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Pesky calls-Invasion of another kind : How to Say No

Life without the mobile or even that good old telephone set, is unimaginable today. But pesky calls can also make your life miserable. Subhasis Chatterjee gives handy tips to avoid those unwanted calls.


Ambrose Bierce rightly described a telephone to be "an invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keeps his distance". While modern day lifestyle is unimaginable without phones, it is those subtle moments that you would like to spend alone or with your loved ones that you would have thought the revolutionary gadget to have been never born. For many people, it acts more as a mode of personal and business communication calls from credit card and insurance companies. This takes us back to the good old schooldays when Goofy was hanging by a thin stick over a steep ledge and the phone beeps with a sales executive at the other end giving him the details of an 'incredible' life insurance opportunity!

The greatest aspect of telephone as an invention is the fact that you can speak to any person staying long way off at a moment's notice. The first users though that this was in fact an incredible idea. But at some point of time in present day life, one aspires for a moments of solitude when loneliness is a bliss. But you just forgot your Smart phone lying across the table. Telephone spammers constantly reach you with unintelligible texts and calls until you feel helpless and bang your head on the bathroom basin.

Fortunately, there are a few measures that could be taken to protect ourselves from these telemarketers and phone spammers. Some include even inflicting financial fines against the perceived perpetrators. Others are just to let you enjoy peace of mind and sanity. Wikipedia refers the sleazy practice of telephone spamming, SMS spamming as SpaSMS or more popularly as m-spams. In some cases it actually gets so irritating that you have to pay from your pockets. Take the case when you are roaming outside your state and you see an unidentified number calling you. You thought it would be an important call but when you find out that it was about reminding you that you account balance are low, you are actually charged for receiving the calls. You may actually find that these calls from customer care get more frequent when you are on 'roaming rates'. They certainly would go to any extent to drain you out of money and mind. Astonishingly, these things come even after you have approved of the "do-not-disturb" service.

Thanks to the increasingly vigilant email handlers and ISPs that our inboxes are less cluttered. It is understandable what you call spamming is actually the job of these telemarketers (they get paid for it) but you can choose not to feel sorry for their cause. Here are certain things that you can do:



Forwarding to 7726 (SPAM)

The idea is similar to marking certain emails to be spams. For those suffering from text spams, a comfortable solution would be to forward the disturbing SMS to 7726. This will generate a query from the service provider asking for the number that the message is sourced from. Text them back and that number is blocked from sending further unsolicited spams. Text spams come from a lot of sources, wherein you have declared your number bold and loud. An advice would be never to give away your personal number so easily.

Creating a blacklist / SPAM list

Blacklisting numbers that you frequently get telemarketing calls from allows you the peace of mind by your device directly taking care of blocking the number. This could be a healthy procedure if you want to save yourself the hassle of registering a complaint.

DND registrations

Though having some loopholes, the do-not-disturb registration will operate to greatly reduce your pain in dealing with telephone spammers. Call 888-382-1222 from a phone number that you want to register the service with. This spam directory is operated by the Federal Trade Commission and legitimate telemarketing companies remove themselves within 31 days. Alternatively, you can also visit the official website of FTC to resister a number.

No reply to texts

Most times spams are delivered by texting to randomly generated number by software. When you actually text back answers to silly quizzes and hope to win prizes for the same, you are actually registering yourself with a constant downpour of spams. Choose not even to reply to "Stop" when prompted by these message "if you don't wish to receive further notifications". Letting the sender know that you are actually active makes your telephone address more valuable in the black market.

It is important to understand that you are the sole authority of your privacy and that no one can choose to poke a finger on your "me-time" if you choose otherwise. Paul Auster writes in the City of Glasses, "It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not." You just cannot let others take control of your day and mood!

--IBNS (Posted on 02-09-2013)

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