A New and Slimy Scam

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So my wife picks up the phone this morning and hears a solemn, dreary female voice intone, “This call is from Social Security Administration–” Here Patty hung up.

Note the absence of the “the.” Not the Social Security Administration. Like, maybe there’s more than one?

I wonder what the pitch would have been. Were they angling for confidential information–so helpful in any enterprise involving identity theft–or would they try to sell us something? Maybe sign us up for a time share at Chernobyl.

We probably get half a dozen of these calls a day, and sometimes more. Law enforcement seems unable to stem the tide. The telephone has become a burglary tool–or are they just into pure harassment?

Boy, there are a lot of creeps out there.

You Answer the Phone and There’s No One There…

What to do if you receive one of the 996 million nuisance cold calls and  texts | youTalk-insurance.com

We got five of these calls yesterday–answer the phone and there’s no one there. It’s really annoying!

Reading up on it, we find two chief causes of nobody-there phone calls: 1) telemarketing robots mindlessly dialing numbers even when the telemarketer isn’t there to pester the victim; and 2) collecting in-use phone numbers for sale to criminals who want to steal your identity or hack into your bank account.

The advice we get from all sources is, “Just hang up.”

I don’t know why telemarketing is allowed at all. Actually, one of my first jobs after college graduation was as a telemarketer for Time-Life Books. At least I was a real person whom the victim could curse at and call names. I mean, when you’ve just sat down to your dinner, and you’ve got a loved one in the hospital, you’re gonna get up and answer the phone, aren’t you? And when it’s nobody–!

These calls are up there with aiming floodlights at your neighbor’s bedroom window all night, or cutting loose with your leaf-blower at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Crimes against the quality of life…

‘The Newest Phone Scam’ (2017)

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With much of The Great Quarantine still in force, and many of us stuck at home for more of the day than usual–boy, do we get robo-calls! Every nuisance in the world has our number. And sometimes they come up with something new, like this:

The Newest Phone Scam

It’s brutal. Yesterday we got “This is your final notice” three times, and of course we got “This is an apology call,” too. In 2017 they came up with the Fake Wrong Number Gambit.

Why can’t our all-wise, all-powerful government put a stop of these? Why would we want to give them more power, when they can’t even slow down the scammers?

How to Stymie Robo-Calls

How to Protect Yourself From Robocalls - Consumer Reports

I’ve just learned something!

We’re getting bombarded with robo-calls today, the same stupid calls we get all the time, every day (“This is an apology call…”, “This is your final notice…”, etc.). It’s pure annoyance for annoyance’s sake: you’re not going to buy their product.

The phone rings again. I answer it. Only instead of saying “Hello,” I say, “This had better be good.” Response: nothing. Silence.

It rings again. This time I say, “Who’s this?” Silence.

A third time. “What’s this, then?” And for the third time, silence.

And then it dawns on me! If you say “Hello,” you engage the robot to go into its spiel. If you don’t say “Hello,” it doesn’t engage.

This way you get the added benefit of a real caller hearing you and responding to your other-than-hello.

That’s how I’m going to answer the phone from now on.

Robo-Harassment

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If your ex-boyfriend phones you every day, long after you’ve told him, many times, that you don’t want to hear from him again, you can take his butt to court–right? I mean, that’s harassment, isn’t it? Like, it’s stalking!

So how come it’s okay for the same fly-by-night businesses to phone you every single day no matter how often you curse them, razz them, hang up on them, or scream? “This is your final notice…” for the ten thousandth time. “This is an apology call…” “This is an important message…” Yeah, right. That’s why it’s being delivered by a robot?

They call you every day. You’d think, after the thousandth time or so, that it’d dawn on them that you don’t want what they’re selling. But it doesn’t, because it’s not possible for anything to dawn on a robot.

The persons responsible for these calls should be prosecuted for harassment. They should be treated like stalkers, because that’s what they are. And I’m dashed if I can see how they get away with it.

‘A Nuisance Call’ (2014)

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With the Great Quarantine choking off our nation’s economy  and driving us crazy in ways too numerous to mention, the robo-callers have stepped up their attacks on our privacy. We must have gotten half a dozen of them yesterday.

A Nuisance Call

Y’know, you’re trying to eat supper and every couple minutes the phone rings again, and it’s always some shyster-bot trying to sell you something. But you still have to get up and answer it, just on the increasingly unlikely chance that it’s important.

Some bold president or governor could be elected King o’ the World if he outlawed unsolicited solicitations.

‘A New Phone Scam’ (2017)

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You’ve gotta be scared when you hear “the federal government is going to sue you”!

A New Phone Scam

You wonder how anybody could fall for such an obvious scam. Really! The whole federal government? Gunnin’ for l’il ol’ me?

But there must be an awful lot of dangerously credulous people out there, or we wouldn’t get phone calls like this. And there wouldn’t be so many of them if we didn’t have such an immoral culture.

‘How Stupid Are We?'(2013)

“Please continue to hold…”

How Stupid Are We?

That’s a freakin’ robot “asking” you to stand there holding your phone while they prepare to hit you with a commercial.

Who’s stupider? Someone who actually waits on hold because a robot told him to, or someone who thinks this is a fantastic way to sell his product?

And the nuisance calls keep coming…

‘A Nuisance Call’ (2014)

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Boy, do we get nuisance calls! No end to them. I can hardly believe that it’s been going on for at least five years.

A Nuisance Call

Need I advise anyone to just hang up, if you get one of these? They want your credit card numbers, they want your bank account numbers–they want to strip you bare.

I remember the time some crook stole Patty’s credit card, right out of her purse in her office; and before the police could get there, the bad guy had run up $1,000 worth of of fancy sneakers.

‘How Stupid Are We?’ (2013)

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How stupid? Well, we let robots walk all over us. If people weren’t stupid–or at least fantastically credulous–there’d be no robo-calls.

How Stupid Are We?

Mayor Bloomberg never did get around to reserving ten thousand New York City parking spaces for electric cars–it’s so hard to control everything! He left office with people still able to obtain french fries: surely a sore disappointment to him.

And then there’s the characters we send to Capitol Hill to rule us and make themselves fabulously wealthy. It’s astounding, how rich you can get in “public service”! And all on our dime!

Something ought to be done about that, someday. But we’d have to get a bit smarter first, and public education is there to make sure that never happens.