There once was a world famous piano tuner whose name was Mr. Opporknockity. Oppornockity gained true fame in the music industry as it seems that once Mr. Opporknockity tuned a piano it never needed to be tuned again.. Mr. Opporknockity’s skills were truly amazing but then you already know that, because everyone knows that Opporknockity tunes but once.
Now we are plagued with phone calls from Rachael, Heather, Todd and The IRS wanting to help us with non-existent problems, free dinners, or all-expense paid cruises and vacations. I have to wonder what we may have lost because many of us no long answer our phones when calls come in from unknown numbers.
How many jobs have been lost? How many loves could be lost, How many real opportunities were missed because the telephone spoofers have trained us to not answer unknown numbers on our phones. Unknown calls can be important because quite frankly important things happen with people who are not on your phone’s contact list. Suppose your best friend’s daughter calls to tell you that your best friend is in the hospital near death and you don’t answer because her number isn’t in your contact list and her married name is not in your brain. Some important calls will not leave a message because, well, the call is too important and by federal law they may not leave that information in a message.
I will admit that I still almost always answer the phone when it rings, no matter what the number. Having run a service business for some years, my wife can testify that, I truly dislike telephones. I dislike them because I became trained that most of the time when my phone rang it was a problem. I will admit that for a period of years I could sit and watch a phone ring and not even consider picking it up. That same training is taking place for the American public right now via the spoofing proliferation.
I find that I have been taught to answer phone calls from unknown numbers with rude silence. Eventually following the silence with a hang up or with, “You called me, you start the conversation.”
My Wife’s father always wanted to know the first name of the person who was calling which lead to some interesting conversations. “You know my name shouldn’t I know yours.”
My own, hard of hearing father, would start and continue the conversations with ever more strident,” Whats” and then authoritatively hang up after a mild expletive.
Last night I discovered another problem, somebody typed my number into a group text message, possibly by accident, and for the next ½ hour my phone constantly buzzed as others in that group responded to each other in a veritable message storm. I could find no way to stop the messages. Five years ago I would have simply texted and asked to have my number removed from the group but now I refused to validate my phone number by messaging them to take me off their group list. Paradoxically I couldn’t text them because of fear that my text to stop the texts would lead to more texts.
I can’t imagine that anyone enjoys the rejection of cold calling and understand that the people on the other end of the line are actually real people with real feelings and mouths to feed so I decided to work the problem using the source of all truths, the internet, and this is what I found.
Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiver of a call that the originator of the call is a station other than the true originating station.
Neighbor Spoofing takes it one step further by indicating that the call comes from your own area code.
Is spoofing illegal? Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. If no harm is intended or caused, spoofing is not illegal.
How can I stop it? There’s an app for that!
The best thing to do when answering a spoofed number is probably to say, “Thanks for the call, but I’m not interested. Have a nice day. And please take me off the call list.” Unfortunately by answering the call you have validated your number as a working number which will lead to more chances for you to be pleasant to a stranger.
On the other hand if you are feeling like getting a little payback then here are some other internet suggestions you may wish to try:
Agree to buy and then give the caller bad names and credit card numbers over and over again until they hang up.
Agree to buy and tell them you have food poisoning and need to go to the bathroom because of the diarrhea then make rude noises while continuing to talk
Agree to buy and then tell them you can’t find your wallet. Stop back every 5 minutes and say I’m still searching. Eventually switch to my credit card is not in my wallet and vehemently blame your spouse.
Tell them all about your day in excruciating detail.
Tell them all about mating your pet snakes
Ask them about spiders
Keep a black board near your phone and randomly run your fingernails down it during the conversation.
Hand a 3-year old the phone and tell them it’s Santa
Tell them you don’t speak English. In English.
Sing 867-5309 to them
Modulate your voice and pretend you’re an answering machine.
Giggle and laugh at inappropriate times
Play them a clarinet solo
Start trying to sell them your toaster.
Try heavy breathing.
Tell them about your gambling /drinking problem
Ask them if they date
Say that you’re broke, unemployed and being evicted.( even if it’s true)
Pretend that you made the phone call and they answered
If the call is not for you say, “He’s here, and I know he’ll be very interested in your offer. Hold on a minute while I get him.” Then put the phone in a drawer
Tell them about your go fund me account
Ask them if they have seen the movie Frozen
Ask them about their accent and where they are calling from
Ask them if they are the police as your attorney has advised you to not talk to the police after the murder and that if they are the police they have to tell you.
See how many times you can get them to say “What” by throwing in gibberish words in your answers.
Read the Gettysburg Address to them with no pauses.
And finally the best one!
I ask them to describe what they’re wearing and if they could take it off. That usually shuts them down. If that doesn’t work, start telling them what you are not wearing.
Spoofing is dishonest, preys on the unsophisticated or aged and I believe in the long term is possibly dangerous. One has to wonder what the success rate is for these calls and then realize that these calls must work and must be profitable or no one would be doing them. Sadly I’m not spoofing you about that!