There are basically two categories of calls that I'm getting that drive me bananas. One is a robocall saying they can give me a discount on my electric bill. I have no idea what this is, but I bothered to click through the menu this time until I got someone and asked them to put me on their Do Not Call list. Then I thought about it, did a little looking on 411.com, thought about the 555 call prefix, and went over to Verizon.
The other category of call is not a robocall, it's a live human being with a spiel about how this isn't a sales call but they are talking about solar panels and I always call a halt to that one, tell them I already have solar panels and That Is the End of That. I _assume_ these people have the sense to mark that in their database, but I may need to start telling them to add me to their Do Not Call List, also.
I'm not kidding. I'm getting 3+ of these calls _a day_. The last two robocalls were within less than a half hour (25 minutes apart).
ETA: After doing some looking around and talking to R., I signed up with NoMoRobo. If anyone else out there is already using this service and has an opinion, I'm interested.
Interesting coverage of the issue and Nomorobo and the FTC contest over at Wired:
Here's the CTIA filing opposing carrier mandates to block robocalls with blacklist/whitelist solutions:
It seems kinda bullshit. You could -- people used to -- make the exact same argument against anti-spam solutions by email providers. And yet I, for one, am _oh so happy_ that those solutions exist. Nomorobo has a reporting page for unwanted numbers that made it through -- and wanted numbers that did not.
CTIA also suggests spoofers could evade the Nomorobo whitelist/blacklist solution by just not having a caller id; that's silly, because many people block everything that doesn't have a caller id so that doesn't help the robo caller at all. CTIA also raises arguments like, hey, it's a legal robocall (charity, political) so it has to go through. I don't like that argument, altho I can kind of see what they are getting at. CTIA also seems very worried about using simul-ring by third parties, for privacy reasons, but honestly, if you think that a bunch of marks should be required to decide whether to listen to a scam and for how long, you should _definitely_ let me make this decision for myself.
I tend to be a little suspicious of proposals to fix endemic problems through consumer education. Sometimes, that's all you can do. But I guess I keep hoping that we could do something a little more effective here.
Consumerist coverage (I have huge issues with them) of the FTC vs FCC vs carriers debate over whether carriers are allowed to/should jump into this fight:
FCC page on TCPA for robocalls: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/robocalls
But this legislation is problematic. The robocalls we are currently getting are almost certainly NOT legit businesses. They are scams. And TCPA has been used recently as a tool to extract money from large companies, often on a very bogus basis.
More from the Consumerist, with a nutty last paragraph:
"Kevin Rupy of phone industry trade group USTelecom" "said that the telecom industry is working on ways to make caller ID more secure so that consumers can be certain the number that pops up is accurate. However, caller ID spoofing is not illegal and has legitimate uses — for example, victims of abuse trying to hide their identity — that prevent the government from outlawing it outright."
If victims of abuse trying to hide their identity is the only reason or even the best reason for letting people spoof caller id, we should get rid of it now. There are way more abusers taking advantage of this than victims, and our population of people likely to be scammed is going to be growing in absolute terms and as a fraction of the population for years to come. This justification is right up there with the Denton empire explanation for allowing anonymous comments to go live immediately, leading to the Jezebel rape gif problem.
Consumerist really does kinda suck. If you want to justify Spoofing Caller ID, the wikipedia article gives a much better list of arguments:
Current FTC robocall contest: figure out a way to direct robocalls to a honeypot.