Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel#

Posted by: paulr

Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/26/21 05:14 AM

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021...nise-the-number

Hiker lost on US mountain ignored calls from rescuers because he didn’t recognise the number

Summary: they sent two rescue teams after him that didn't find him. He was lost for around 24h before finding his own way back to his car, with no idea that anyone had been looking for him.
Quote:

“One notable take-away is that the subject ignored repeated phone calls from us because they didn’t recognise the number,” the agency added.

“If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a search and rescue team trying to confirm you’re safe!”
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/26/21 05:51 PM

Given the massive volume of scam calls I'm getting, this is not a surprise. If you even pick up the call once, you're on their list forever. Did SAR leave a message? Scammers rarely do.

Since he had cell service, though, you'd think he'd call or text someone with an update ("I'm a little lost but I'm okay, don't panic yet.") to save everyone the trouble of a search.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/26/21 05:57 PM

I'm not shocked at all. I rarely answer calls not in my contact list. And the guy claims he didn't know he was "lost" and had no idea anyone was looking for him. In his mind he got turned around and was a little late but no cause for alarm.
Posted by: Bingley

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/26/21 07:10 PM

Many of us get spam calls. Sometimes it happens so often that we install a call screening app. We can easily miss real calls from numbers we don't recognize. Perhaps rather than "survival stupidity," we could understand the news story in a different light.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/27/21 02:24 PM

The guy got turned around (it happens), kept himself together and self-rescued. Not much of a story IMO. So yeah, the breathless media chatter about "survival stupidity" is more noise than signal.

I guess they did try contacting via text message too, although spam filters set to maximum might toss those too. Still, I think he could have sent a message out (and maybe he did).

The assumption that we are required to be connected and respond to our phones every second is a pernicious -- a.k.a. facebook disease. Good luck contacting me when I'm hiking. My phone is probably turned off to save the battery for a real emergency.
Posted by: haertig

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/27/21 03:24 PM

Just what you need when you're out there lost in the woods,"We've been trying to get in touch with you regarding your automobile warranty..."
Posted by: brandtb

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/27/21 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: haertig
Just what you need when you're out there lost in the woods,"We've been trying to get in touch with you regarding your automobile warranty..."


I wonder what would happen if you were lost and answered that call, and pleaded with "Keith" with the Indian accent to get in touch with EMS. He'd probably want your credit card number first.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/28/21 01:26 AM

Haha, haven't had the "automobile warranty" scam yet, it's either free vacations or robo threats from supposed goverment agencies ("an arrest warrant has been issued!"). The desire to reach out and adjust attitudes is strong, but impractical, and a waste of otherwise healthy blood pressure.

Posted by: haertig

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/28/21 03:22 AM

Why don't these search and rescue teams simply unblock their number so it identifies who they are?

I might actually answer my cellphone when out hiking if it showed an incoming call from, say, "Colorado Search and Rescue" rather than "unknown caller".

Cellphones don't work with standard landline caller id, but the providers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) can send an ID if they want to. You think they'd be agreeable to do that for the limited number of rescue agencies, police agencies and other emergency responders who might care to ask. Businesses can pay to have their id sent out on cellular calls, so you know the providers have the capability.

Also, search and rescue teams could publish the phone numbers they might call from to local area residents (or post them at trailheads) so people could enter them as a contact in their cellphones so that the name would show up on incoming calls. Even a simple coutry-wide online database of search team names, phone number and area(s) covered would work. Get the word out and people could look up and enter ones relevant to them as phone contacts. What, we only have 50 states (plus a few territories) and how many rescue teams could a state have? A dozen per state would seem on the high end. That's a very small database. You could even do it with a flat text file sorted by area covered (state, then quadrant of the state).
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/28/21 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: haertig
Why don't these search and rescue teams simply unblock their number so it identifies who they are?


