my mobile service is well protected by Hiya and Trucaller. At least I’m assuming thats why I no longer get scam or spam calls. My blocklist isnt as big as it could be but its enough, apparently.
For as long as overseas callers have been allowed to use Australian-looking numbers this has been a problem and still is. We just don’t answer any numbers we don’t recognise. Simple. If they’re genuine they’ll leave a message.
Our answering machine has always been on too. Works well. We rarely get messages so we can only assume the callers with the fake Australian numbers are scammers as they NEVER leave a message.
Better still legislate that VOIP providers/Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) in Australia (ie the ones that provide “Australian looking” numbers for VoIP users) have to do checks on the customer (just like we have legislation requiring checks be done before issuing mobile phone services/SIMs in Australia).
Include the ability for the CSP to revoke “Australian looking” numbers for their customer if they have been reported (and checked) as sending SCAM texts or making SCAM calls, eg via ScamWatch http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/ and
As well as the one CSP revoking the VoIP numbers they issued to that customer, we need that customer then be put on a blacklist shared by ACMA with all CSPs in Australia.
You can forward a SCAM text to 0429 999 888 in order to report it.
We don’t answer our home phone anymore unless we recognise the number, as we are getting about six calls a day, all scams, from a supposed 02 number. Amazing that our NBN is about to be cut off. They obviously know something we don’t as we aren’t even connected to the NBN. Won’t happen till mid 2020!
The best option for landliners is to install a Telstra Call Guardian 301 ($73 when we purchased about 18 months ago). It comes with a call answering base and extra handset. When someone calls the first time they have to announce who they are and then you have the options of always allowing the caller, or allowing the caller this once, or banning the caller. A banned caller no longer exists from our end. Just going through this process puts nuisance callers off. Anyone on the contacts list is automatically allowed with the caller name displayed. We have gone from a number of nuisance calls per day to about one every three months and even they don’t come back. Best investment in this area we have made.
I didn’t know that this existed…
We use a Panasonic with answering machine in a similar way…wait for message to be left for unknown numbers, if genuine caller we pick up, if not we either ignore or disconnect the call (by hanging up)
I see that 1000 numbers can be blocked…which used to be an effective way to block scammers but how they use different randomly generated numbers for a short time before changing to a new caller id number to get around this technology.
The VOIP provider would be obliged to carry out those checks if we implemented similar laws to Germany, and a few other countries, for any foreign user to ensure they had a real business and a real address here or an individual/family had a real address here.
For Australian scammers they are already covered under Telecommunications laws that carry penalties such as jail time for breaches. It is very hard currently however to jail and fine entities who use Australian numbers but have no presence in Australia and this is why the law needs to be addressed that allows the use by these foreign scammers/users.