Why am I receiving calls from no one?

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Ever since ported my toll-free number to Ring Central, we have been receiving calls from "nobody." Usually they are from California or somewhere in the South. No one is there when we pick up. When we try to call back the number, we get the message that the call cannot be completed as dialed or get no answer or rarely a generic voice mail & we never hear back from them. When we google the numbers, usually the numbers are not well documented, occasionally people describe the same as above. The calls come in waves - none for a few days and then 5 in 3 days or so. Has anyone else experienced this?
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Jennifer Fryer

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Posted 7 years ago

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Dave Herron, U.S. Tier 3 Support

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Official Response
As an engineer for RingCentral I can tell you with authority we are definately not doing this to rack up minutes. This is actually a result of malicious intent. "Hackers" use a program calle SIP vicious to probe peoples networks and compromise phones. They then attack your phones by ringing them and ultimately get your login information from your phone. They can then use your specific login information to login to the RingCentral and make calls on your behalf. You can validate one of these attacks if your phone rings with a suspicious caller ID ("100") and then if you look in your RingCentral call log it will not show the call. That means the call didn't come through RingCentral servers, and the attackers have found a way in to your network. This can be mitigated one of 2 ways.
1. Recommended that you limit traffic to and from your phones ONLY from RingCentral IP addresses. You may need to enage the help of an IT professional to do this. The IP ranges you should be accepting traffic from are 199.255.120.0/22 and 199.68.212.0/22


2. To help with this issue RingCentral has recently implemented encrypted SIP registration or SIP TLS. This encrypts all communications back and fourth between RingCentral and your phone. This eliminates the ability for anyone on the internet to be able to just log in to your phone. You can ask to have this enabled by calling in to RingCentral support and asking them to enable this feature.
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Mike, Official Rep

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New Topic. Archiving old thread.

Please reference the new conversation here: Why am I receiving calls from no one? Is RingCentral doing this to use my minutes...
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Numbers that aren't working are calling and I am being charged, What's the deal?.

I am an investigator and use ring central for fax service for a repo company I own. I checked the validity of phone numbers that our on my current calls and only 1 is a legitimate working number. And it is someone that I know sent us a fax. The calls last 40 seconds, most of disconnected magic jack type phones, Are you doing this to drive up my bill? I call customer service but no one speaks English and what can be discussed in 4 minutes takes 30 minutes.
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Azar Hussain

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled phantom calls that I can't answer or hang up - driving me crazy!.

Hi,

I'm new to ringcentral and think it's great but lately I've been getting phantom calls from unknown and '500' that sometime ring for 5 minutes and I can't answer or direct them to the answerphone or anything.

I've had to change my ring tone to one of my favourite songs just to stop it driving me crazy!

I've rang ringcentral but they said they can't fix it, it's something I'd need to sort myself with regard to open ports on my router.

I have no idea how to fix this so any advice from someone who has had a similar problem would be gratefully received! ;-)

Thanks
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Luke Bazely

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We use Callture / Telcan, and I can assure you that we have the exact same issues. Calls from California and Alabama area codes with nobody on the other end. It only happens on our toll free numbers. Definitely not a Ring Central problem, but frustrating nonetheless. This is a regulatory issue in that both Canadian and US governments need to put an end to the practice.
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Alyssa Olszewski

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Unable to answer call from unknown, single, or double digit number.

Periodically, the desktop app shows a call coming in from an unknown, single, or double digit number (i.e. 1).  It rings and rings but when I try to answer the call, nothing happens and the app freezes up.  I am unable to stop the ringing until I open task manager and shut down the app from there.
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Mike, Official Rep

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See the official post above from one of our engineers. You issue sounds like it maybe related. You'll probably want to give us a call if this is still happening. 
Have you ever called tech support Mike? They barely speak English.
(Edited)
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Mike, Official Rep

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Hi Diane,  Sorry if you've had a bad experience with the phone support. If you prefer, you can Open a Case online. 
No, I am good, but I'll keep my eyes opened, if this is happening to a lot of people and you are charging us for calls that are not legit, your company could have a real problem because you charge by the minute. A dollar a month is no big deal to one person, but if it is happening to lets say 100K a month, at 1.00 a piece, that would be a problem.
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Alex

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Annoying calls / fake calls / telemarketer calls / do not call list.

