Yesterday I received yet another telemarketing call. My main phone line is unlisted, on the Do Not Call Registry, and I NEVER give it out for any reason whatsoever. Unlike postal service, where someone else buys the stamp, I pay for my own phone line. It’s my line, no one else’s. Period.
Yet the spammers and scammers continue to violate my privacy, even with both community and personal black lists. Heck, I turn off the ringers before I go to bed just so I can sleep!
We the People of the United States of America need an iron-clad NO SOLICITATION law. Before the days of the telephone, if a salesman ignored the No Solicitation sign and walked on to your property and began walking towards you, simply cocking your shotgun sent them on their merry way. No one has any inherent right to solicit anything from anyone at any time. Furthermore, We the People have a Constitutional right to be free from any such solicitation. Four States have banned billboards. Many states regulate billboards, and I’m glad. I don’t want to be looking at junk alongside the highway. I don’t need solicitation to “educate” me. I read the papers and various magazines, not to mention online news. My Google-foo is strong. If I need something, I go right to the source, often buying it online.
These days, we are absolutely bombarded by more scams than legitimate phone calls.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “The Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls. You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls.”
The problem is many scammers call people under these guises only to pitch their sales, or worse, their scams, at a later time. Political and charitable calls are often solicitations for money. Scams, however, initially appear under all these guises. The po
Unlike the U.S. Mail, which remains a legitimate means of contacting people and is paid for by the sender, a phone line, whether landline, VoIP, or cellular, is paid for by the recipient for the recipient’s purposes. If someone absolutely must contact me for some reason, they can pay their own postage and drop a letter in the mailbox.
Speaking of which, political and charitable calls are usually solicitations for money. The only informational calls I’m interested in receiving via my telephone are those related to my municipality’s Disaster Alert System, from which I can remove my number at any time, and appointment reminders. Heck, I don’t even mind a robo-caller for that purpose, as it’s just 15 seconds and only one time a couple of days before an appointment. As for telephone survey calls, again, the answer is no. You’re soliciting information and wasting my time, so no.
Here’s an idea: Let’s get Congress Involved!
When writing them, address your correspondence “To the Honorable [First] [Last]:” Be clear, and concise. Explain why you’re writing (the problem). Give them a solution. Briefly explain why your solution is either the best or the only reasonable option. Request their assistance. Close by thanking them for their time. Sign your name and include any credentials (Dr., PhD, masters, etc.).
September 20, 2018
101 Main Street, Apt D
Anytown, ST 12345
To the Honorable John Doe:
I am writing you concerning the incessant volume of unsolicited spam and scam calls I receive throughout each and every day. It is a serious invasion of my privacy. Despite having an unlisted number and having been on the Do Not Call Registry for nine years, making certain I’m still on it year after year, calls continue to pour in from all sources, most of which are completely illegitimate. Even ‘legitimate” calls, however, are unwelcome, as they are still unsolicited.
The Federal Trade Commission manages the Do Not Call Registry
. They specifically state on their website:
“Most legitimate companies don’t call if your number is on the Registry. If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam. If you get these calls, hang up and file a complaint with the FTC.”
I have filed such complaints with the FTC on numerous occasions. They have had no measurable effect on reducing the number of spam/scam calls I receive. If anything, I am beginning to suspect spammers and scammers use the Do Not Call Registry as a phone book, feeding its electronic information into their robo-callers.
Put simply, it flat-out, no holds barred, absolutely does not work.
Furthermore, the entire premise is built upon some sort of imagined, fictional right that some entities to invade the privacy of others:
“You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone survey calls.”
To be blunt, it’s not their phone line. They don’t pay for it. I do. They have absolutely no Constitutional right whatsoever, implied or otherwise, to invade my privacy without my express permission.
Let’s put this into its proper perspective by taking a page out of history.
We have three farms or ranches. The first has the following sign at the entrance to his property: “All Visitors Welcome.” The second has a sign that says, “If you know and I know you, come on in. All others, KEEP OUT.” The third sign says, simply, “No Trespassing.”
Given these signs, “political, charitable, debt collection, informational, and survey” visits are legal only in the first case, where the sign says, “All Visitors Welcome.” If they breached the property boundaries in the other two situations, they’d be trespassing, subject to arrest, and in some jurisdictions, subject to receiving a load of buckshot in their britches.
We the People value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These, among others, are our inalienable rights. Trespassing of any kind, including unsolicited phone calls, violates our right to enjoy life. It violates our liberty, our freedom to be free from uninvited intrusion. And it violates our pursuit of happiness, sapping our time, attention, and resources. Case in point, the half day it’s taken me to write this letter than never should have been necessary in the first place had Congress done their job. Allowing “political, charitable, debt collection, informational, and survey” intrusions into our private lives violates Congress’ primary responsibility to protect the people. If you believe otherwise, then by all means, publish your own private numbers to your own homes and see how much you enjoy life while constantly being bombarded by spammers, scammers, and robocallers.
Now that I have your attention, hopefully with the same perspective carried by We the People, let’s talk about solutions.
We’ve already established that in all likelihood, the Do Not Call Registry has backfired, almost certainly providing a vast list of numbers for spammers, scammers, and robocallers.
Therefore, instead of publishing numbers of people who do not want to be called, lets’ that list and only publish numbers of those who do want to be called. Name it a “Call me now! Registry.”
Naturally, very few people will sign up for it. After all, no one wants to be spammed, scammed, and robocalled through their own telephone line for which they pay and for their own purposes.
However, this approach is subject to massive abuse. Anyone would be able to put someone else’s name on the list and ruin their lives. No doubt a legion of hackers from China would soon populate such a list with every telephone number in the U.S. No, any sort of “Call me now! Registry” will cause far more problems than it will solve.
I believe the best solution is to simply outlaw unsolicited phone calls and e-mails of any kind. No other solution protects the rights of the people to keep unwanted and unwelcome spammers, scammers and robocallers away.
What would really be nice is both a software solution that eliminates caller ID spoofing as well as a button on our phones that, when pressed, would instantly add the caller to a Do Not Receive list i.e. a blacklist.
In the meantime, I’m thinking about adding the following to my voicemail message:
“If you know me personally or have legitimate, lawful business with me, then please leave a detailed message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. However, if you are calling with respect to political, charitable, debt collection, informational, and survey purposes, regardless of whether you think you may have lawful business with me, you do not and you must hang up immediately. This means now. Right now. If you’re in the second category and you’re still on the line, you are violating the National Do Not Call Registry or have placed an illegal robocall can be fined up to $41,484 per call in accordance with Federal Law. I absolutely WILL report your call to the Federal Trade Commission for violating U.S. Federal Law.”
A shorter version might be:
“If you know me personally, leave a message. If you don’t, then either hang up or be subjected to a $41,484 per call fine for violating U.S. Federal Law.”
The only other option is to use a whitelist, where I manually enter the phone numbers of friends, family, and employment.
As you can see, Congressman, the current solution does not work. At all. In fact, it may very well be a significant contributor to the problem.
Solving the problem of these incessant trespasses into my private life is of utmost importance to me.
Aya M. Independent