Stop Calling Me!!!

Seven.  Seven.  Eight.  Seven.  NINE!  This is ridiculous.  This must stop!  NOW!!!  Those are the number of scam or robo-calls I have gotten per day for the past few days.  It used to be two or three a day, and while I found that annoying, I could live with it.  But this has gone far beyond what I find acceptable and I am, quite frankly, highly pissed!  This is harassment, especially considering they start before I am awake and go as late as 9:00 p.m.!  I have to keep the ringer turned off on my phone, meaning I occasionally miss a call that I needed or wanted to receive.  I do not answer these calls, for I’m told that doing so confirms to the caller that it is a working number and the calls will merely increase in number.  I did answer one a few months ago with, “What the [expletive deleted] do you [expletive deleted] want???”, and perhaps that is why the calls have increased, but still, there must surely be a way to stop it, other than giving up my cell phone altogether?  And besides not answering, I immediately block every number from which I receive a call from an unknown number.  My ‘blocked calls’ list now numbers more than 400!!!  It doesn’t seem to matter, for these scammers buy blocks of hundreds of numbers, so if I block one, their computer just uses another.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped up its fight against unwanted calls, implementing a rule authorizing phone companies to block scammers before they reach consumers by spotting invalid numbers and an initiative to develop an authentication system for caller ID.  Sorry, guys, but it ain’t working!

The problem, in part, is that although phone companies are now authorized to preempt scammers under the FCC’s rules, they are not required to.

It is not my imagination that these unwanted, harassing calls have increased.  In 2017, only 3.7% of all cell phone calls were by scammers.  Last year, the number jumped to 29%, and in early 2019 it is estimated at 45%.  For me, it is more like 90%, since on average I receive only one wanted call per day, and 7-9 unwanted ones!

As I said, I do not take these calls, and rarely do they leave any message, but a few times they have left a message warning me that I am wanted by the FBI, that there is a warrant out for my arrest in _____________ (name that state, typically one I haven’t been in for 40 years or more, if ever), and I must call now!  But imagine the person, most often a senior citizen (I refuse to think of myself as one just yet), who does answer the call.  Here are a few of the possibilities …

  • Callers use telephone numbers that mimic actual IRS assistance centers, claim to be IRS employees and use fake names and phony badge numbers. The IRS says victims are falsely told they owe money to the government and are urged to pay through a gift card or wire transfer. Scammers may also take advantage of the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence, the IRS warned. Scammers can pose as a charitable organization, preying on the generosity of Americans who want to help those affected by the storm.
  • Scammers also trick people into answering their calls with a scheme known as neighborhood spoofing, in which they manipulate caller ID information so that their actual phone number is masked. Instead, the calls appear to have been placed locally. A person looking at their caller ID will see a number that matches their own area code, as if the caller is a neighbor or a relative. Because the number appears familiar, people are more likely to answer the call. (Approximately 70% of my unwanted calls are from numbers where the first 6 digits match my own)

scam-callIt’s illegal for telemarketers to call someone whose number is on the national do-not-call registry (as mine is), unless they have an existing business relationship or the phone owner’s explicit written permission. But people who ignore the list or engage in deception are often hard to hold to account. They make calls from abroad, obscure their locations and place a tremendous number of calls.

Now, enter our knight on the white horse (sarcasm intended), the United States Federal Government.  According to a February 10th article in The Washington Post

Thankfully, proposals in both chambers of Congress offer some hope. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J) introduced a bill in the House last week closing the loophole on autodialers who today take advantage of outdated legal language. That should deter legitimate businesses from abuse. As for the spoofers, major carriers could deploy a technology as early as this year that will tell consumers whether an incoming call comes from a verified number. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had already urged carriers to adopt these authentication systems, but he stopped short of mandating it. Mr. Pallone’s bill would do just that, as would legislation in the Senate co-written by Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). And Mr. Pallone’s sensibly would require phone companies to provide blocking services against spoofers free of charge.

My antennae automatically go up when I hear Ajit Pai’s name, for he is the one who killed net neutrality, thereby making it quite clear that his interests are tied with big business, not We the People.  However, we must start somewhere, for otherwise our cell phones have become naught but an albatross.  Congress needs to get busy on this and pass these bills, although I have doubts that it will be enforced.  It’s a damn shame that we pay exorbitant amounts to purchase and use our cell phones, and then find that we have no control, they are not for our convenience, but for the convenience of scammers and big business who have found a cheap way to market their junk.

49 thoughts on “Stop Calling Me!!!

  1. I have had a lifetime ambivalence with a phone, I prefer face to face talks but a phone is many times a necessity. I will not waste my minutes, in time or money, listening to these pathetic robo-calls! My unsophisticated phone provides mainly two things, the ability to receive and make calls…no apps, no facetiming, and only a pitiful camera. The calls that I receive on any given day are primarily from these idiots and I am on that national do-not-call list too! I NEVER answer my phone unless it is from the call list in my phone and that shows the name or business of the caller. Some very, very long time ago, I did listen to a voice message that was left and it was about a warrant for my arrest and to call right away…I didn’t and am still walking around without cuffs. Now, I simply delete these numbers and messages left from an unknown entity. I would venture to say that if we are waiting for the government to pass and enforce legislation to eliminate the problem…we most likely wait in vain. Thank-you!

