Monday, October 31, 2011

Why can't illegal phone sales calls be stopped?

Emailed response to one of my many complaints to the FCC
I'm getting more and more annoyed at the alleged enforcers of the Do Not Call list and, for that matter, at AT&T.

Like all 312,530,648 people living in the United States, I hate phone sales calls. All of them, without exception. Especially when they interrupt a nap or a meal or a visit with friends.

Of course I have caller ID. Of course I don't answer numbers I don't recognize. Of course I have put my numbers - landline and cell - on the Do Not Call list. In addition, I have filed many complaints at the DNC website and with the Federal Communications Commission.

And the calls keep coming. More and more of them. Even on my cell phone.

I'm not talking about equally annoying but legal calls, such as political nonsense from Congressman Peter Roskam, whose every recorded phone call makes me cringe. I'm talking about plainly illegal calls - recorded messages from people wanting to wipe out my debts (yeah, right), or incessant calls from numbers that simply hang up when they get my answering machine.

I have started Googling the supposed phone numbers to see what I can learn about the callers. I have learned that most of the annoying callers are listed many times on sites such as 800notesWhoCallsMe, and NumberInvestigator. The numbers have been reported countless times to the proper authorities. Some of the callers have been annoying people for years.

Why is nothing being done to stop them?

I know, I know - the numbers on my Caller ID are probably spoofed. It's illegal to spoof a phone number "for the purpose of defrauding or otherwise causing harm," but apparently not if all you're doing is selling dubious services. And no doubt some of these calls originate outside the United States, so perhaps the FCC has no way to stop them. But hey - the phone companies could trace these calls if they really wanted to, couldn't they? And if not - maybe the call is being made with a prepaid phone card, for example - couldn't they come up with an app that would allow us to instantly block any caller we never want to hear from again?

Note to geeks: invent such an app, and you could retire comfortably by next summer. Be sure to include a version that works on landlines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here here! It's so frustrating that nothing can be done, even when the calls do appear to from US companies (I just received a sales call from ADT.) The 99% are with you 100% (I'm sure there is 1% who likes illegal sales calls - even 1 in 5 dentists recommends sugared gum.)