Botherations and Nuisances

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March 26, 2019 by phicks2012

These days it’s nearly impossible to stop nuisance calls. They call day and (sometimes) night. They call from different phone numbers every time, so that we can’t realistically block them, and they spoof the numbers of innocent people (including sometimes our own). Once they get hold of it, they will never actually take a number off of their lists, and they rarely (if ever) are providing a service we might actually want, or in any sort of ethical manner.

If these callers were ethical, legitimate businesses, which they are NOT, their company names would show up on Caller ID, but they almost never do, right? Further, it’s usually a computer (i.e., “Robocaller”) doing the calling, and if we let it connect us to a living human being and try to tell them to take our number off of their list they will hang up before we get two words out.

Most call blocking technology is of a “Black List” type, meaning that you can block individual numbers, but since these people rarely use the same number twice that does not work at ALL — and we’d probably actually be blocking the number of some poor widowed librarian in Scratchankle, FL who never made a nuisance call in her life, right? πŸ˜‰

Both of my own numbers have been registered (respectively) with the National Do Not Call List since October of 2003 and March of 2010. But this only stops legitimate businesses from soliciting me — and I think we’ve already established that 98% of these callers do NOT fit into that category.

In 2017, I signed up with Comcast for NOMOROBO, which is supposed to stop robocalls, but for some reason it does not. Nope. I was still getting up to 20 nuisance calls a day, MOST of them robocalls.

Soon after discovering the futility of NOMOROBO, I therefore equipped my land line (on which 99% of incoming calls are nuisance calls) with a Sentry Call Blocking Box. It uses a “White List” technology, meaning that it will only allow calls to ring through if those numbers are programmed into the box, and rejects unknown numbers in general. However, for practical reasons it does allow unknown numbers to ring ONCE before going to the message that tells telemarketers and spammers to remove the number, and advises legitimate callers to press “0” to leave a message requesting to be put on the ALLOWED NUMBER list. As a result, I know that I’m still getting a LOT of robocalls and other unwanted solicitations — but so far this has been the best solution EVER. Also, if I’m in a room where I cannot see caller ID, I no longer have to risk breaking my neck to reach a caller ID read-out within 3 seconds to figure out whether or not to answer the phone. If the phone only rings once, I can safely ignore it. YES!!!!!

However, in February of 2019 I used *77 Anonymous Call Rejection to place a further barrier between me and these people. That doesn’t work either, by the way, unless the account name on Caller ID reads “Unknown Caller” or “Anonymous”. Otherwise, forget it. It could read “Outright Scammer” and the call would still get through.

So much for stubbornly hanging onto a landline, huh? Until recently I was fairly safe on my mobile phone, but in the past few months I’ve started getting a few unwanted calls there too. I’m using HIYA, which is a mobile app intended to update regularly with numbers used by known scammers and warn you when you get a suspicious call. It does not block them, mind you. However, you can then block the number manually, and I’ve started reporting every single one.

The advice I’ve gotten (from official sources) is that when I get an unwanted call:
1) Do not answer the phone.
2) Do not call them back to ask them to remove me. They will not do so.
3) Do not press a number to be removed from their calling list. They will not remove me.
4) If I am on the National Do Not Call List, which I am, report the call at https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
5) When calling any number that might be a scammer, or get me onto an unwanted call list, use *67 to block my own number so that they will not see it.

Alternately, I’ve had the following suggestions (not sure how well they work, though) from friends who are just as pissed off and frustrated as I am:
1) Keep a coach’s whistle handy, and when called by a living scammer blow it hard into the receiver.
2) Try to sell THEM something — like a time-share in Pisgah, AL — and be really annoying and persistent about it.
3) Call them back and tell them you want to talk to them about God, and acknowledging Jesus/Budda/Mohammed/Cthulu as their personal savior.
4) Call them back, and before agreeing to talk to them ask them for a lot of personal information — the more intrusive the better, and make it clear you’re writing everything down.
5) Call them back and play a recorded message stating that the call may be recorded for security reasons — and then seemingly leaving them on hold for an interminable time with horrible hold music. Loud Mariachi will work in a pinch, as will off-key Gospel music, really bad, twangy Country, and cranked up Death Metal.
6) Call them back with a recording saying something like, “Hi! This is Heather at Indefensible Services calling to let you know that thanks to new government regulations you might qualify for a ridiculously low interest credit card (or your very own Styrofoam back or knee brace)!! Interested? Then just hang on the line for the next available agent!!!!” And then segue into bad hold music that never ends.

Other suggestions are welcomed and encouraged, by the way, because the thought of retaliation pleases me and delights my sense of universal justice. πŸ˜‰

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phicks2012

phicks2012

I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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