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?

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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