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    • Isn’t it weird that we have nostalgia for the old nigerian scammer days. 🙂
      Best solution i found is to turn the ringer off, and simply turn notification on when you get a call. Then you may review the list of callers at your leisure and filter all the junk.
      It’s basically like vocal email, junk goes into SPAM folder, legitimate calls get returned. Easy peasy!

      Liked by 2 people

    • And I wonder how many people fall for that? That’s the worst thing … you and I are smart enough to see it for the scam it is, but many aren’t. Obviously some fall for it, else they wouldn’t keep doing it. And usually they prey on the elderly. Yes, the lottery one is good, and remember the Nigerian who wanted to transfer all his money to your account, if only you would send him your bank info? ‘Twould be funny, if only …

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  2. I only have a mobile (cell phone). No landline. It is turned off roughly 8 pm to 8 am and I have an answer service that tells people to send a text if they want to get my attention. Saves quite a lot of hassle (and money). 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    • Smart move! I disconnected our land line phones years ago, and now keep the ringer turned off on my cell 90% of the time, but still, the calls annoy me just for the fact that they happen. As rawgod commented, the more technology helps us, the more it hurts us. There always has to be somebody out there to find ways to use it for nefarious purposes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jill. THere is a bit of disinformation you have gotten. You should listen to the message all the way through. The reason is some of the calls are real sales calls. They normally have a line at the end to press ## for a service member or press $$ to be taken off the call list. Trust me they change the press this numbers a lot. I do this, the spouse doesn’t. He gets angry and hangs up, they keep calling. The other type are the scams. These do not offer you to be taken off the call list and if you do stay on the call and talk to someone most times they will admit it is a scam or that they simply won’t do as you ask. However you are taking up their time which pisses them off. Normally when you insist and talk about the actions your local carrier can take they hang up. But even that tends to cut down the calls. I rarely get them now but when I do it is annoying as … Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Your advice makes sense, but I cannot stand to waste time staying on the line waiting for an ‘opt out’ option, and actually talking to one of these scammers would be impossible to do without a lot of language that isn’t very ladylike 😉 My temperament is likely more like Ron’s than yours, for you seem to have a lot of patience … I sorely lack patience, especially when it comes to time, for there just never seems to be enough of it! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Jill. Up here in Canada I have that experience with my land line, not my cell. I can’t cancel the land line without causing my monthly bill to go up substantially, so I’m just going to disconnect those phones. The people I want to be able to reach me have my cell number. But you are absolutely right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey John! Good to see you! Yes, rawgod, who is also in Canada has said the same, that the cell phone isn’t the problem but the land line is. That is exactly what I did with our land line … couldn’t cancel it if I wanted to keep our high speed WiFi, so we just took the phones down. I imagine there are a few hundred voice mails piled up, for it’s been about 3-4 years since we did that 🙂 Hugs, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Here, they are calling on the landline, claiming to be Microsoft HelpCenter agents who want to help with a computer problem…. that does not exist of course. They always use phone numbers from different countries (very often Britisch ones). Apparently if you fall for their scam, they make you go to your pc and download stuff “to help fix your problem”….yeah….. They typically start with the sentence “I am calling you from Microsoft” … – at which point I interrupt them with “no you are not” and hang up. – Luckily, they have not called for a while. Maybe I was rude enough. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • It is impossible to be too rude. Depending on if they are male or female I advise them to do certain highly gross things to or with their bodies, but they call back the next day anyway. Believe me, I have a very imaginative mind, and my significant other sometimes runs out of the room, but it does not help. They obviously get paid a goodly amount of money to listen to the worst humanity can offer. Why else would they do it?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, I have gotten the ones claiming to be from Microsoft, too. And nowadays I get emails claiming that they come from Microsoft and that they have determined there is a problem with my computer and I must give them access to fix it immediately, else I could lose all my data. Yeah, right, and I was born yesterday? The bad thing, though, is that some people obviously do fall for these scams, else they wouldn’t still be doing them.

      How’s your weather over in the Netherlands? I hear that flowers are coming up already on your side of the pond! I’m jealous!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Get them in Britain too. I got one yesterday (usually I don’t answer but this one I did). It was looking to assist me in a car accident that I never had (fishing). I got angry, saying ” I have never had an accident (not entirely true, but certainly not in Britain), and you are calling me illegally.” Needless to say, they hung up! But no, they won’t stop. I have a a service that supposedly blocks them, but the callers find ways. Once, I answered, and then just kept whispering” what? Speak up, I can’t hear you!” The louder they got, the more I whispered. They gave up eventually. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    • I like your whispering idea 😀 I used to speak Spanish to them and pretend I didn’t understand English, but more often than not these days, they speak better Spanish than they do English! And I like what one of my friends does, he pretends to be a police officer in the midst of a criminal investigation and asks them all sorts of questions. I just wish they would stop, for I use my phone for a number of things and am seriously considering just giving it up altogether.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I use a free service on my landline called Norobo that has helped a lot. I accessed it through my cable network of which my phone is included in the package.

    Liked by 3 people

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