Hello!
We have been getting calls to our main line (no extension) but they do not leave a message, or leave a few seconds of blank message. They are not clients or leads of ours and appear from area codes across the US.

Has anyone else had this issue? Are these likely automated telemarketing calls? Is there a do not call list I can enter? Thanks!

Our number has been posted publicly on our site for a few years. This has been a problem for the past year. I realize five calls a day might not be a nuisance for some, but we receive a small call volume and our Director has stopped answering calls altogether because most of them are "fake".
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Alex

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Workaround solution:

Set default message "hello thanks for calling, press X to speak to someone...", and set up extension X as the receptionist.

After dealing with this issue for a few months I've realized this is the only way to avoid these mysterious fake calls. I'll need our messages professionally re-recorded first, which I've found oDesk or voices.com great for.

I see someone else also recommended this below.
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Scott Schroeder

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Anyone else receiving phantom calls?.

Has anyone else been receiving phantom calls?

Symptom: Our toll-free number receives a call, which is routed to my cellphone via Find Me Follow Me rules. The Caller ID shows an actual number. When I answer, there is silence. Dead air. The call remains connected as long as I'm on. If I disconnect, and then call the number back, I typically either get a generic voicemail or a voicemail that's clearly not one of my customers. These calls happen at seemingly-random times, but especially at night - 10PM, 4AM, 6AM. The first time I noticed this is Feb 25, 2015 at 2:56PM Pacific.

It SEEMS like either there never was a caller in the first place, and our phones are ringing from a call that is completely invalid, or, if there was a caller, the caller disconnected. Our greeting takes 30 seconds to play after hours, and invalid callers would normally hang up if they realized that they were calling someone by mistake - it should provide ample time to disconnect without bothering me.

This is an emergency 24/7 hotline, which needs to be manned at night. I can't just ignore the calls. I tried to get help from RingCentral support, but they said that the solution is for me to register a complaint with the FCC. I've used RingCentral for over 5 years, and can definitively state that this behavior is new and ongoing.

I don't know if there is an industry-standard term for these calls. Ghost calls? Invalid calls? Phantom calls sounded right to me. Please, if other people are having this sort of problem, share: When did it start? How frequently does it happen? Do you have any thoughts about what might be causing it? Has anyone at RingCentral worked on this problem with you? Does it appear to be specific to RingCentral? Are there alternate suppliers who either don't have this problem at all or have a solution for it? Are there reasons to believe porting my number to another carrier would make any difference?
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Herb

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I'm suddenly getting them too. I've been a RC customer for two years. From October to December of 2014 I would receive maybe one ghost call a week. The frequency began picking up in January of 2015 and now (March) I receive 3-4 ghost calls per day - more than one in the middle of the night. 

I happen to have several phone systems - both land and VOIP - and so far the RC system is the only one with this problem. It could be a coincidence - I'm actually a big RC fan - but this is getting annoying.
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Mike, Official Rep

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Hi Herb,   If you didn't see the official response at the top of this page take a look at it.  You are welcome to call us or open a support case if you need to. 
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Alex

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Scott, I can confirm that for us, it's only happening with our RC line and not with our other line providers. Luckily I can switch our #s away from RC with minimal disruption. In other ways I prefer RC so I hope to return soon.
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Mike, Official Rep

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HI everyone.  I realize this thread is getting a bit long, but if you have not seen it, scroll to the top and read the "official response" from one of our engineers.  There is a way to stop the ghost calls, but unfortunately if it's just a spammer that got a hold of your number, that could happen anywhere. 

Thanks!
Mike 
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Kevin Sharp

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Hi Mike,

I have also been battling the ghost calls. All of them have a City and State + legitimate looking phone number. The call I received today was dead air, no one answered as usual and the dead air stayed connected until I hung up. So I called back (redialed) and someone answered that hadn't made a call to us. A very confused over lady. But very nice and not a telemarketer! So it seems as if these ghost calls are spoofed numbers? Or hijacked? These ghost calls are never the same number calling us, the caller id is always simply City and State + phone number. So blocking these calls seems pointless. We have an 800 number through RC.

