By Sue Murphy
My house is under siege. No, my yard is not surrounded by Mongol hordes, unless you count the ants that continually pace the perimeter. I can safely leave my driveway and walk untroubled through the neighborhood streets. What I cannot do is pick up my phone.
I can physically pick it up, of course, but an overwhelming percentage of the time, it leads to a scam recording or a (bloop) segue to some salesperson at a desk far, far away whose job it is to talk me into things he already knows I don’t want. These robo-weasels (Am I being too harsh?) have figured out how to convince caller ID that they are locals, possibly someone I’d like to talk to. Scam-driven emails I can delete, but phone calls are another issue. The shrill sound of the phone ringing is an invasion in itself, and when I race to the phone and find it is a person of ill-intent, the call becomes an invasion of my privacy and peace of mind. I feel like I am under assault.
Before you ask, I am on the “do not call” list, but for people whose aim it is to defraud the vulnerable, a little “do not call” indicator does not seem to be a deterrent. In response, I have instituted a “do not answer” policy. Since I can no longer decipher who is real and who is a wily charlatan, I don’t answer the phone at all. If a real person is calling, they will leave a real message and I can call them back.
The recording scams begin with a cheery voice saying they are from “Account Services” or my credit card company, always unnamed. I can’t do anything about those people. The recordings are either computer-generated or a one-shot job taken by a person of appallingly low standards. But I would like to address myself to the other people, the (bloop) receivers, the poor souls who must pick up the conversation when I have been foolish enough to stay on the line. There’s one number that calls my house several times a day. It’s (205) 990…no, I’d better not give you the rest. The number may have been hijacked from a dear, sweet lady who only uses her phone on Sundays, and if her house should then be surrounded by police cars, it could frighten her out of her wits.
So, let’s just say Mr./Ms. 205990 … Sir or madam, does your mother know you are doing this? Don’t you know your grandmother would be ashamed if she knew the way you are choosing to earn a living? If I found out that one of my children or grandchildren was harassing people over the phone in an attempt to defraud them, I would swoop in and effect immediate changes. I am small but I am fierce and, trust me, you do not want to be on the wrong end of one of my swoops.
Ethics aside (And really, when is that wise?), how successful can you possibly be in this fake phone pursuit? The calls are a waste of my time and yours, so please, please stop. I know you need a job, but look around you. There has to be a position available where you would be proud to show your face, something that would not put you in the same moral category as Attila the Hun (Again, probably too harsh).
You can do it, 205990 … I know you can. And when you are successful, call me…well, leave me a message. Right now, I cannot answer my phone.