I’m starting to hate my home phone. The unwanted solicitations to clean my carpets and lower my energy bill. Bah.
In desperation, I re-registered my home and cellphones with the Do Not Call registry. But that won’t stop the scammers who are proliferating so widely that even the registry is being scammed.
I kid you not. There’s a notice in bold red that reads: “Scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the Registry. These calls are not coming from the Registry or the Federal Trade Commission, and you should not respond to these calls.”
Under that warning, the website suggests adding your number to the registry by calling l 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register.
But that won’t stop the scammers. So here’s advice worth repeating: Don’t give anyone your personal information unless you originated the call.
Recently, I was called by someone who purported to be from Atlantic Magazine. He called my number and knew my name and address. He told me my subscription was expiring (which was true). I could tell where this was going. He was going to ask for my credit card. Except a few weeks before, I had sent in my renewal check.
When I told him I had sent in my check earlier, he snapped, “Well we haven’t received it.”
I snapped back, “Then don’t renew it.”
He hung up on me.
No telemarketer does that. The point is to keep a sucker on the line as long as possible.
I figured someone had hacked into the magazine’s renewal list and thought Atlantic should know. When I called, I was told that, yes, the magazine was investigating similar calls.
Moments ago, the Nevada Green Energy Study called me for probably the 50th time, and an automated voice told me I could lower my energy bills by 30 percent to 50 percent permanently if I elected to participate. I elected one time, just to get a real person. When I asked if they could send me some material, the speaker said he couldn’t, I would have to arrange an appointment. So I tried to do that, but couldn’t. In this latest call, I held for some classical piano music before finally slamming the phone down.
People call me all the time with phone problems, and I am a sympathetic listener. Dr. Sae Lee, a Las Vegas acupuncturist, has had his office phone spoofed so that for three days his number showed up on Caller ID’s all over the country and at all hours. With so many people having caller ID, they can tell where the repetitive calls are coming from. Irate callers called his office back screaming, “Why are you calling us?”
For an acupuncturist who has had the same number for 25 years, changing his phone number isn’t a solution. “I can’t be the only one this is happening to,” he said.
Juergen Barbusca, manager of communications for Cox Communications-Las Vegas, looked into it and said it could be something known as Caller ID spoofing. It’s not so much to make money as to make mischief. Just as an email can be made to look like any address, Caller ID spoofing can do the same. The call most likely didn’t originate from Cox, which provides Dr. Lee’s service.
The calls seemed to have stopped now, Lee said. “I think somebody plays games just to enjoy making trouble.”
Barbusca said it’s relatively rare that Cox receives complaints like Lee’s.
Seems like the annoyances of phones are starting to outweigh the pluses, but then, how could we live without the convenience. Maybe I don’t hate my phone after all. But sometimes I’d like to break up with it.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at (702) 383-0275.