I did sign the business lines up through the Do Not Call Registry but I am sure that won't stop all these calls. Just an FYI but hopefully a few details that help bring this madness to an end sooner than later.

Kevin
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Mike, Official Rep

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Hi Kevin,  If you didn't see the "official response" above, take a look at it.  If you have not contacted our support team feel free to do so, or you can Open a Case and provide the details, dates,  times etc in the support case. 
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Scott Schroeder

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It sounds like there are at least 2 different scenarios involved here. My scenario has been worked around now, with RingCentral's assistance - thanks, John Rodriguez! The calls are still coming into my system. However, we enabled the initial Automated Attendant feature, which says "If you know your party's extension, please enter it now, or press 0 for the operator". I recorded my own version, saying "Thank you for calling, please press 0 to continue." It's a slight pain for my callers to have to press 0, but those phantom calls we were getting _never_ press 0. At least, not so far. I have received dozens of "Missed Call" emails, but they're all cases where the caller failed to press 0.

I do still think there is an issue within RingCentral, where these calls are a symptom of a system issue, but this solution filters them out for me. Note that the "Call Screening" section that prompts for the caller to say his name and press # does NOT actually screen - the caller does NOT have to press # to continue, it continues to process the call after 5 seconds if the caller doesn't say a name. I would prefer to REQUIRE the caller to press # - and prompt multiple times if needed - but this workaround has been saving me from calls in the middle of the night, and that's what I really care about. Note: I am quite confident that RingCentral is NOT simply doing this to ring up more charges. There aren't enough calls to change what I'm being billed. If it's a nefarious plot, it's poorly done. But I still worry that the calls are being mis-routed - perhaps there are calls coming in to someone else's toll-free number, it's being incorrectly mapped to our number for the ring of the call, but the actual connection isn't being completed. Until/unless one of my customers reports that he called in and no one answered, whose call does not show in my log, I won't worry too much about this. But I wonder whether anyone is reporting that THEIR callers aren't being CONNECTED to them properly...
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Mike, Official Rep

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Scott, thanks for sharing your work-around!  
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Randall

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Scott, thanks for the workaround suggestion. I was thinking of using call screening but as you've shown that isn't foolproof. It seems the only way to actually filter out these phantom calls is with the automated attendant. Of course plan minutes are still being used whether the call is answered or not.
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Scott Schroeder

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I just checked my Call Log, Randall. I'm not being billed at all for the calls that the automated attendant is screening. They all show that they were connected for less than a minute, with $0.00 billed for the call. About half the calls I've received since making this change have been blocked. So far, 1 of my customers has commented on the change in needing to press 0, so it hasn't been terribly impactful on them, but it's helped me a lot. It has blocked calls at 2AM, 3AM, 5AM, 6AM, 7PM... blocking those calls helped me maintain my tenuous grip on sanity. ;^)
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Mike

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The official response is BS.  I don't have the network phones, and I still get a couple ghost (silent) calls forwarded to my mobile phone per day.  They are coming through or from within the RC network.  At night when my service is "off", these calls just steal 4-5 minutes of my time, and I get no message.  How can I lose time for a non-answered call?  And there's no good way to see your minutes used/left on their site.  When I call the numbers back, and they are bogus.  Other services like Google Voice seem to protect against fake/spam callers, so why doesn't RC?  I am absolutely furious about these harassing calls and the whole billing process.  Side note:  why in the %@#& do I have to register for a whole other site just to leave comments in the RC forum!?!?
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Mike, Official Rep

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Hello Mike,  Sorry about the issue you are having. It sounds like this is a slightly different problem, but we'll be happy to look into this for you. If you could please use this link to Open a Case and provide us with the phone number this is happening to and the times/dates of any examples of this it will help. 

Regarding the 2nd log in for this Community site, we realize this is an inconvenience. This is due to the Community platform being hosted by a 3rd party. We are actually working toward providing a single-sign-on feature, but there are some rather complicated log-in issues that we are addressing and must make sure it's secure for all the users. I'm confident we'll have this later this year but no ETA yet. 

