A Wasted Telemarketing Phone Call

This has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I found it amusing and decided to share it.

First, I have mention that I am a “snowbird.” That is, I spend about six months of the year in the cool climate of Massachusetts and the other six months in the sunbelt of Orlando, Florida. Next, I only have one telephone number. I disconnected my old-fashioned, wired telephone years ago and use a cell phone as my only phone.

The cell phone has a Massachusetts number but I answer it from wherever I am located. It seems to work well and I can answer calls whether I am in Massachusetts, Orlando, Singapore, Reykjavik, or other places where I am traveling. However, when callers see the Massachusetts phone number and do not realize it is a cell phone, many of them assume I am in Massachusetts.

This morning, the cell phone rang as I was driving down a street in Orlando. I answered (with hands-free Bluetooth) and almost instantly realized it was one of those obnoxious telemarketing calls. A very excited lady on the other end launched into a sales pitch. She sounded as if she was so excited that she was almost out of breath.

“I’m calling to inform you that you just won a one-week, all expenses paid vacation to Orlando!”

She went on and on about how exciting this “free prize” would be. I let her talk and talk for what seemed like a very long time.

Finally, she asked, “Have you ever been to Orlando before?”

I replied, “Why yes, I have. In fact, you have reached my cell phone. Right now I am in my automobile, driving along Conway Road in Orlando.”

There was a short pause, a gasp, and then CLICK!

I guess the conversation was over.

When I returned home, I activated the “Block all future calls from this number” on my cell phone.

36 Comments

thank you. I’m not tech smart being older but you just told me how to block this unwanted calls

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Although our ancestors did not have to deal with telemarketers, they may have felt the same way about peddlers, snake oil salesmen, and the person on the party line who always listened in!

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Thanks for sharing, Dick. By the way, this reminds me of a retired engineer friend of mine who runs as small business out of his home. He takes slides and pictures and scans them into digital formats for those who can’t do this themselves. Well, whenever a telemarketer calls he starts into a sales pitch for his business and tries to convince them to send their old photos and slides to him for scanning. He prides himself on the fact that he never hangs up on telemarketers. They hang up on him. He has a strange sense of humor and really enjoys these interchanges. Personally, I don’t have the patience for this type of thing. (You mentioned going to Reykjavik. Was that a recent trip?)

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Dick, I enjoyed the tale of the telemarketer. This may end up being a first wave of why such calls slack off…they can’t tell where we are! But I want to stick up for wired phone lines and implore against cheap shots about “old fashioned.” Not everyone is facile at cell phone use. In my house, we have a medical device that transmits data over the wired line. The cell phone would not accomplish this. There are reasons people choose to continue with their land lines. It would probably be appreciated by those individuals not to have to put up with being called names.

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    —> In my house, we have a medical device that transmits data over the wired line. The cell phone would not accomplish this.

    Cell phones CAN do that. In fact, they can do so rather easily. That can save a lot of money for the home owner. However, most cell phones will require an adapter of some sort to do that, typically a Bluetooth adapter. Several companies make those. See http://amzn.to/2o0r8nf and http://www.myxlink.com/index.aspx for a listing of several such adapters.

    These adapters work with medical devices, home security systems (burglar alarms), smoke detectors, FAX machines, and most anything else that connects to a standard, old-fashioned phone line.

    However, if you leave the house and take the cell phone with you, the adapter obviously stops working. That can be a problem. One of my friends solved that by buying a second, very cheap cell phone and signing up for a $10-a-month service that only allows a very few minutes of “talk time.” So far, his home security system has never used all his allotted minutes in any month. Most months it uses zero minutes. If a break-in does occur, it might use one or two minutes of “talk time.” That’s cheaper than paying $20 or $30 a month for a wired phone from the local telephone company.

    The security system in my house is a different brand and it ONLY works on cellular. It cannot connect to an old-fashioned wired telephone line.

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Dick, I think we must share the same “screw with telemarketers gene”. Roger ( 1610-94 ) perhaps ; )

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The same lady calls me at least once a month. Blocking the number does no good. She just switches to a different number and keeps on calling.

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Them: Hello sir, are you the owner of the home who pays for electricity?
Me: No I rent this place.

Them: Hello Mr. Crankleberry. This is Windows Support and your computer just called us to tell us it it infected with a computer virus..
Me: I doubt it. All I have is an iPhone

Them: Can you hear me now?
Me: Who is this
Them: Have you every had a cybersecurity problem?
Me: Not until you called.

