"Robos Are Rolling Over All Of Us"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, January 12, 2019

The massive amount of robocalls are infuriating everyone — except the phone companies. The FCC established a “Robocall Strike Force” and gave the phone companies the authority to go after the scammers, but little has resulted from that.

Now that smart phones have come under attack, the request for help with nuisance calls has grown tremendously. It is estimated almost half of all cell phone calls will be robocalls in 2019, and the problem is described as epidemic.

I really do wonder if the big cell carriers are in on it. I used to receive a detailed list of all incoming and outgoing calls on my cell phone. I found it very helpful if I needed to look up a number that I had not noted. Last June, the breakdown of calls stopped coming. I called the company and requested they resume sending it. They said they would but have not done so. Why?

Because we are so attached to our phones and loath missing a call, we will leap over furniture and all other obstacles to get to an incoming call. One day I was getting a haircut, and my friend who takes care of me for that service had to drop her tools and sprint into the other room only to discover it was a nuisance call. She was very exasperated, telling me she gets several a day and has to answer the phone because that is how her clients reach her.

I call the robocalls “piss” calls because I am so pissed off when I get to my phone and it’s a robo. There is a new message given that is amusing: “Don’t hang up.” It is supposed to make you think there is an important call on the line or an emergency. I understand the callers are paying a whooping penny a call so obviously they can make unlimited calls.

I saw an article that stated if they score on one of their calls, they can make as much as $ 400. Probably because they sell the number to hundreds of other robo’s. I think if the phone companies, who obviously are involved in delivering these calls, would ask for a nominal fee from each of us, we could end them. I would be willing to pay to get rid of them, as I’m sure all of you would.

Have you looked at any local phone books lately? They still list phone numbers for people you look up, but when you call the number, it says; “That number is no longer in service.” It is so expensive to delete those that cancel their service because the phone companies print thousands of the books and a new print run would be costly. I find it really offensive, however, when they continue to list those who have passed. I bet there are not 20 percent of the people in any community that still have a landline. After all, you are allowed to take your number along when you sign up for a cell phone.

There are expensive gadgets you can put on your phone to try to stop the calls. I saw one in a catalog priced at $89.95 called “The Robocall Blocker.” It supposedly prevents your phone from even ringing. According to their ad, it connects to any landline, is pre-installed with 5,000 numbers of the most notorious telemarketer and spam callers. If a call gets through, the device has a “Block Now” button that automatically ends the call and adds the number to the database. It can store 6,500 numbers, and if one gets blocked you want, you can edit the list.

I know I wrote about this topic a few months ago, but As I See it, we all have to keep writing about it — and maybe send a note to our new congressional members. That lady from New York seems like someone who would take up the cause. Our newly-elected governor, who will soon be fixing the roads, would certainly be receptive.

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