I have finally made a decision regarding my battle with robo-spammers/tele-spammers and other similar irritants. Below are the possible actions that I have reviewed over the last few months while dealing with the massive increase in spam calls to my cell and home phones. I have fumed, articulated arguments and even written emails to representatives but common sense must prevail.
Below are some ideas you may find helpful about some of the alternatives that have been offered and reviewed over the last few months. I have given you my recommendations but the choice is yours.
Option 1: Answering the phone when the caller’s number is unfamiliar. (Not recommended)
Always an option but will usually only result in your frustration, anger and resentment which is not good for your health. It also validates that your number is a live valid number so keep it on their list. Why give them an advantage? Considerate and legitimate callers will usually leave a message, if not, don’t worry about it. As the popular song says, “Let it Go!”
Option 2: Pressing a number “to be taken off the list” (Not recommended)
This process will work for legitimate telemarketers, but valid telemarketers would not have called you in the first place, if you were on the Do Not Call list. Pressing a number on a call from a robo-spammer or tele-spammer merely confirms you answered the phone. Adding to the aggravation is that you must listen to the spiel before you find out what the number is that they want you to click.
Option 3: Returning the call. (Not recommended)
Returning a call usually only results in your confirmation of an active number so they can keep you on their list. They may even sell your number to other spammers because you have verified it is a live number. Another action from calling them back, may be, that the call will cost you additional fees, if it is from a foreign country, such as Jamaica (876 area code). This is rare but it does happen.
Also, robo-spammers are now spoofing Caller IDs, so the number you see may not really be the number that called you. When you call back all you will hear is: “the number is not in service” or it might belong to an innocent, third party.
Option 4: Arguing with the caller. (Not Recommended)
Robo-spammers will not listen to your rant anyway. Tele-spammers have heard your argument many times. They may either continue to try to scam you, or they will hang up however they may also make sure some other scammer calls your number, later. You become a target!
They may also become abusive, combative or vulgar and taunt you to do something about it. None of these actions are going to help you resolve the problem, only aggravate it.
Option 5: Blowing a horn or whistle into the phone: (Not recommended)
Robo-spammers will not be bothered so waste of time. It will irritate the tele-scammer. In retaliation, they may add your number as a “spoofed Caller ID”, so others think YOU are calling them. You may also hear retaliatory horns or whistles if the irritated called person calls YOU back!
Option 6: Forwarding the call to a government office. (Not recommended)
Never a good idea. All this does is tie up a line at a government office, and record YOUR number as the forwarding number! This is a huge problem and our congress person usually knows phone scams are a problem, and knows the FCC and FTC have been assigned the task of upholding the laws concerning this problem. Instead, you should report the problem via normal channels to the FTC or FCC.
Option 7: Giving the scammer’s phone number to other scammers. (Not recommended)
Never a good idea! More than likely the 1st scammer used a spoofed phone number, and, if you give it to other scammers, all you are doing is causing more calls to and problems for an innocent person. Remember if you try forwarding your number is the one showing up at the other end.
Option 8: Getting a new phone number (Not usually recommended)
Eventually, after getting many scam calls, some people think their only recourse is getting a new number. This is not true. The “new number” is somebody else’s “old number”, and will come accompanied with its own baggage (and calls), even if it has been inactive for a period. If you use your number for business, the turmoil will also impact your clients. The only time I recommend changing the number is if the calls become threatening, abusive or vulgar.
What I have learned: (Recommended)
I am passionate about communications so not answering a phone is aggravating and frustrating but I have learned that the model has been changed and I need to change at the same time. I have learned that I can’t do anything to stop them from calling me, I can’t personally evoke any type of penalty on them, why waste my time. I am the only one being hurt by giving in to them.
I now take a proactive approach, for example, my home voice mail message indicates that due to the rapid increase in robo-calls I have elected to NOT answer any calls from an unknown number and if they don’t leave a message, I have no obligation to respond or take any action on what the caller feels is necessary. While the ringing of the phone may seem irritating it is a small price to pay. As I mentioned above I am learning to “Let it Go!”
If you are disturbed by frequent calls from robo-spammers / tele-scammers on your cell phone, obtain a call blocker app, device, phone, or service. If it is not in the library, block callers after you have determined that they have not left a message. None of the apps are perfect but they are improving over time.
You can also look the number up online but it takes time and is not going to tell you anything more than you already suspect. It just confirms your gut feel so be aware that your look up habits may decline over time. If you have time to spare, then report the callers that continue to pester, to the DNC website but provide details wherever possible.
Note to self; The robo-marketer’s telemarketer’s lobby has a lot of money to spend on influence so until we, as the electorate, can generate enough leverage to overcome this we must learn to deal with it.
Also, remember, the Do Not Call list was designed to prevent calls from registered telemarketers, but robo-scammers / tele-spammers don’t register, and they voluntarily ignore the policy! Yes, it is illegal but the cost of tracking them down is enormous and very difficult given the technology! The DNC list is NOT a call blocker!