I have seen a few videos out there where an individual will find a spam robo caller's number and flood the call center with their own robo call.

Preventing the spammer from making any new calls and scamming more people.

Is this legal? Or is this considered just as illegal as using a robo call to scam others?

  • 4
    Regardless of the legality, one should be careful about "finding a spam robo caller's number," because most such callers spoof the caller ID, making the call appear to be from a number that has nothing to do with the spammer. More plainly: if you get a spam call and call the number that appears on your caller ID, you are almost certainly calling the wrong person.
    – phoog
    May 18, 2018 at 18:00
  • Just to be absolutely clear I am absolutely not planning on doing this. This is not me testing the waters. This is me answering a question I had while watching one of these videos. May 18, 2018 at 23:31
  • I can't find anything in the law, but I'm sure that the interest of protecting an open line for 9-1-1 or other local emergency hotlines would be cause enough to prevent this practice by legal means. Suppose a fire broke out and the person on the recieving end could not dial Emergency Services because the lines were tied up by a robo-dial scam... It could be manslaughter or a wrongful death suit.
    – hszmv
    Jul 18, 2018 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


First of all "spamming" is not the same thing as "scamming." But if you believe that the source is intentionally "spamming" or "scamming" there are places to report it (FTC, USA.gov). Going vigilante is not wise. For one thing, if you are wrong and they can show they are advertising in good faith, you may be guilty of making "harassing phone calls", which is a misdemeanor (at least in California, PEN 653m(b)).

  • The question, though, assumes that the target of the calls is indeed a spammer and scammer. With that assumption, would one violate the California statute you cite, or similar statutes in other states? Would it even be necessary to consider whether the target was "advertising in good faith"?
    – phoog
    May 18, 2018 at 21:48
  • Additionally I am not ever planning on doing this. I am wondering if these videos are showing illegal activity. May 18, 2018 at 23:33
  • @phoog I see this like fighting words. If someone challenges you to a fight saying, "I dare you to hit me right now," and you respond in a like manner, saying "I dare you to throw the first punch," then you are also guilty of fighting language. The spammer is a form of attacker and your behavior should be within the bounds of fending off personal attack. This kind of activity would be beyond that. The purpose is to deter escalation of engagements that leave a bigger mess for law enforcement to clean up. But I don't know how far we are extending these kinds of laws to electronic activity yet.
    – kleinerde
    May 19, 2018 at 2:29
  • I was really just trying to call into question your conditional: "if you are wrong...you may be guilty..." In fact, I suspect that "you may be guilty" regardless, which is really what the question is about.
    – phoog
    May 19, 2018 at 3:57

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