Oh my goodness. Yesterday was the penultimate day of spam calls. What gives?! I had 10, count ‘em 10, calls! Certainly a record, at least for me.
I have noticed it’s cyclical. Of if you prefer, like buses there are none and then they all come at once. So there are certain days that obviously my phone number crops up.
Now if you have lived in a hidey hole you may not know that almost everyone sells your data because technically you agreed by signing up to whomever. And sometimes there is simply no avoiding it.
For example, when I set my business up through the Chamber of Commerce / government here in France, boy did I notice that suddenly every Tomás, Ricard and Ramesh tried phoning me.
Luckily I had been warned by the organisation that helped me get set up that this would happen. Because by setting up my business, I put my information ‘out there’, for all to see, and thus use. And this is true in all countries to some extent. In certain instances your information is legally required, and thus legally available for someone to potentially exploit.
So now, as it was essentially unavoidably, you are on some list that gets sold to whomever wishes to buy it. What do you do? You could of course pay to hide your number. But easier, and it may surprise you, you can drop off those lists, at least for a little while. At least until you sign up with something else that requires you give your number.
Some good news, spam callers prefer ‘hot’ numbers. It’s not called cold calling for nothing. Hot numbers are numbers that are known to be recent or active. Or best of all, that the recipient answers their phone.
Cutting them off, swiping right, let’s them know yours is a ‘live’ number. That you are ‘there’. So they will try again. Sadly yesterday I had a few other legitimate phone calls so had to swipe right to cut off the incoming, interrupting spam call. It was no surprise then that the reason I had so many calls yesterday was that a number of them tried again.
And I know that because my number was seen as active, they will try even yet again. It may be today, it may be in a month’s time, but they will try again.
But there is a good way, if not to completely eradicate, to at least lessen these calls. And it’s simple. Don’t answer the phone.
As someone who enjoys and practices the concept of slow living, I find it actually quite liberating to not answer the phone. And it’s a good test of any addiction to the world of connectedness.
In these days of mobile phones especially, or even landlines with screens that show the number that is calling, you should be able to see who is calling. (And if you do not have this capability, but do get harassed by spam calls then you need to get a phone that you can see the caller.)
Now, make sure you take the time to programme names to your numbers in your phone(s). Once you have done this, anyone who now phones that is not programmed in your phone you don’t answer. In other words, if a number shows up and not a name, it’s ignored.
You are going to say to me now, ‘but what if it is an emergency’ or ‘really important’? I can guarantee you that if it is, they will leave a message. And if you are someone who carries their phone with them everywhere, and you don’t answer the unknown number and then receive a message you will listen to it straight away. We are talking a 1 minute delay.
And I can guarantee you that if you don’t answer the unknown numbers two things will happen.
First, not even 99 times out of 100, but 999 times out of 1000 the caller will not leave a message. Guaranteed with a spam call. Why? Because it costs money and time, which is technically also worth money, to leave a message. Why would a spam call leave a message? How likely are you to phone back someone you don’t know selling you aluminium siding? (And if you are even considering it, I have a bridge I could sell you – Kidding! But if you have not read about the famous con man George C Parker, you are in for a treat.)
Second, and more importantly, is if you don’t answer spam calls your number slowly moves from hot to cool to cold. And a cold number is not a useful number to a spam caller. So eventually, though surprisingly faster than you would think, you will receive less and less to almost no unknown number calls.
Until you sign up to that next thing where you give your number for data purposes and it gets sold again.
PS. Sadly, the worst culprits for selling your phone data are charities. It’s a way for them to make additional money. And spam callers like these numbers because, well, you gave to a charity. You are considered charitable. You give time and money to worthy causes. And they hope you might feel charitable towards a spam call.