Last time I wanted to change that I had to call and wait on hold to do so. Some SAR organizations might be able to afford dedicated phones, but others might use volunteers who have their personal phones

Originally Posted By: haertig

Cellphones don't work with standard landline caller id, but the providers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) can send an ID if they want to. You think they'd be agreeable to do that for the limited number of rescue agencies, police agencies and other emergency responders who might care to ask. Businesses can pay to have their id sent out on cellular calls, so you know the providers have the capability.

Actually they do, that's why the cell providers have the option to make the cell number show blocked/private. Verizon defaulted to blocked and SIL moved and her signed up for a privacy service on her new land line and it wouldn't let my wife's blocked Verizon cell number through, we had to call Verizon to unblock it so it would show on SIL's called ID and then get through.

Originally Posted By: haertig

Also, search and rescue teams could publish the phone numbers they might call from to local area residents (or post them at trailheads) so people could enter them as a contact in their cellphones so that the name would show up on incoming calls. Even a simple coutry-wide online database of search team names, phone number and area(s) covered would work. Get the word out and people could look up and enter ones relevant to them as phone contacts. What, we only have 50 states (plus a few territories) and how many rescue teams could a state have? A dozen per state would seem on the high end. That's a very small database. You could even do it with a flat text file sorted by area covered (state, then quadrant of the state).


A lot of work. Our county has a reverse 911 service. You have to sign up for it and its an robocall for major alerts. I'd suggest maybe something like that. SAR could notify 911/police and they could attempt reaching out to a missing person and the caller id would show as 911 or the local police number.

However caller ID can be easily faked so I don't know if I'd pickup a call that said 'police' or 'SAR' after having received calls from the IRS telling me I needed to give a credit card to pay taxes and such like that.

Unfortunately its signal to noise ratio. I get less than 10 legit phone calls in a year and get 10 junk/spam calls a week s I've gotten to the point that I won't answer either because its just a waste of time.

SAR could have authorities issue an amber alert "Guest of Hotel 6 reported missing, please call ###-####" so he could think "hey, that's where I'm staying"

Too many missing pieces from the article, for example:
“If you’re overdue according to your itinerary, and you start getting repeated calls from an unknown number, please answer the phone; it may be a search and rescue team trying to confirm you’re safe!”

Did the hiker have an itinerary, did he tell anyone he was going hiking? If he didn't leave any itinerary or tell anyone he was hiking then he wouldn't expecting any calls.

Though someone reported him missing, was he staying with a friend, or a hotel? Did the friend/hotel call (i.e. recognizable number).

Says they sent texts too, what did the text say, seems like there would be something recognizable at a glance there. Unless he had his phone turned off and in a backpack or something.

If he knew he lost his way and was trying to find the correct trail he could have made a facebook/twitter/instagram post "Ha Ha I think I'm lost" or something.
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/28/21 09:54 PM

First thought is that could move the whole thing to secure messaging, half the problem they deal with being reasonably sure whom you are talking to.

Parks/SAR shares contact info, so if later receive a message from SAR would be confident it was authentic.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/31/21 09:28 PM

Define secure messaging? I haven't see one comprehensive system that everyone can use. There are plenty of companies selling their own "secure messaging service" but no one system everyone can use.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 10/31/21 09:43 PM

The secure communications app Signal isn’t perfect but in my professional opinion it’s the best choice out there for regular folks. No affiliation.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/01/21 02:22 AM

What I mean though, is how do you get everyone to use the same app? If SAR in one place used signal, and SAR somewhere else uses something else.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/01/21 12:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Eugene
What I mean though, is how do you get everyone to use the same app? If SAR in one place used signal, and SAR somewhere else uses something else.


An excellent point.

I think we’re best off educating people on what to do if they get lost.
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/01/21 01:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Eugene
What I mean though, is how do you get everyone to use the same app? If SAR in one place used signal, and SAR somewhere else uses something else.


SAR doesn't need to use just one. They can try and get it in touch using any.

Signal & WhatsApp use the phone number as the identifier. So as long as they know the hikers number. They can try get in touch over both.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/01/21 03:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Ren
Originally Posted By: Eugene
What I mean though, is how do you get everyone to use the same app? If SAR in one place used signal, and SAR somewhere else uses something else.


