Mary’s Musings

Who’s calling?

Posted:  Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 8:30am

What’s more annoying than a telemarketer? Their phone calls usually come at an inopportune time.  You’re just started eating. You’re watching something on TV you really want to see. You’re having a nap. You’re in the bathroom. You’re really not in the mood to hear you’ve won a fabulous vacation trip, you can lower  your mortgage rate, you can have your computer overhauled for practically no money, or your car warranty has expired (of course it has, it’s an older model vehicle).

Lots of folks with Caller IDs on their phone look to see who’s calling, and if they don’t recognize the number, they simply don’t answer. Apparently many of us are refusing to pick up the phone, so there’s a new scam underway now – make it look like it’s someone calling within your own local phone exchange. We’ve had lots of these calls the past several weeks, a number of them from people we knew well, although we weren’t aware of any reason they might be calling. It turns out the calls weren’t from them at all, just telemarketers who are now using local exchanges to encourage you to pick up the phone. We wish we’d been smarter enough to make note of the apparent local callers, but we weren’t. My spouse thinks the Caller ID indicated a family member just the other day, but he didn’t catch it in time to be sure before the telemarketer’s recorded message got underway.

We don’t know how you ever trace these illegal calls because the last thing you usually want to do is stay on the line with one of these unscrupulous sales people. We know that there are No Call Lists all over the place, but thus far, we haven’t managed to avoid annoying calls. It never ceases to amaze us how inventive these callers have become. What smarty pants came up with the idea of using local exchange numbers to make the calls appear to be legitimate ones? Unfortunately, what they’ve done is push more and more folks into maintaining unlisted phone numbers, or into cell phones, sharing their number only with close friends and business associates. It certainly is a different world today, isn’t it, and technological advances have come at a price.