Before I continue with this post, please note that my cell phone number has been on the national Do Not Call registry for the past twelve years. And even with that in mind, I still receive several calls from spambots, robocallers, telemarketers and swindlers.
Here’s what they do. First you receive a call from an unfamiliar area code. Now for me, I deal with long distance calls all the time, whether they’re from California or Ontario. Sometimes I don’t recognize a phone call. So I answer the phone.
And then I hear that click. That click that tells me that the other party on the phone call has reached a live person (me), and now I get the robocall.
“Hi, this is Brenda from Card Services, contacting you about reducing your interest rate on your credit card…”
“Hi, this is Tom from Motor Vehicle Services, contacting you about the warranty on your car expiring…”
“Hi, this is Kim from Security Systems, contacting you to see if you’d like a free security system installed…”
“Hi, this is Debbie from Marriott Hotels, your telephone number has been pre-selected to win a vacation…”
And if you hang up, they call back a few hours later. And then they want personal information from you. They want to know the mileage on your car. They want to know your bank account information or social security number. They want lots of things.
What they really want is your money. And they want you to willingly – or unthinkably – give your money to them.
Sometimes the Caller ID on the phone will be a phony number – you try to call it back, and it’s a dead number. Or you call the number back and it’s a redirect to an innocent person who has no idea what you’re talking about. Or you’ll get a listing of “Unidentified Caller” or “Unknown Caller,” and when you pick up to answer the call …
Same old thing.
I decided that I’d had enough. If these clowns were skirting the National Do Not Call Registry and continuing to harass me day and night, if they were willing to interrupt my life with their attempts to swindle me out of money…
Then I need to talk to my cell phone service provider. Because certainly, there must be something that Verizon can do about this. They must have some hidden technology that can track down these scurvy varmints. So hello, Verizon…
I called Verizon and spoke to someone named Ben. I told him my concerns, how I’d been contacted and bothered and harassed by these robocalls and telemarketers.
“Well, sir, the problem is, if they’re using Caller ID spoofing software, there’s no way we can find out who called you.”
“Yes sir, unfortunately, if they contact you and they don’t provide a proper telephone number to call back, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
So wait, if I’m getting harassed by these calls, if they’re interrupting my work and my social life and my privacy… and I’m on the Do Not Call Registry and have been FOR THE LAST TWELVE FREAKIN’ YEARS, you can’t stop them from doing these things?
“The only way we could theoretically stop them is if you changed your phone number. Would you like us to do that for you, sir?”
Wait. This is not making sense. I’m getting harassed by these spambots and robocallers and whatnot, and you’re telling me that the only way to avoid dealing with these clowns is to change my own personal number? Yeah, problem with that is I would have to re-establish a new phone number and re-contact everybody to give them my new number. And how long before the spambots and the robocallers get their mitts on that number and start hassling me again…
The only thing that can even equate to this logic is that old trope about if you’re in the playground and the bullies are picking on you, you should ignore them and they’ll go away. Right. That’s the third-biggest lie since “I can’t pay you to take photos for me, but I promise you’ll get plenty of exposure and I’ll tell all my friends about your work and you’ll get lots of business from it,” and “I don’t understand why you’re still single, you’ve got looks and brains and charisma, the women should be fighting over who gets to date you.”
Yeah… no. I’ve dealt with robocallers and spambots in the past; my experience with August Cove Resorts was an early favorite blog post. Maybe I need to take matters into my own hands. Maybe I need to find a way to beat the spambots at their own game.
“So there’s really nothing you can do for me, Ben?” I asked.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Miller, I wish there was. If there’s nothing else I can do for you, thank you for calling Verizon Wireless.”
Pfft. Call ended. Well, I guess I have to figure something out on my own. Because obviously Verizon Wireless doesn’t give two hangs and a bang about a longstanding and loyal customer. All they care about is –
Wait a second. Call coming in on my BlackBerry. I don’t recognize this area code. Let’s see… “Hello?”
“Welcome to Verizon Wireless. We would like you to take a brief survey based on the customer service you recently received…”
I hung up.
Yep. This really happened. Verizon couldn’t help me out – and then they followed up the call with a robocall of their own. Wow. And this is a company that has information on the National Do Not Call Registry on their own freakin’ website.
Then again, it’s also false hope that Verizon would follow its own rules, in that they also list on their website that they will remove your number from Verizon’s own telemarketing calls … except for “survey requests, customer notifications, account information updates, and other non-marketing mail or calls from Verizon … surveys, notifications, account updates, and other non-marketing activity are not considered solicitation …”
And with that in mind… I’m going to figure out my own personal solution regarding robocalls and spambots. There has to be a way to stop these clowns.
All you readers who’ve enjoyed my blog for the past six-plus years… you know true and blue. Chuck Miller is like a grizzly bear in the forest. Do not poke him, do not taunt him, do not tease him.
Because the last thing you ever want to do with a grizzly bear…
Is to motivate him. Grizzly bears can do LOTS of things when they’re motivated.
Just you wait and see.
Can you hear me now, Verizon??
CAN YOU FREAKIN’ HEAR ME NOW?!?!?