Belarus woke me up three different times: twice in the early morning and once in the middle of what was supposed to be a short nap. Who knows if it was Belarus, really? It was a “375” code on the phone screen. After Belarus it was a call from Mozambique.
Are you getting these international spam calls, a lot of them, just lately? Hmm Daily’s creative director, Joe MacLeod, is getting them. My wife is getting them. People on Twitter seem to be getting them.
It takes a while to notice the international angle. Most calls I get are spam, and I ignore them. But most of my spam calls come from, or are spoofed from, the same area code and exchange as my cell phone itself. This is supposed to break down your defenses, but I got my cell phone number when I happened to be living in Silver Spring, Maryland, where I don’t really know anyone now, so except for the cell phone number my wife got at the same time, no one will ever call me from that exchange, and it functions as an all-but-automatic call screen.
UPDATE: While I was loading this story into the CMS, Mozambique called again.
The first international call came—predawn—while my wife was out of the country, so I almost called it back, but then I looked up the code and it was Belarus, which was not anywhere near the country she was in. Googling about Belarus and the 375 code suggests that this has been a scam before, flourishing circa 2012. They dial and hang up, and if you call back, you log some annoying but not overwhelming international-call charge. Snopes has a page on the foreign-calling scam, which it rates “Mostly False” as a subject, but all that Falsehood is in the extended rumors about how if you call back, the Belarusians will reach through the airwaves and loot the data from your phone. The underlying one-ring scam is true enough, but it works by grabbing small amounts of money—and your attention—so it depends on volume.
Why does it seem to be spiking now? I emailed the FCC and left them a phone message to ask about it, but the FCC hasn’t called me back.