They finally found me.
The Robocallers from Hell.
•?April 11: from Bountiful, Utah, 385-243-6369
•?April 11: East Marlborough, Pa., 484-260-4012
•?April 11: Upper Marlboro, Md., 301-298-7311
•?April 12: Visalia, Calif., 559-205-0195
•?April 12: Tacoma, Wash., 253-244-9757
•?April 13: Danbury, Conn., 203-456-9891
•?April 14: Hinsdale, Ill., 708-528-5210
•?April 14: Hinsdale, Ill., 708-528-5210
•?April 17: Mount Kidsco, N.Y., 914-334-9316
•?Wednesday: Midvale, Utah, 385-275-0104
•?Wednesday: Lone Oak, Texas, 430-808-5009
Same group every time. Jerk-faced dogs who identify themselves as “the Motor Vehicle Service Department” and try to sell you an extended warranty.
Actually, that’s the best-case scenario. I didn’t play along far enough to figure out whether they were genuinely selling extended warranties or just trolling for financial information they could use to empty my bank account. I’m almost certain it’s the latter, given their continued pummeling of someone who had already declared he wasn’t interested.
I started blocking the numbers after the first couple of calls but soon quit because that didn’t slow them down one iota. They were trotting out an endless series of fake numbers and locations.
This happens a lot, I’m told. Unfortunately, our options are limited.
Just to make myself feel better (and to give me something to write about), I went to the Federal Communications Commission’s website and filed a formal complaint.
There’s at least one large flaw in the FCC’s reporting system: You can’t file complaints about calls by the same company via multiple numbers. And I wasn’t going to complete 11 different forms.
Not that it would have mattered anyway. After you work your way through the FCC’s lengthy form (and are even assigned a case number), you eventually see this:
“We do not resolve individual complaints on these issues. However, the collective data we receive helps us keep a pulse on what consumers are experiencing, may lead to investigations and serves as a deterrent to the companies we regulate.”
I figured it was time to take matters into my own hands. On the last call, I played along long enough to get a real person, at which time I immediately unleashed enough F-bombs to take out an al-Qaida stronghold.
I finished by asking how the hell she could work for a company like that. She asked me how I could talk with a mouth like that. As a colleague likes to say, the productive part of this conversation was over.
Unfortunately, I’m quite sure that connecting directly with these jackasses will prove to be counterproductive. But I simply couldn’t resist.
However, thanks to expert guidance from our ace consumer columnist, Betty Lin-Fisher, I downloaded an app for a private blocking company called Nomorobo (www.nomorobo.com).
For two bucks a month, they supposedly block all robocalls to your cellphone. We’ll see.
If you have an internet-based landline, you can add Nomorobo for free. It won’t work on traditional landlines.
Here’s how Betty lays out the basics for stopping robocalls. (For more tips, go to www.ohio.com/betty and check out her “Betty’s Best Tips” section.)
What Nomorobo blocks: Nomorobo doesn’t block automated school alert calls, but it does block political calls. Users can opt in for political calls. If a call is mistakenly blocked or a robocall comes through, users can report that to Nomorobo.
Sign up for Do Not Call: Many people ask about the National Do Not Call list. You can and should still register your number at 888-382-1222, but that will block calls from legitimate companies who make phone calls. Most robocalls come from scammers who are illegally calling you, and frankly calling from fake numbers that can’t be traced by authorities, so they’re not abiding by the Do Not Call List.
If you receive a robocall: Don’t engage the caller. Don’t push any buttons to be placed on their own Do Not Call list. That just verifies your number is valid.
Obviously, I totally blew it on her last recommendation. Hoping Nomorobo will bail me out.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31