Some Concerned About Trap Call Technology

Wednesday, February 25th 2009, 10:17 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- People who use call blocker as a way to stay anonymous over the telephone are in for a shock.  New technology allows you to unblock those numbers and, in some cases, even see the caller's address.  Some groups believe the new technology is dangerous.

If you want to call someone and stay anonymous, you can dial *67 and then their number.  The person receiving the call only sees the word blocked or restricted in their caller ID, so they don't know who's calling.

If the person receiving the call declines to answer, it automatically goes to voicemail.  Trap Call changes all that.

With it, the person hits decline when they see a blocked call and within seconds, they have the caller's cell phone number, city they're in and maybe their name.  If the caller is on a landline, the receiver can also see the caller's address.

Trap Call also lets you records both sides of a phone call.  And, the person on the other end has no idea.

If someone is calling all the time, like a creditor or crazy ex-girlfriend, Trap Call lets you put their number on a blacklist and when they call they'll hear the following message.

"We're sorry, the number you have dialed has been disconnected and is no longer in service."

Here's how it works. No one can block their number when they call an 800 number, for instance, 1-800 Flowers. I can't block my number from them because they're paying to receive my call. So, this technology re-routes the call to an 800 number.  They can see the number.  They send it back to you and now you can see exactly who's on the other end.

Trap Call is great for people receiving harassing calls that are blocked because now they can get the number of the harasser.

But, it's not great for people whose safety depends on keeping their number and location secret, like domestic violence victims.  Victims often need to call their abuser, for example, to talk about their kids.  The victim blocks her number and thinks she's safe, but with Trap Call, he now has her phone number and maybe her address.

And, the victim never knows it.

Right now, only AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers can use Trap Call, but others are being added.

The head of Tulsa's Domestic Violence Intervention Services says the technology will change how they do business, because they block the number every time they make a call from their office to victims.