Phone spam

Is anyone else being bothered by phone spam? We are having to change some phone numbers in order to shut off the flow of garbage phone calls.

Over the past few months, Gretchen and I have noticed a noticeable and annoying increase in unsolicited phone calls from organizations displaying an appalling lack of understanding of basic human communication principles. These callers do not understand that some sort of interest and agreement is necessary for a meaningful conversation to take place. These phone calls are as annoying as email spam and are harder to get rid of.

If we as recipients are not interested in the subject or the caller, more calling without getting agreement from us is a waste of time. We are tired of having our time wasted by people we do not know or care to know and have taken steps to put an end to it.

Fortunately, our local phone company provides anti-telemarketing options and allows us to block specific phone numbers. This has restored our basic land line service to usefulness.

Unfortunately, our Vonage lines and our cell phone lines do not have these anti-spam features and these other phones ring at all hours of the day and night with unwanted calls.

Some of these calls are for the purpose of selling us something, others are for the purpose of collecting money from people who do not live here and never have. There are several different kinds of calls.

It is a dead giveaway when the person calling asks for "Lawrence?" "Can I speak to Lawrence? This is a confidential matter."

When told that there is no Lawrence at this number, the caller asks where Lawrence can be contacted. The conversation goes downhill from there, of course and the person eventually hangs up or we do. Then the phone rings again about an hour later and the caller ID shows it is the same caller.

There is another type of call that we have been receiving lately and it is some sort of robo-caller which only reacts if we speak into the phone, If we say, "Hello?’, we get a voice saying, "Our operators are all busy. Please wait for the next operator." These may be some sort of political activity, but we have not waited for a live operator to enlighten us.

Both Vonage and our cell phone company were able to offer us relief, but it meant having to change a few phone numbers. In the process of changing our phone numbers, we discovered that many others are finding it necessary to change their phone numbers.

If this is a growing trend, how long will it take before VOIP phone services and cell phone services offer more sophisticated caller screening and blocking.

I have seen email spam blocking systems become quite efficient at blocking the 75& of my emails that are spam. I am looking forward to the time when telephone service companies provide the same cure for phone spam.

Are others experiencing this phone spam trend?
How are you dealing with it, if you are?

UPDATE:
Some of these calls may be from Indian Telemarketing companies as described on Johnnie Moore’s Weblog. There are hundreds of comments from people who have received phone spam calls.
 

Here are some of the numbers involved:

179-336-0280 (India)
604-550-7000  (California)
1-447-793-3602 (said from India)
1-800-203-9783 (Ramada Plaza)
1-416-644-1155 (Ramada Plaza)

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0 Responses to Phone spam

  1. Mouse says:

    Move to France and don’t learn the language is my advice!
    Seriously, I suspect that many originate in the Indian subcontinent and are a real pain in the ear-piece.
    If anyone ever manages to contact me (which is a minor miracle since I use my landline for dial-up and won’t touch a mobile unless I’m wearing a lead helmet) I simply place the phone down and go about my business for an hour or so
    Or, in the case of double-glazing sales people I play the highest note that I cna hit on my flute and that smashes their windows
    I guess this problem is a manifestation of technology taking over the world?

  2. so says:

    Unfortunately, caller IDs can be spoofed. So, the number you think is calling you is not necessarily the person/business/location shown.

  3. Regarding caller ID falsification (spoofing), the comments on Johnnie Moore’s weblog describe several instances of this practice.

    It was interesting that some of the comments were left by people who worked in these Indian call centers!

    Read his weblog article for an eye opening discussion of the brave new world of “voice marketing”.

  4. Perspective says:

    Concept: “Hanging up on yourself”

    Several years ago I learned the marvelous power in ending calls I don’t want. In our culture we broadly accept that it is rude to hang up on someone while they are talking. So,…hang up while you are talking.

    Example: “Thank you for calling, I’ve been eager to learn”…CLICK. (and then don’t answer the phone for a while or let voice mail handle calls)

    No one would dream that you would hang up while you were talking. End Result: You are off the phone. They are baffled. Easy.

    Certainly not a perfect solution, but it clears your lines before you have to hear a pitch of any sort.

  5. Mouse says:

    I wished I’d thought of hanging up on myself while I was working in tech support!
    Think of the hours of endless fun I could have had teasing the customers
    “and so in order to ensure that you don’t lose your production system at peak activity time you really must…..”
    “and so I wanted to let you know about this potentially disastrous….”
    No, not really, but the thought did make me chuckle!
    Another option is to speak Breton but that wouldn’t work so well here in Brittany…

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