Some of you may not know this, but back in 2003, while working for AT&T Federal Systems, I was part of the project team for the “Do not Call Registry” The first day the system went live it was overloaded with traffic and crashed! We had to keep increasing bandwidth those first 30 days. Obviously after the initial interest and registration, use slowed to a more predictable level.
And does it work? It is always hard to measure the absence of something. Additionally, the Do Not Call Registry only works for ‘legitimate telemarketers”. Huh – how about “honest telemarketers”, no that doesn’t work either, maybe “law abiding telemarketers” OK it may not work at all. LOL
Regrettably it’s the phony calls, the scam calls the fake caller ID calls that are really the problem and those are not stopped by adding your number to the DNC Registry. Also, the following people are still allowed to call you:
· political calls (wait? Why? Can we fix by 2024?)
· charitable calls (ditto)
· debt collection calls (legitimate business – fair)
· purely informational calls (sounds like marketing to me)
· surveys (seriously? who got this exception in?)
In summary, the vast majority of unwanted calls you receive are illegal and will never be deterred or stopped by the Do Not Call Registry.
How did we get here?
Apparently, a long time ago the phone company decided they didn’t need to validate a number or tie it in any way to the ‘ownership’ number so they didn’t. Then AT&T was broken up. Then some of the small Baby Bells came back together. Then Voice over IP showed up to the party and all control was permanently lost. Thus, we can’t seem to identify spam calls but we can identify valid calls and that is the direction of the fix.
Enter the Apps that help stop Spam and Text messages like RoboKiller and Verizon’s Spam Blocker, all for a fee. They basically validate numbers you know in your contacts, numbers that are easily verifiable, and marry that with feedback from customers in order to reduce (not eliminate) your overall Spam.
Having a service like RoboKiller requires a forwarding option on your phone as the call is sent to a “checker”, if you will, before being sent back to you if safe, or trapped at the detour if not. Cell phone carriers may or may not allow call forwarding and there may be an additional charge.
Verizon has a service for this, for a fee, but it’s not nearly as fun or feature rich as Robokiller so that is a shame. They are both priced about the same at $40.00 a year. I think both would slow down the calls but none would stop them entirely. Robokiller would likely doing a better job with its interactive format.
Most of these calls have a theme that attempt to make you perform a desired behavior. Here are the most common:
· Threatening calls from the IRS or local police departments.
· Technical support calls.
· Fake charity appeals.
· Lottery & Publisher’s Clearing house scams.
· Family members in peril or needing a gift card
· Bank fraud calls.
· Insurance, health care and debt scams.
Remember these basic security rules:
. Never click a link in an email
. Never let a stranger remote into your computer.