Solution to phone scams? Anti-pedophile technology, says retired Judge Steven Jones

Valerie Lick • Aug 7, 2018 at 1:30 PM

If you own a phone, you’ve doubtless become painfully familiar with the most annoying form of scammer: Fraudulent callers. Retired Judge Steven Jones wants elected officials to crack down on these scammers.

“This has become the number one complaint that citizens make to the government,” Jones told the Times News before speaking to the Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s Club. “The question is… what is the government doing about it?”

According to Jones, they aren’t doing nearly enough.

“I worked for years as a prosecutor, a judge, an official in Washington, and we never did address this,” he said. Fraudulent callers, he acknowledged, are incredibly difficult to find and prosecute. “They keep developing new scams, and the scammers have no fear of prosecution.”

Jones has been retired for several years, but he finds that the issue persists — and may have even gotten worse. He made several complaints about fraudulent callers to organizations from local law enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission, to no result.

“I’ve yet to hear back from them,” he told the audience wryly.

The solution? Jones said officials running for office should start taking the issue of fraudulent callers seriously.

“Elected officials need to make this a priority,” he said. “We’ve gotten complacent.”

Jones said that, if law enforcement is given the resources needed to keep fraudulent callers at bay, there is a pre-existing method that could help track down scammers.

“I saw what the federal government is capable of when they took on pedophiles,” Jones said. He explained that, at one point in his career, he made yearly visits to a lab that used phone tracing technology to find potential sex criminals. “I know what they can do if they have the resources.”

By speaking out about an issue that many Americans think of as an inescapable part of life, Jones hopes to stop the onslaught of phone scams: “I think there is a solution, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”