Since our last visit I have been busier than usual. The Parade of Life includes events of joy, such as a son’s wedding (exhilarating, but tiring). Life throws a curve ball at you too, like the funeral of a beloved brother-in-law (COVID-19 strikes again). Mix in a full-time job, a few side gigs, and a rainy September encouraging lush green grass to grow, and I’m that dog chasing his tail, all the time.
In the midst of it all, I needed a long nap. I left my cell phone in another room, out of earshot. My sore bones were slowly rejuvenating and I was plunged into dreamland. Then it happened. The disagreeable ringing of my landline.
Yes, I haven’t cut the cord from the old phone yet. My wife and I use our reliable cell phones 99% of the time. We kept our landline for two reasons: first, because it is included in our cable TV and Internet service âpackageâ; and second, because our elderly parents had memorized this phone number, and they preferred to contact us on a âreal phoneâ.
Those loved ones have since passed away, but your old landline still collects dust on a corner table, like a long neglected museum exhibit. Anyone under the age of 25 would be baffled by the device, looking in vain for the camera button. Most of the time, it remains intact, a relic from another era.
When we changed our cable / phone provider a few years ago, a new phone number was an unexpected benefit. We only shared it with our sons and a few close friends. We quickly noticed that the annoying robocalls were suddenly gone. Our new phone number hadn’t reached the crooks yet, and the landline was silent. But eventually the crooks found us, and during my aforementioned nap, there was an unwelcome interruption.
I know what you are saying, “Ignore these calls and they will go!” This statement is correct, and I have often given this advice myself. However, in the midst of a deep sleep, I rushed to answer the phone.
She was a nice lady with “good news” about a free hotel stay. Why me? Why now? Didn’t I read a few days ago that robocalls had been eradicated?
Of course I did, and maybe you have too. Most states started implementing âanti-bot principlesâ in 2019. Since then, they say 52 billion spam calls have been blocked. It’s impressive, but they still have a few billion to go. And it’s the next part of the report that makes me scratch my head.
So far this year, nearly 400,000 Americans have filed complaints against telemarketers, claiming a total of $ 356 million in losses. “These numbers underscore the need to continue to fight the scourge of robocalls,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
In that single sentence, we learned why the crooks are still in business: we send them our money. On “Green Acres,” the amiable con artist Mr. Haney would put a boat engine in a barrel and call it a washing machine, and sell it to a gullible lawyer turned farmer.
Fifty years later, Mr. Haney’s are much more sophisticated and even more successful. No matter how many times the Better Business Bureau warns us about keeping our Social Security numbers close to our waistcoat and our credit card numbers closer, many of us hand over the contents of our wallet to someone else. long distance bandit.
Scammers are taking advantage of today’s technology. The calls are inexpensive and easy to schedule. They can contact millions of consumers on a daily basis. If only a handful of people take the bait, the thieves take it.
A typical opening line is, âDon’t hang up! Your chronic back pain could be a thing of the past! My first impulse is to shout: “No, it hurts a lot, but it’s a few inches below my back, and you are the cause!”
While this rant should give me immediate relief, it actually causes more grief. Robocallers WANT me to answer. Whether I hit one to speak to a rep or two to get off our list, I let them know that my phone is being answered by a real person. This means the next time I watch the big game my phone will probably ring again.
Blocking numbers once seemed like a safe cure, but that doesn’t seem to help. There is no foolproof way to stop calls, but the less human contact you have with these “bots” the better. If you’re worried about missing an important call, consider this. The people who really know you or who really need to leave you a message. Otherwise, ignore calls from numbers you don’t recognize. Tell your family, friends and neighbors: don’t answer. Don’t feed the beast.
(David Carroll is a Chattanooga TV news anchor and radio host, and is online at ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. His new book is “Hello Chattanooga: Famous People Who Have Visit The Tennessee Valley”. You can contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or [email protected])