Them: Hi Grandpa. I’m in jail in Mexico with a few of my friends. We got into a bar fight. I need $5000 for bail.
Me: You deserve what you got kid. See you when you get out…

Them: You’ve just won a very special Facebook contest. Give us your banking information so we can send you the prize.
Me: You must take me for an a$$, but you are incorrect. (block user)

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She called me yesterday. I don’t have your patience. I just hang-up

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My husband uses a different approach. He likes to keep the person talking as long as he can as a service to others — they can’t make other calls while they are busy with him!

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I like that Dick.
I had a call not too long ago from a fellow I couldn’t understand his name.
Him: “Hello Mr Hardy. I’m from Visa or Mastercard”
Me: “Well”?
Him: “Well what”?
Me: “Well which is it”?
Him: “What do you mean”?
Me: “I mean which is it? Are you from Visa or are you from Mastercard”?
That went right over his head and I’m sure he didn’t get it as he bravely went right into his spiel. Must have been his first day on the job reading the teleprompter. I kinda felt sorry for him. He was very polite.

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Blowing a shrill whistle into the phone ends these calls every time.

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I live in Wales, so I answer them in Welsh; this usually leaves them in utter confusion followed by a hang-up. If, however, they open by saying something about Windows I start a conversation in broken English about how satisfied I am with the ‘glazing-double’ that I already have. (I don’t have Microsoft Windows, anyway!)

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    “answer them in Welsh” – My dad was a native speaker of both Polish & English. Whenever he met a street panhandler, he would speak in Polish. This got him off the hook, and sometimes he got the irritated response, “Why don’t you speak American, bub!” He never once encountered a panhandler who understood Polish.

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    Kathleen Dennison April 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    “Double glazed” Windows???? Priceless!!!! I’ll have to use that the next time I get that call. They keep telling me to “go to my computer.” One time I told the guy I was in the bathtub and would have to call him back. He hung up. I love to mess with their minds!

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We use nomorobo, which stops at least 80% of these junk calls after one ring. It works with phone systems that use VOIP, like Comcast, etc. I think it can also work with cell phones, but haven’t tried that yet. Check out nomorobo.com for a video that explains how it works. It’s a godsend!

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Sir, Your computer has been infected and we can help.
Which one, I have 5
The one connected to the internet
They all are
etc. etc for as long as I can be bothered

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A particular newspaper annoyed me with a series of calls aimed at getting me to subscribe. I finally shut that down by responding, “Oh, thank you! Thank you! I didn’t think you’d ever start printing a Braille edition for home subscribers!”

Humorous, brief turn-downs to robo calls amuse me, but I’m not as supportive of lengthy exchanges. These people are trying to make a living in a very difficult situation. While I’m as annoyed by the interruptions as anyone else, I have a certain amount of empathy for the beleaguered caller who must deal with rejection call after call, day after day. I wouldn’t feel comfortable eating into his or her earning potential for my own idle amusement.

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My iPhone is set so that between the hours of 10PM and 5:30 AM it will not ring unless the call is from one of the numbers in my “special people” list. During the day, I look at the caller ID before answering. If it’s a number I don’t recognize, from a place where I know no one, I send it straight to VM. If it’s someone who really wants to talk to me, they’ll leave a message. 99% of the time, there’s no message. I’ve tried blocking numbers, but the spammers just keep spoofing different numbers, so it’s virtually (no pun intended) impossible to block calls that way. While there’s a part of me that would definitely love to mess with these people, the rest of me has neither the time nor the patience.

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For my amusement, I once egged a telemarketer on ,until he got to the request for my credit card number. He had been quite good, courteous and seemed pretty sharp. I told him this and added that I thought he would do well at something else more “consumer-friendly.” Complete silence for about 15 seconds! As I was about to hang up, he thanked me, said he didn’t like the job, and would move on! (The most satisfying telemarketer call I’ve had.)

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I still have a landline, and my answering machine screens all my calls. “You have reached XXX-XXXX. Please leave a message after the tone.” Nearly all junk callers hang up on my answering machine. Some days this happens a dozen times. I’ve got better things to do with my time than interact with junk callers. If I hear someone I know I want to converse with, I just take my sturdy 1983-era Western Electric handset off the hook. My method even works without an answering machine, I just hit a random tone on the touchpad after voicing the same message for real.

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I find it very hard to believe that all these telemarketers can’t find other jobs. I also find it hard to believe that people would actually give a telemarketer his/her credit card number!!! You have no idea who you might be talking with. I also only use a cell phone and don’t answer numbers not in my phone book. If it’s important they’ll leave a message and if they don’t I immediately block their number. I once had someone call me trying to get me to sign up with an auto club. I told them I was already with another one. They tried and tried to get me to sign up for theirs. Then when they finally realized I wasn’t going to they actually switched to trying to sell me vitamins!!!!!! That is when I hung up and decided NO more listening to telemarketers.

