Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Number please

Do you get telephone calls from numbers that have no real people at the other end? Or numbers who repeatedly leave messages on the answering machine, saying they have an important message for 'Beverly Swanson?' Or no numbers at all appear, but just the word, 'unavailable?'

I type the numbers into google, and read the frustrations that others have experienced from these same phone numbers. Most of them seem to be some sort of debt scam thing.

All I know is that I wish, I wish, I wish they would stop. There seems to be no recourse. For a while we wondered if we gave up the land line and just used our cells, but by golly, this week they've found our cells, too. I just answered one because I have a new cell, and hadn't seen the number before. I thought maybe I knew the caller. Silly me, this fellow asked for some name I've now forgotten. He did say sorry, so maybe he was genuine? Maybe, but when I asked google, sure enough it is another debt related number.

Well, I have no debt. There's nothing to collect, folks. I pay my bills. Period. End of story.

This feels like the worst sort of harassment because it doesn't matter if I answer or not. They just keep calling, from early morning to late evening. How dare they disturb the peace of my life. I've taken to turning off the phone all day. The real people in my life leave messages or at least I see their numbers on the caller id. But sadly, the fake numbers have taken over. Let's see, today I've had eight so far, and it is 2 pm.

I'm trying to relax and not let them get to me, but sometimes I want to scream.


  1. We rarely get these calls at home but where I work we get several calls per day.

  2. Nan when I moved to my city home a little over a year ago - this was happening daily. Someone must have had my new phone number that had a number of debts. Also in Tennessee you can list your number so marketers do not call you.
    Anyway 15 months later it has stopped.
    It seemed most of these calls happened when I just down to my evening meal or just went to bed.
    I also had thoughts of no landline.
    Now my cell phone - I have had no problem but I only turn on when I am in the car or away from home.

  3. I've been getting one about once a week -- but when I answer it just hangs up. I finally googled it and found it was BMG music service -- which I'm not even a member of and never have been -- very strange -- sigh. I agree with you, I do wish they would stop calling!

  4. We registered with the no call list and that helped a lot. The calls that are coming in now tend to be polical survey ones. I just never answer any "unavailable" calls, and have all the ringers turned off except for one phone. And, that one is turned way down. You're right, if people want you, they'll leave messages.

    And sometimes, I take it off the hook entirely, which is lovely.

  5. Are you on the Do Not Call list? If so, then you can collect money from these people (unless they're nonprofits or companies you have a working relationship with) for violating the constraints of the bill.

  6. Nan, It got so bad that I called and had my number changed and had it unlisted. It was worth the $16 to change my number. The woman at the phone company said the new number hadn't been used in 3 years.
    We'll see.

    Linda in Chapel Hill

  7. Hi Nan... Have you signed the Do Not Call Registry? When we got our new phone number here we were getting two or three calls a day (ack!). But I signed up with the registry online and almost right away they stopped calling. We almost never get called now. (Also, once you tell them to never call you again, it's against the law if they do.)

    Oh, and if store check-out clerks ask for my phone number I say I'd rather not, also, I leave my phone number in as few places as possible, which means even avoiding contests and such at stores on slips of paper, etc. Hope that helps...Blessings, Debra

  8. We are on the No Call List as well, for our land line and our cell phones, since marketers can now call them as well. I am right there with you- I hate receiving these types of phone calls. I have been impersonating my daughter this week trying to get BOA to stop calling here FIVE times a day. How do they get by the no call laws? Hmmmm.
    One way to look at it is that at least these people have jobs and are earning a paycheck.

  9. I've been an idiot and answered some of these calls — we get a lot of calls from Australia that don't always show the numbers, so I hate not to answer the phone when it rings in case it's a personal call.
    But I've learned to be wiser about this!
    What also upsets me is how incredibly rude these marketing callers can be. I had a guy selling subscriptions to the LA Times who was unbelievably forceful and impolite. I hate it.
    The 'no call list' sounds great, I shall investigate.

  10. I also feel harassed and imposed on by these calls. Mostly for Dish Network or some sort of vinyl siding or something. The calls are not even from real people, they are recordings and I have felt so powerless until I read your comments and signed up for the do not call list. I can't wait for it to work.

  11. Nan - we are cursed with these things here in the UK too. The good news is that banking giant, Barclays ,has just been fined by our telecoms watchdog OFCOM for making an excessive number of silent calls. The bad news is that the fine was a measly £50,000 (say $100,000) - not even a dip in Barclays' mighty profits ocean. (It seems to be sailing through the current financial crisis.)

    Full story here:

  12. Nan, I've been getting tons of calls lately too, especially in the past 2 days. It's maddening, and I'm fortunate they don't have my cell #. When the number appears enough, I'll sometimes answer and tell them to take me off the list, or ask for their supervisor.

  13. Caller ID keeps this problem at bay. Why do they think you will listen to a pre-recorded message! But, someday when you have the time, chat up that person on the other end and see how long you can keep them on the line. I have actually had the caller tell me they had to hang up as they have other calls to make. That is success!

  14. Layanee, I was questioning someone so long about why they were phoning my husband that I got her to call me a b*tch! I got a kick out of that.

  15. Wow! Lots of replies on this one. I am on the do not call registry, but these callers aren't 'real.' I don't answer because I've read horror stories when I typed in the numbers on google. People were verbally threatened and harassed or no one was there when they did answer. In the old days, when telemarketers called I'd answer and say please take my name off your list and they did. Now there aren't real people on the other end so there's no sense in answering.

  16. Oh Nan, I just now read this post and have to add my two cents. Can you believe this--just about an hour ago the phone rang in the kitchen and I answered it. This particular phone does not have caller ID although we do have it on our plan. I just didn't feel like going back the hall to the study to check that phone. Anyway, when I said "hello", after that tell-tale pause, the automated voice came on and said "hi, this is Katie. Please do not hang up. I want to tell you that we will be checking fiber optics in the area to upgrade your phone and internet service..." Of course I disconnected, but doesn't it beat all! An automated voice directing me to not hang up! Gr-r-r. Just had to vent. Judy

  17. Hi Nan, I am working my way through your wonderful blog and have made notes of great books and even greater recipes - I love reading about your life. The reason I am commenting on this post is because I used to be tormented day after day by these nuisance calls. I tried everything to stop them to no avail. I don’t have a mobile phone and here in the UK the calls are the babe of everyone’s life. I now have a service 5hat intercepts every call for me and because they have to say who is calling I no longer get these calls and my home is no longer interrupted anymore. Best thing I ever did.....please keep up with your lovely blog.....

    1. It really means so much to me that you are enjoying all these years of writing! As for this post, we no longer have a land line and that has made all the difference. On the cell, if I don't recognize the number, i just don't answer. If it is someone I know they will leave a message. There are hardly any calls that I don't know, and they never, ever leave a message. Rereading the post reminded me why I got rid of the land line! A tricky thing over here is that now the fake callers can use any state's area code, so at first I would see it and think it might be someone in my little state whose number I didn't have, but now I know that it doesn't mean anything what code it is. It could be anywhere in the country.


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