Metro-East Living

If I don’t know you, don’t bother calling me — because I’m not answering

How to respond if you receive a robocall

Americans received an estimated 29.3 billion in unwanted telemarketing calls in 2016, according to a YouMail Robocall Index released this week. The Federal Trade Commission's Kati Daffin explains how to avoid these unwanted calls.
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Americans received an estimated 29.3 billion in unwanted telemarketing calls in 2016, according to a YouMail Robocall Index released this week. The Federal Trade Commission's Kati Daffin explains how to avoid these unwanted calls.

There are dozens of things I never thought about before that now take up my time in retirement, but the most amazing to me is the amount of time I spend trying to convince people not to call me.

Oh, not you. If you have my number and you call, it probably is for a legitimate reason.

But there are thousands of people out there who call just to sell me stuff, to scam me, or to do who knows what. I don’t know because I don’t have their names. I just call them what my caller display calls them, “Unknown Caller.”

Mr., or Ms., Caller, or Unknown to those of us who get calls from him or her all the time, offers me some great stuff, refunds on canceled contracts, sweepstakes prizes, even unclaimed money. It is just unfortunate for them I can never remember my bank account number when they are on the phone and I don’t have it written down somewhere handy.

These calls are a nuisance — although I am grateful since they let me know to lay low because numerous warrants are out there for my arrest and nearly every government agency apparently is looking for me. At least that’s what the phone calls would say if I answered them.

Although I never get names, caller display shows me calls from Oklahoma, Maine, Florida and many other states where I don’t have friends who call. That makes it easier to cancel the calls — although a lot of the callers now use Collinsville numbers. It took me a few tries to figure that one out.

I am trying to fight back by blocking all the numbers that I don’t answer. I don’t know if that will work or not. I mean, there are millions of numbers out there and I’m not sure I can live long enough to block them all. But I do what I can.

There are applications to help me block these things but they want money every month and you know how tight those of us on fixed incomes can be.

I did do what one person on the Internet suggested and I searched for my phone number to help me see what information about me is out there.

I got about 45 results, some of which made no sense. Why, when my phone number is typed in, would the search give me Classic Billiard Service, which works on pool tables in the Maryland and the District of Columbia area?

Or why did it give me Dixie Ellis Lowe Antelope Canyon Tours and another site about underground government hideouts and conspiracies?

I was more interested in MyLife.com which had my name, address and quite a bit of information. Like most of the sites they lured me on with searches and promises of revealing secrets. But when you get to the end there is always a request for money before you see anything.

Free searches they say. But what they don’t say is the results cost money.

They did show my reputation score which was 3.8 out of 5. I don’t know why my reputation has suffered because I didn’t pay to see, but for more money I can correct it and even buy a service to lock it so no one else can contribute info to it. Sounds suspiciously like blackmail to me. Luckily I don’t care much about my reputation.

Since I looked at the MyLife site, I now get constant emails reminding me that I really need to tend to that low reputation score before something bad happens.

Sometimes my callers leave voicemails. You can tell when it is a recorded call because the voice doesn’t wait but launches immediately into its spiel so that part of the message is missing.

I recently had a call from China, I think. It even left a voice mail in what sounded like an Oriental language.

I’ll just keep on stubbornly blocking everyone I don’t know. So if you call and I don’t answer, don’t worry. Just leave a message. Don’t forget to wait for the beep. And please don’t speak Chinese.

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