Mary’s Musings

Unwanted and unwelcome phone calls

Posted:  Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 8:45am
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Whatever happened to the national Do Not Call list? Everyone is asking these days, with many households being inundated with unwelcome telephone calls telling you you’re eligible for a low-interest loan, you’ve won a free vacation or you need new software for your computer. If the caller isn’t trying to sell you something, they’re taking a poll, usual political.

Usually, these calls come at inopportune times. You’re just getting in or out of the shower, supper is cooking on the stove and needs immediate attention, it’s at the very end of a game show or good movie and you’re going to miss the most crucial minutes, you’re dead tired and have just managed to doze off — the list goes on and on. When it comes to telemarketers, you probably have to be rude and just hang up on them, because as national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen says, they just don’t listen.

Recent warnings indicate that unscrupulous callers will ask you a question – any question – which requires a “yes’’ response on your part, and they recorded your voice to “prove’’ that you did, indeed, order their merchandise. Aware of this latest ploy to get you to say yes, we’ve tried to be extra-careful, that is until a few nights ago when the caller was confirming that we had placed an order — a legitimate one — and we replied with a soft yes. They asked if we could hear them OK and we responded in the affirmative, but without a yes, which was then followed by a sales pitch for a number of items which we quickly declined and they hung up, leaving us to wonder if the caller had anything to do with the merchandise we had ordered, or we’d been had.

It’s annoying, actually downright frightening, to have to endure this invasion of our privacy, let alone worry that we’re being scammed. We’ve asked ourselves a thousand times whatever happened to the Do Not Call list, so we did a little investigating. It turns out that one does still exist on the national level and some individual states also have their own.  Maine uses the national list. However, names only remain on the list for five years then we’re all open game if we haven’t signed up again. If we have our facts right, to sign up, go to www.donotcall.gov/Register/Reg.aspx or go online and make sure we’ve got it right. We don’t remember how long ago we signed up, but we’re going to do it again and hope we get a little more peace and quiet, especially in the evening. One thing we did learn is that political pollsters, charities and those taking surveys appear to be exempt from calling you so don’t expect them to go away anytime soon.

National figures indicate that 600,000 complaints were filed against  unwanted callers last year, and we’re sure there were thousands more who grumbled  to themselves but  took no action.  Go on line and sign up; maybe it will at least cut out a few of your unwanted calls.