The so-called “Do Not Call List” that was set up supposedly to protect consumers against illegal sales calls is a total failure. Furthermore, a growing number of harassing, illegal scam and phony IRS calls go unchallenged and continue to torment citizens of the United States, especially many unsuspecting seniors and homebound handicapped persons.
My weekly dose of these calls to my personal, unlisted cellphone, begins every Monday when I get barraged with five to seven unsolicited calls, despite my number being on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “ do not call list.” The calls vary in that some of them are just plain annoying robocalls offering credit-card consolidation, opening with an ominous warning, “We are calling about your current credit cards.” A few are robocalls about vacations I have supposedly won, or other various scams or thin offers.
FCC Not Tough Enough
Even though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just fined a Adrian Abramovich, a kingpin of a huge robocall company, $120 million for making an estimated 100 million similar calls, this seems a small price to pay ($1 a call) and merely a slap on the hand that will do little to deter this continuing onslaught of illegal robo and scam calls.
By the end of Monday and into Tuesday, I begin to get the really criminal calls from offshore human scamsters who impersonate the IRS, law enforcement and even Microsoft.
These creeps often threaten me with imprisonment if I don’t wire them money right away, or they try to convince me to download some spyware, so they can remove a phantom virus from my computer, which they say they have detected. All of them are aggressive, persistent and will start hailing you with a stream of profanities, if you dare question them or tell them you are going to report them to the FTC.
Before my mother passed away, she called me one night terrified by such a call and I had to go over to her apartment to calm her down and convince here she did not owe the IRS money and they were not going to arrest her in the morning.
Are There Counter Measures?
By this time you might be asking yourself, but aren’t there countermeasures to stop this kind of systematic, telephone harassment? Well, first of all, I have blocked more than 400 such telephone numbers on my iphone, but to no avail. You see the scam artists have perfected this foray by using spoof local numbers that are not real. So, when I get a call from one of them, it shows as coming from my area, but when I call it back, I find out that the number is no longer in operation. Therefore, they keep calling on a regular, mindblowing basis.
Report Them to FTC
Can’t your report these perpetrators to the FTC? Of course you can and I have many times. However, the FTC has never contacted me saying they caught or stopped any of them. In fact, I soon realized the FTC just doesn’t have the budget and personnel to really tackle this widespread problem.
So, I simply stopped answering any calsl I do not recognize, local or out of my area. My reasoning is that if the call is important, the caller will leave a message.
As a result of this proactive but flawed strategy I have missed some very important calls. Plus, the robocallers do leave messages and now are starting to text me instead.