Mike 
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Mike

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It was useless to open a case.  The support person only suggests that I block the number which doesn't help since the numbers are spoofed and different each time.  Then I get daily requests to close the case even though it has not been solved.  I don't understand why the calls are silent.  If they hang up before I answer then it shouldn't still ring me and use 5 minutes of my time PER CALL.
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Scott Schroeder

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Hi Mike the RingCentral customer,

I'm an end user like yourself. I agree, it was useless to try blocking the numbers. They're almost random - not the same number each time, though I believe I did see the same number for 2 separate calls. You _might_ try opening a case and asking to have it escalated to John Rodriguez - he's the guy who I was able to get _my_ case escalated to, and he ultimately helped me configure my system to use the automated attendant, requiring callers to press 0 to continue. That seems to have worked around the problem for me. Which implies that these are auto-dialers that are calling from some list of numbers, and there's never someone who can hear the message to press 0 to continue. It does seem like the call should have hung up rather than being routed to us, so I think there's a bug in the RingCentral call routing process in any case. I think there's a way you can screen out the calls, which is the most important goal. At least for me.

I think RingCentral overall has an opportunity to make significant improvements in the way it provides support for its customers. I'm a Support professional myself, and I think they need to provide some way for unhappy customers to escalate issues within their system. As currently designed, you have to work _around_ the system to get help from their "Executive Response Team". And, even then, I think the problem just bounces around the Support team, when what they really need is to engage Engineering to investigate the system and find the root cause of the problem. I read other postings on this thread, and I see people who are clearly getting a completely different kind of problem, with invalid phone numbers for the people who are calling them. ALL the numbers I'm seeing look like valid numbers. I also think it would be important for RingCentral to collect data on this kind of problem. Perhaps add a Report Invalid Call button, so they could see how widespread this issue is. If it hadn't been waking me up in the middle of the night repeatedly, I wouldn't have messed with it. So there could be thousands of these invalid calls per day, and they just write it off as "telemarkets - complain to the FCC". Pretty much the definition of ignoring the problem. Or, if there were a way of getting real-time assistance while the call was connected, and trace it to the source. I really think they could solve this if they a) accepted that there could actually be a problem with their system, and b) invested engineering time to solve it. Until they do a), they won't do b), and we just will continue to have this garbage. But it's had only a very minor impact since I worked around it.

Regards,

Scott
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Mike, Official Rep

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Scott,  thanks for this post. There are some very good ideas in here. I've copied some of your comments over to a new Idea topic so that this gets separate attention from our Product Team.  
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Randall

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This person is experiencing the exact same problem that I am, and he too was told to open a support case to no avail, of course. Yet nobody including Mike has an explanation for what is happening. Mike dismisses this inexplicable phenomenon as "spammers". Right.

Apparently all of us are supposed to believe a spammer sits in their basement 24 hours a day calling toll-free numbers registered to RingCentral customers and spoofing their caller ID for no purpose whatsoever just because they can.
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Mike Bruns

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Randall,

While I can't speak to the Ringcentral's tech-support:  Mike is correct that spamming is a big issue in phone services.  

No,  no-one is sitting in their basement making the calls manually.  Anymore than someone is personally typing the Viagra spam in your email inbox.  It's all automated.  It's typical for a scripts to call millions of numbers looking for vulnerabilities.  

Spammers call the numbers for several reasons:

1)  Test to see if they can be reprogrammed, primarily for call-forwarding.   Some phones and PBXs can be setup remotely.   If the automated program identifies a vulnerable PBX, it could setup a new extension to call-forward all calls to a number in the Ukraine.  The person buys a pre-paid, untraceable phone from Walmart, then calls the local extension.  They then have free and anonymous calls to the other country.

2)  "One Ring Scam"  Google the article on the FTC's website for a good explanation. But to summarize, a spammer will call millions of numbers spoofing the caller-id to an area-code or number that looks normal, but is actually a foreign country or sex-line.  If someone hits redial, they can be on the hook for excessive charges.  With some services, dialing 876-555-1212 will result in a $20 charge for the first minute. 

3)  It's less common these days, but there are still modems out there.  Many ATM's still use phones rather than the internet to communicate.  Scammers try to connect via modem.

