The phone rings for the fifth time time today . . . and, yet again, the caller display says “Out of Area” . . . but might it, just for once, be a genuine call?
Not someone wanting to sell me loft insulation, help me to reclaim PPI or get compensation for the, “accident you had within the last year, according to our records”?
Not someone in China, who cares about me enough to want to help with the serious security problem they have identified on my Windows PC? (Gottamac acktually.)
Oh, what a surprise. It’s another “cold caller” interrupting me and . . . what exactly was I doing and thinking before they called? Damn and blast their eyes! The downside of working from home.
Some are just doing their job, others are scammers. I am always civil to them but I would rather that they left me alone. No way to beat off the ones calling from abroad.
Of course, once you have picked-up they know you exist. Your phone number goes on their database, which they probably sell on to another bunch of phone-fiends. All of a sudden, the steady trickle of calls has turned into an avalanche.
Where did they get my number? Maybe from a web form that required me to enter a phone number, even though there was no earthly reason why they needed to have that information. Apart for selling-on to phone-fiends, of course.
Maybe they were using a computer auto-dialler that hit on my number at random? Whatever . . . it does not matter how the call came about. What matters is that I picked up the phone and they now know that it is a real number with a real human being at the other end. My number will go straight onto their “pester-again” list. I am doomed!
Why don’t I use an answerphone? I do, but I don’t want to waste my time checking it only to find silly messages from phone-fiends. If it is a real human calling me, it might be someone who does not like answerphones. Speech and Language Therapists tend to know quite a few people who do not like answerphones.
All is not lost! I have found the answer. It works, so if you have the same problem you might like to try it.
- I have got a free, VOIP phone number that looks like a local land line number.
- It is set always to go to voice mail and never to tell me if I have any messages.
- I enter it on web forms that do not have any legitimate reason for requiring me to give a phone number.
- When a “cold caller” rings, I explain that the phone is about to be cut off because the person they are asking for has moved – and I give them “her new number”.
What is bizarre and rather wonderful is that I have only needed to do the last of the above once since setting this up. I know that the phone-fiends cannot all have been working off one database but, after just one “misdirection fib”, the several “nuisance calls” a day have plummeted to one or two a week.
I do not feel too good about using Sipgate, the VOIP company, just to baggy a free number in order to divert nuisance callers. Am I also “using up” one of a limited quantity of VOIP numbers that someone else might need for more legitimate reasons?
They might decide to charge a fee for numbers in future. If it does not cost too much, I will pay for one. That will deal with my conscience as well the nuisance callers.
In the meantime . . . Bliss! No nuisance calls! Now, back to work 🙂
ps. To avoid email spam, I use Gishpuppy when filling in web forms.