Spamming Response

I am totally unsurprised by this situation:

Robocallers and spam callers are getting quite good at masking their identify. They do this partly by “spoofing” local numbers, making it seem like a legitimate local number is calling to increase the likelihood that you’ll answer. That’s the reason, according to Hiya, that around 9 percent of spam calls a month actually get answered by phone owners even though they don’t recognize the number calling.
Nine percent might not sound like much, until you consider the fact that 26.3 billion robocalls were made to American phones in 2018.

Result:

The nearly 50 percent of phone calls that go unanswered jumps way up to 76 percent of calls left unanswered — a little more than three out of every four — when the call comes from an unidentified or unfamiliar number.

In my case, that would be 100 percent.  I never  answer a call if the caller is unidentified (i.e. isn’t among my saved contacts).  As a result, I always tell people to email their phone numbers to me first so I can add them to my contact list.  Otherwise, their calls will be met with indifference.

Sucks, but that’s what happens when people use technology indiscriminately and unprompted.

18 comments

  1. Same here. I also let folks know to leave a voice mail if they are calling from a number that I don’t have if they want any chance of me paying attention to their call.

    I went one step further on my phone and set up so that if you aren’t in my speed dial (less than 10 people, family and close friends) my phone won’t even ring, so unless I happen to be looking at it during the call attempt, I won’t even know there was a call until I see a missed call (usually a few hours later, or the next day.)

  2. I’m old, retired, and like to play games, so contrary to common sense, I answer all these calls. It gives me purpose in life. However, I don’t just say, “Hello.” I answer these unknown calls in a specific manner:

    “This is the White House, Donald Trump here, Make American Great Again.”

    In about 80-90% of the cases, there is an immediate “click” on the other end and the call terminates. It gives me a warm fuzzy each time.

    I will admit, my financial advisor’s secretary called once from an unknown number. It was before my current response when I’d answer the phone a different way:

    “Redneck Pleasure Palace, and how may I pleasure you today.”

    A little embarrassing when the above lady was calling with some questions. But, we all get a laugh out of it each time I visit their office.

    1. Oh, that first one is hilarious. I gotta try that some time.

      My cell phone number’s exchange happens to be for a town on the other side of Dallas, where I don’t know anyone, so any time I get a call from that exchange, I know right from the start it’s spam.

    2. My grandfather was known to sometimes answer the phone with “Duffy’s Morgue…you stab ’em, we slab ’em.” Sounds like a similar kind of prank.

      1. Back in my Navy days before Caller ID, I had a Chief that always answered her home phone with “County Morgue.”

  3. Old people like Redneckgeezer are funny, I know because I am one, I do get calls from time to time that I need to answer from numbers not in my phone from Doctors and some others. My zip code on my phone is from an area where I used to live so I usually know those are crap calls but I have plenty of time to screw with callers so at times I answer the phone, put it on speaker and see how long I can keep an actual person on the phone before they realize I am crazy.

    Once they kind of decide I am totally nuts I laugh a bit and say “got ya” and tell them I know their performance for their job is based on how many successful calls they handle per hour. I tell them I plan to tie up each person as long as I can with an unsuccessful call and ask them how they are doing today and if the sun is shining where they live and other stuff like that until they hang up on me. It has cut my calls way down and I feel a slight bit of accomplishment for screwing around with those live people folk.

    My favorite is the calls where they congratulate me for winning, usually a free trip to get a sales pitch for a time share or something. I explain to the caller that no we lost and we were so disappointed, it left my wife in tears because her heart was set on winning and when they argue I tell them to talk to their boss who will confirm we lost and we were sure we would win this time. Just a little bit of that round and round grief about our loss and they hang up and if they don’t I ask them what they are wearing and what color underwear they have on.

  4. Spam, scam and robo calls shouldn’t be a capital offense (for the first instance anyway).

    On those rare occasions when I DO answer an unknown call, it’s with “Metro PD, fraud division.” That usually gets a gasp and a click.

  5. I don’t think I’ve answered more than 2 “unknown caller” calls in the past 2 or 3 years. That’s what voice mail is for. On the off chance the call is important they’ll leave a message. If they don’t, then by definition it wasn’t important. I have a phone for my convenience and safety, not to provide some telemarketer a living.

  6. It wasn’t until I read this post that I realized I hadn’t received a spam call in a week or more. Just didn’t miss em I guess.

    I don’t answer numbers not on my contact list.
    I’m on a 3 year old LG Tracfone that cost $90 new and since I rarely use it I buy a $100 card and it lasts a year or more. So when these assholes call they are costing me money by using up minutes I have already paid for.

    I was getting one call, every dam day, that always left a voice mail and it was a broken up recording of what sounded like an ornamental (asian) woman and of course I have no idea what she’s saying. So I delete the message from my voice mail and add the number to the Blocker app. But they keep changing numbers each time.

    I wish I could hit *.* on my phone when they call and destroy the circuits in their system. Somebody should create an app for that.

    1. Unless your voice mail calls are free, you’ll probably waste fewer minutes by answering and immediately hanging up.

  7. Since I use the phone for work, I often answer then immediately block the number if it’s a scam. There are days when it gets infuriating and I end up answering and cursing out the scammers.

  8. “FCC …. tightening up the caller ID rules..”
    Bwaaahaaahaaa – like the national Do Not Call List?
    If the gummint was actually serious, they’d make the ownership and sale of spoofing devices and robocallers a felony; likewise violating the DNC list. Of course, that would hurt politicians grubbing for dollars and a billion useless charities whose only purpose is a nice salary for their executives.
    But..but .. FOAD. I never give a dime to any phone solicitation, even legitimate callers, and I tell them that, and to send me a letter and I’ll think about it.

  9. I remember a great quote from I believe the author of The Catcher in The Rye – JD Salinger, a well known hermit, that although he had a phone he never answered it. He said he rejected the idea “that someone could make a bell ring in his home.”

  10. This has gotten so bad for me that I downloaded a blacklist app and set it up to send EVERY call that isn’t from someone in my contacts list to voicemail. I just need to remember to check that once a day or so. Previously I was getting 6-10 junk calls daily.

  11. “If the gummint was actually serious, they’d make the ownership and sale of spoofing devices and robocallers a felony..”

    There should be a government office in every major city which pays $10K in cash for the severed head of a robocaller or telemarketer. That would show they’re serious.

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