=========================

Again, there things RC could be doing.  But, spamming is a still a real problem.  
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Mike

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1) No, this isn't spammers.  They are not in the business of being silent.  They have a message they want you to hear.
2) Support suggested that I get on the Do Not Call Registry, but I have already been on it for some time.
3) The robo-dialer white paper link just takes me to a blank page.
4) Though this isn't resolved, I had to close my support ticket simply because I'm tired of being harassing to close the ticket every day.
5) Scott Schroeder's comments are the smartest I've heard on this topic yet.  I will try his suggestion and report back my results.
(I actually feel bad for Mike the Official Rep.  His job must really suck dealing with this every day.)
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Randall

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Mike, thanks for the constructive reply. I guess I'm confused if these "spammers" are attempting to compromise my phone number to no avail whatsoever, then what is the benefit of keeping me in their autodialer loop, when they could be allocating their resources to seeking out vulnerabilities in other phone systems?

After 80 failed phone calls, I think it's safe to say I'm alerted to their unscrupulous activity. This behavior is just completely nonsensical even for an amateur hacker.

Furthermore, if this is such a widespread epidemic involving millions of phone calls every day, then why isn't the FCC coordinating with appropriate industry groups to implement safeguards. Or is this type of abusive behavior a legally sanctioned use of the telephone network?
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Kevin Sharp

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I wanted to chime in to say that this lengthy back and forth is awesome. It at least lets me know that my company isn't alone in receiving spoofed calls. We received a voicemail this morning that was 2:23 of silence - the call came into our 888 number. When we returned the call we were greeted with an automated reply in Spanish. The company is listed as Spotlight Promotions in Dallas, TX but I believe it was spoofed. 

We have our rincentral lines only scheduled to ring during "business hours" so we avoid calls at all hours. When we are able to answer these calls, there is silence on the other end until we disconnect. I have let one silent incoming call sit there for 5 minutes to see if there is ever any attempt at connecting to a real person. Never happens. The caller id always shows a valid looking number with City and State as the caller id. And it appears in the call log (so not a ghost). We get these calls often.

We will be prompting callers to select 0 to continue  to try cutting these spoofed calls out completely. But I feel your pain Randall. Hopefully the more information that is shared will help identify these odd calls and potentially kill them off.
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Randall

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Wow, you waited five minutes and the call did not disconnect? I'm starting to wonder how competent these spammers are. Imagine if a computer hacker scripted a bot to find security holes on a network, and allowed the process to hang indefinitely on every single IP address doing absolutely nothing until the remote host disconnected. That's a terribly inefficient means of cracking a computer system. These spammers must be amateurs.
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Kevin Sharp

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I believe it is Wardialing which is much more complex than an incompetent spammer. They are probably hackers as opposed to someone wanting your credit card information. Autodialing  thousands of numbers as a way of exposing security holes in PBX systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_dialing

I don't believe Ringcentral is at fault. As technology evolves, so does the expertise of the hacking community. How to prevent these call is not an easy task obviously.
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Mike Bruns

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Kevin, you're exactly right.  It's a constant race between the hackers and the phone companies.  Ringcentral is doing some good things.  They're one of the first companies I've seen that is introducing Secure-Voice.   They're taking some steps to address "ghost calls"

Customers also need to ensure they have proper firewalls setup.  A simple test is to go to: 
http://www.canyouseeme.org/   and check port 5060.    If the result is "Success", it means that anyone on the internet can connect to your phone.  That's something that Ringcentral cannot fix, it's something that needs to be fixed on your router or firewall.   



 
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Mike Bruns

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Kevin, you're exactly right.  It's a constant race between the hackers and the phone companies.  Ringcentral is doing some good things.  They're one of the first companies I've seen that is introducing Secure-Voice.   They're taking some steps to address "ghost calls"

Customers also need to ensure they have proper firewalls setup.  A simple test is to go to: 
http://www.canyouseeme.org/   and check port 5060.    If the result is "Success", it means that anyone on the internet can connect to your phone.  That's something that Ringcentral cannot fix, it's something that needs to be fixed on your router or firewall.   



 
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Randall

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Once again I will reiterate that they must be incompetent because my phone is a cell phone. In fact, it's $15 flip phone from Virgin Mobile. There is no firewall, or router, or PBX to compromise. When they dial my number, they accomplish nothing but wasting their own time.