SAR doesn't need to use just one. They can try and get it in touch using any.

Signal & WhatsApp use the phone number as the identifier. So as long as they know the hikers number. They can try get in touch over both.


You would need another SAR person just to try calling on all the different apps.

Any that assumes spammers/scammers don't figure out a why to call with those as well and the callee doesn't just ignore those too.
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/01/21 06:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Eugene
Originally Posted By: Ren
Originally Posted By: Eugene
What I mean though, is how do you get everyone to use the same app? If SAR in one place used signal, and SAR somewhere else uses something else.


SAR doesn't need to use just one. They can try and get it in touch using any.

Signal & WhatsApp use the phone number as the identifier. So as long as they know the hikers number. They can try get in touch over both.


You would need another SAR person just to try calling on all the different apps.

Any that assumes spammers/scammers don't figure out a why to call with those as well and the callee doesn't just ignore those too.


Once have the hikers phone number and a message to send, it can be automated, until get a response.
Spammers/scammers can't hide their phone number.

Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/02/21 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Ren


Once have the hikers phone number and a message to send, it can be automated, until get a response.
Spammers/scammers can't hide their phone number.


Thats what they said about caller ID when it first came out. Nothing is 100% secure, its only a matter of time before whatever system is used becomes hacked/abused.

But still doesn't fix the original issue of the hiker not answering, so he sees a number coming in on a 'secure' service and doesn't recognize it, would he have answered it?
Posted by: NAro

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/03/21 11:23 AM

Perhaps I'm "underthinking" this, but some of the suggestions sound apt to increase risk of introducing bumps in the system. I too am annoyed by spam calls. However, because of what I do for a living I must answer all calls even if I don't recognize the number and even if my phone notes that it is "potential spam." Some of those flagged calls were in fact appropriate and important. It takes only a moment to answer, then disconnect if the call is BS. I can't imagine any significant impact on the hiker's battery life if they did that.
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/03/21 09:35 PM

I've found that the impact on battery life depends on your distance to a tower. The phones I have used will burn battery like crazy to connect to a fringe or intermittent signal.

The other part is: the last thing I want to do on a hike in wilderness is to hear or answer any damn phone call at all, unless it's someone I know and I think it might be a critical situation. I'm out there to purge that rubbish from my mind. It completely destroys the re-sync, the rhythm, the reset. Otherwise I might as well hike in a shopping mall. My 2c.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/04/21 02:28 PM

I still have to put our phones in airplane mode when we are on the farm in WV or they will keep trying to connect to towers and drain the battery real quick.

The whole not answering the phone thing will be different per person. I was just saying I can relate because I get less than 10 legit real calls per year and 10 or more spam calls a week. Its made using my phone as a phone useless, its not about the time taken, its knowing that any call I get isn't a call I want.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/04/21 08:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Eugene
I still have to put our phones in airplane mode when we are on the farm in WV or they will keep trying to connect to towers and drain the battery real quick.

The whole not answering the phone thing will be different per person. I was just saying I can relate because I get less than 10 legit real calls per year and 10 or more spam calls a week. Its made using my phone as a phone useless, its not about the time taken, its knowing that any call I get isn't a call I want.


+1. Plus, if you answer spam calls the spammer knows there's a human at the end and you get even more calls. The guy had no idea anyone was searching for him and no reason to answer his phone. I virtually never get a real call from someone not in my contact list.
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/06/21 08:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Eugene
Originally Posted By: Ren


Once have the hikers phone number and a message to send, it can be automated, until get a response.
Spammers/scammers can't hide their phone number.


Thats what they said about caller ID when it first came out. Nothing is 100% secure, its only a matter of time before whatever system is used becomes hacked/abused.

But still doesn't fix the original issue of the hiker not answering, so he sees a number coming in on a 'secure' service and doesn't recognize it, would he have answered it?


If the hiker doesn't answer then search and rescue have to assume you require rescuing, and get a team to start a search.
Only answering and saying you are ok is going to get them to stand down.