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I am surprised at the absence of discussion of the “Do Not Call” registry, and the donotcall.gov website. Once you’ve had your numbers on the registry, when a robocall comes in, you take the info off your caller ID (what the number was, when it came in, what their spiel was), and enter it at donotcall.gov. It didn’t work immediately, but the volume of the nuisances is reduced to maybe one per week max, which I consider to be a huge improvement. If you aren’t willing to do the small amount necessary to help the authorities try to get a handle on this, I suppose the whistles and “messing with them” will have to suffice. Just remember that these folks are just trying to do their job, for which they get peanuts. It’s not like THEY are the ones who thought this up.

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    Good morning Betsy.
    My number is registered on the ‘do not call’ list on the Government site in Canada. It worked well at first but I believe it only blocks calls made from within Canada. Most of the telemarketers are calling from other Countries and the Government has no power or jurisdiction over that. In any event, most of those calls show on my call display as ‘unavailable’. And just because it says ‘unavailable’ doesn’t necessarily mean it’s from a telemarketer. If you receive a call from a large corporation which has many many departments and many many people working within those many many departments the call more than likely show as ‘unavailable’ as it’s routed through their exchange. My doctors office is one example. I have a couple of friends with ‘unlisted’ numbers and the call display shows as ‘private’. So I always answer the phone. Would really hate not to answer in case it was Lottery Corporation. haha. Cheers

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I used to block all numbers from telemarketing calls. However, they have somehow learned to ‘hijack’ local numbers, so those show as the caller’s ID! We live in a very small community, and twice I have actually called the local number back, and talked to someone nearby, who had no idea their number had been used in that way, just moments before!
I notice that with my cell-phone I’ve received calls with the same prefix as my cell phone, as well as the same area code.
We have a local business, so it is impractical to block the numbers for local people who may try to call us later!

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Do not call is complete waste of time & efforthe. Call blocking is little better as they easily change their number

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I had one Windows “repair person” call to tell me I had a virus that they needed to repair remotely. I thanked them and explained that I at the Redmond facility, and would ask my friend in the next cubicle to check things out.
About a month later another person called with the same message. I asked them to stay on the line until the police could trace the call.
In both cases, the caller hung up.

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Like the call I received about soon being eligible for Medicare. I replied, rather drily, “I’ve been on Medicare for 20 yrs.”
Click!

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ROBERT ERIC PENTECOST April 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm

On our land line we use our answering machine with this message…”You’ve reached us. We’re unable to take your call. Please leave your name and number at the tone.

If we’re nearby we’ll look at the caller ID – if we recognize it we’ll answer it, if we don’t we let the machine kick in. If we’re out of the house we’ll look for the flashing number on the machine. If we just don’t want to bother to look we’ll listen for a familiar voice or important calls. 99.99% of the time the calls with “Unknown Name” “Out of the Area” “Ring” and “Illegal Scam” never leave a message and we are glad.

Once I was in a real ornery mood and just felt like doing something bad. I answered the 2nd or 3rd Unknown call of the day and strung them along for awhile “I’m going to look at the computer, it’s on the 2nd floor. But I’m doing laundry in the basement and I’m naked, so let me get on some clothes and then I’ll go upstairs and look at the computer.” I made dressing noise, climbing noises, huffing and puffing my way up the imaginary stairs. After a bit I arrived up the stairs only to exclaim. “Oh no, my wife took the laptop to work with her today, so sorry. Goodbye!”

It took great effort on my part not to laugh during the conversation but it was too much work for so little reward, so I’ve never done it again. I have though about learning another language so I could answer using it.

Bob

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lol…..I hope you accepted. 🙂

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No one has mentioned the fact that if you converse with the caller it demonstrates that they have reached a working number. We have rec’d many robo calls about credit cards which ask the recipient to press a particular key. I started to press the key and talk with a live person. I read somewhere that such playing around confirms the number is a good one. I have stopped talking with anyone an the calls are not as frequent. Maybe it has nothing to do with that fact or that we now immediately hang up when the word credit card is uttered.

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Here in the UK cellphones have their own area codes so someone can tell they are calling a mobile but not where you are based. We do have a telephone preference service that it meant to block unwanted call and there are heavy fines for abusing this – but it doesn’t cover overseas calls or where you clicked ‘I agree to be contacted by carefully selected third parties’ somewhere in the small print.

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