Wargames is one of my favourite movies. I just watched it last weekend. And as the movie showed, dialing numbers sequentially is one method to locate an entry point into a phone system. But not to persistently redial the same number that has shown no results just twice a day and expecting a different result after 80 attempts over a 4 week period. That is futile. If the goal is to break into a phone system by inundating it with calls, then it is even more senseless and inefficient to autodial in this fashion.
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Mike

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UPDATE: I tried Scott's "press 1 to speak to someone" solution.  It does prevent me from getting the call, so that's good.  But I still get 2 minute silent messages that use up my time.  I'm now confident these are a result of a simple war dialing tactic which is similar to the very unsophisticated hack scripts my web server gets every day as well.  There's nothing you can do about this.  The do not call list doesn't matter to these hackers.  And your type of system doesn't matter either.  Where Ring Central is failing is by charging us for time not used speaking on their line.  The auto-receptionist and message time should be free.  Or they need to figure out how to make it not charge for or record silence.
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Mike, Official Rep

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Most of you have probably heard, or seen this by now but the "ghost call" issue is something that we are have been working on for quite some time.   We recently issued a "white paper" which you may want to take a look at. 

Preparing your Network for
SIP over TCP and Secure Voice
Technical Whitepaper
for IT Administrators


Also, please don't confuse "ghost calls" with spammers and telemarketers.  
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Mike Bruns

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Hi Mike,

NoMoRobo does a nice-job dealing with the spam/telemarketing calls.  They specifically say that Ringcentral is not supported.  However, they support all other companies that support a simulring feature.

Do you know why RC is not supported?
(Edited)
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Mike, Official Rep

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Hi Mike,  I'm not sure about this but I'll look into it and see if it's an option. Thanks for sharing. 
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Mike Bruns

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Mike, could you ask the team that wrote the above whitepaper, which SIP settings they recommend changing in response?  Some of us have manually provisioned devices. 
(Edited)
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Mike, Official Rep

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Mike Bruns ,    I don't believe this changes anything on the phone, but I can double check.  Or, are you referring to the settings on page 5-6?  
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Mike Bruns

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Hi Mike, thanks!

I am talking about changes to the phone.  Here are the current settings on my Ringcentral Linksys ATA, but all endpoints will have similar SIP options.

 

1)   To take advantage of TCP, I assume I just need to set the SIP Transport to TCP rather than UDP.   Are there any other changes?

2)  The Restrict Source IP is set to no.  Per Dave Herron's note, setting this to "Yes" could help to eliminate ghost-calls, as the ATA would only respond to ringcentral servers. If this is not set by default for all endpoints, maybe it should be. 

3)  I'm not sure if my ATA supports Secure Voice.  If it does, I need to know the settings to talk to the RC servers over a secure TLS connection.
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Dave Herron, U.S. Tier 3 Support

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Hi Mike,
Unfortunately it DOES need to be set to TLS to take advantage of this feature, and it can not be done manually. It needs to be provisioned by our servers to accept the encryption license. In this case you would probably need a more robust firewall entry to ensure traffic from your phones is only accepted from our IP ranges. Hope this helps.

-Dave
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Mike, Official Rep

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I just wanted to confirm the information which one of our engineers "Dave" posted above in the "official response".  This is for Phantom, or "ghost calls" only and does not pertain to robo calls, spammers, ID spoofing etc. 


A phantom call, or "ghost call"  is identified when a customer describes receiving calls when answered there is no one on the line. They typically have a strange caller ID that does not meet the normal 10 digit standard, and if you look the call up in the call logs they do not show up. 

How to mitigate
Since this is an attack that originates from the internet, the users router needs to have rules in place to prevent the attack from reaching the customer phones. This can be done by not only restricting data to the incoming ports, but also limiting that data to come from only the 2 RingCentral IP addresses. 

A.  Update Firewall Settings based on whitepaper:
link: http://netstorage.ringcentral.com/documents/sip.pdf

B. Set the following IP Address: 199.255.120.0/22 and 199.68.212.0/22  as
the FROM IP address.

C. Refer to your company IT Admin for proper configuration of the network.
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Mike, Official Rep

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I've created another post related to the problem with spamming, robo dialers, caller ID spoofing.  For anyone in this thread that is having problems with this issue (not ghost calls), please visit this page and click the "like button..  Idea for stopping/blocking spammers, Caller ID spoofers and robo dialers

Mike 

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