Mike Zielinski

Mike Zielinski

More and more people are suffering from ringing in the ears. But it’s from their phones, not tinnitus.

Indeed, the sound of silence is essentially extinct in American homes these days.

Robocalls are a plague upon our land, even more annoying than the locusts that bedeviled biblical Egypt. A day without a robocall in our house is becoming as rare as the Great Plains Bison.

I don’t know about you, but robocalls drive me even more mad than Rasputin, especially since my landline and cell numbers supposedly are on the Do Not Call Registry.

In fact, I’ve even installed a punching bag in my family room. After every robocall I hit that bag as if it might open fire at any time.

Yep, we’re under cyberattack, a constant bombardment of nuisance calls that turn our serenity into lunchmeat.

The next time you talk to God, ask Him to add an 11th Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Place Robocalls.

Perhaps we should ban all landline and cell phones and return to using homing carrier pigeons to deliver messages. Messenger pigeons were all the rage for centuries, even being depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back 5,000 years.

But like many of us, carrier pigeons lost their jobs to evolving technology.

Granted, pigeons didn’t deliver instantaneous messages like phones do, but they sure as heck didn’t drive us bat crazy with a tsunami of intrusions.

Hiya, a software company in Seattle, reported that a total of 26.3 billion robocalls were made to American phones in 2018, up 46 percent from the previous year’s total of 18 billion. And more than 90 percent of those calls were spoofed, showing a caller ID that is not the real number.

The spoofing caller deliberately disguises the number on your caller ID, so you don’t know who it is from. Neighborhood spoofing is where the number is similar to your own. The theory is that if it’s the same area code and exchange as your number, you’re more likely to answer it.

Amazingly, I have received calls on my landline from my own landline number. Unless I have a devious body double, I didn’t place those calls.

Telemarketing calls at least have financial motivation and can therefore be influenced to some degree by threats of lawsuits and fines by the Federal Communications Commission.

Calls by “legitimate” telemarketers is not the real danger we face. Rather, it’s nuisance and phishing calls. Those calls have no business purpose except to defraud and annoy, so there is no easy means to put a stop to them.

The danger is that, if a person answers the call, the caller then knows it is an active phone line to use in a follow-up attempt to defraud, or they can sell the number to other scammers.

What a lovely world we live in. The folks behind these robocalls are your classic band of cutthroats, without mercy, kindness or compassion.

If Alexander Graham Bell had to do it over again, he probably would have gone fishing that day instead of inventing the telephone.

Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

comments powered by Disqus