So not answering your phone causes other people hassle, so if not going to answer regular phone calls, perhaps you should put some effort in.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/07/21 03:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Ren


If the hiker doesn't answer then search and rescue have to assume you require rescuing, and get a team to start a search.
Only answering and saying you are ok is going to get them to stand down.

So not answering your phone causes other people hassle, so if not going to answer regular phone calls, perhaps you should put some effort in.


But how is the hiker supposed to know that? Short of being psychic anyways!
Posted by: Treeseeker

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/07/21 04:03 PM

So it seems that SAR should do both.

1) First, call and leave a message if no answer. The message should contain the name of the person that instigated the search. That person presumably would be someone the hiker knows, so the hiker would infer that it is not spam.

2) Also send a text message containing the same info as in 1 above.

This doesn't require any special equipment, and since each action contains either a recording, or text message they should get through eventually (if the hiker's phone is turned off at the time, presumably the hiker will turn it on again and the messages will get through).
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/07/21 05:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
Originally Posted By: Ren


If the hiker doesn't answer then search and rescue have to assume you require rescuing, and get a team to start a search.
Only answering and saying you are ok is going to get them to stand down.

So not answering your phone causes other people hassle, so if not going to answer regular phone calls, perhaps you should put some effort in.


But how is the hiker supposed to know that? Short of being psychic anyways!


Maybe don't give your cell phone out to just anyone and certain no businesses. If you are plagued by marketing calls, get a cheap second phone keep the number to just close family & friends.

Or get a two way satellite messenger.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/07/21 06:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Ren


Maybe don't give your cell phone out to just anyone and certain no businesses. If you are plagued by marketing calls, get a cheap second phone keep the number to just close family & friends.

Or get a two way satellite messenger.


I haven't given mine out, they figure them out eventually.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/07/21 11:42 PM

Keeping your number secret sadly does not work. I have a number I have never given ANYONE that gets five or so junk calls per day.
Posted by: Ren

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/08/21 12:40 AM

Does over here. Have a mobile for family & friends for few years now, and not had a single marketing call on it.

Do not give your private cell number to any business, chance it'll get sold to scammers.

Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/08/21 01:50 AM

Unfortunately, in North America at least, it seems the phone scammers and number spoofers are running rampant. There is no way to escape them. They do mass broadcast robo-calls looking for any hint of a live number, and continue the 'sucker hunt' from there.

As a result, I assume that every call is a scam call -- until I have evidence to the contrary.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 11/08/21 11:03 AM

Yeah, in North America we're pretty much at the mercy of spam and shady businesses. There are some laws against spam and robocalls but almost no resources are devoted to enforcing them and there are tons of excuses. Unsurprisingly, politicians created exemptions for political robocalls. I expect that algorithms find numbers and if you ever answer one they'll never stop. I get between a couple and a half dozen such calls per day. About the only relief has been to set my phone to "Do Not Disturb" on the setting that allows calls only from my contact list.
Posted by: ki7he

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 01/16/22 03:13 PM

Not giving out your number doesn't prevent someone from being able to dial it. Many spammers simply automate starting at "0000“ and increment calling each until someone answers. Once you answer they know it's a real person.
Posted by: ki7he

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 01/16/22 03:23 PM

Something I've found to be somewhat effective, when I suspect a spammer, is to answer and not say anything. If it's a robot caller it waits to hear someone and then starts the recording or kicks you over to a person. If it hears nothing it gives up and marks the number as a non human number and quits calling. If it's a legitimate caller they'll eventually say "hello" and then you can answer. Although it still may be a spammer.

It's not 100% but I've significantly reduced the robo callers doing this. Your mileage may vary.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Lost hiker ignored rescue calls from unknown tel# - 01/16/22 06:44 PM

That doesn't reduce it for me, their autodailer just keeps calling back. What I found works best is to answer it, say hello or press a button, then mute the phone and sit it down. It will connect to a person and then that person's time gets wasted saying "hello? hello?". Those actually waste the scam companies time so they will be more motivated to remove you from their list.