Okay, time for a pop quiz. What annoying situations would you like to stop? Drivers following too closely on the freeway? People leaving the lights on? Your spouse telling you “Stop mumbling!”
For me, robocalls - those unsolicited automated phone calls, would be at the top of my list. At the Center I’ve heard many folks complain about robocalls and that it seems to be getting worse!
Unfortunately, it is. The volume of automated calls has skyrocketed in recent years reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April which is more than a 25% increase since last year. And it’s not surprising. They are cheap and robocallers can easily dial millions of consumers daily, and once the number is ignored or blocked, they can find new numbers to hide behind.
But there are efforts underway to fight this nuisance. At the federal level, both the House and Senate have either passed or introduced legislation aimed at curbing abuses. And regulators are working with the telecommunications industry to identify ways to authenticate the calls to help us identify the callers.
But it will take time. So, what can you do now to reduce this almost daily nuisance?
1. Keep your phone number to yourself. I made the mistake of going online to investigate refinancing my house mortgage and in the process gave out my phone number. Now I’m receiving phone calls from various lenders all across the country. But it does make me feel wanted.
2. Tell companies to get lost. It not illegal for a business to make marketing calls if you have a business relationship with them. But you can stop those calls by making a specific request to the business - and follow up with the FTC if the business keeps calling you.
5. Get on the Do Not Call Registry. The federal Do Not Call Registry may prevent some legitimate companies from calling. But the scammers don’t follow the rules, so why would they follow the Do No Not Call Registry? But it is worth a try.
3. Don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. I used to answer any call that appeared local, but in the recent year an increasing number of them were scam calls, e.g.. “Would you like to purchase a special vacation package from Marriott? What has happened is robocallers can now fool your telephone service by what is known as “neighborhood spoofing”: using local numbers in the hope that folks like you and me will more likely pick up the call.
6. File a complaint. In 2017 there were 4.5 million complaints to the FTC about robocalls - more than doubled since 2013.
7. Use software that blocks robocalls. Apple iPhones and most Android phones can block specific numbers. And now there are apps you can use to block robocalls such as Nomorobo, RoboKiller or Truecaller, although there may be a small monthly subscription charge.
But until unwanted robocalls end, don’t be offended if I don’t answer. Just leave a voice message and I’ll call you back - when I remember to check my messages.
It’s time to reserve your space for the Theater Play Table Read of one-act plays and skits on May 23rd from 1:00 – 2:30 led by Kerry Cobb. Pick a role and play your part as the you read entertaining one-act plays. No experience necessary—just a desire to have fun. Limited to twelve.
The name of the popular and affordable sports coupe with a long hood and short deck was the Ford Mustang. (I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jim Ayers.)
It’s time to take a break from pop music, television shows and hot cars and move to old time religion. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what religious leader was appointed Bishop of Rochester in 1966; hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour before hosting two television programs in the 50’s and 60’s; and was called by Time magazine the first televangelist? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a tape of an episode of Life Is Worth Living.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the beautiful days. Until we meet again, when you start digging yourself into a hole - know when to put the shovel down.
“When I walk into a room, I know that everyone in it loves me. I just don’t expect them to realize it yet.” Byron Katie