Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

Folks, today I’m going to share with a secret, recurring fantasy I have. I am aware that this is a risky thing to do, and some of you may think me nuts when I’m done.. But, here goes:

In my fantasy, I’m endowed with a magic arm. With my ‘magic’ arm, I can reach through the phone.

It works like this: I just shove my hand in the receiver end of my phone, and it will pop out the speaker of my caller’s phone. Like in a cartoon. I have this fantasy every time a telemarketer calls.

I will leave it up to your imagination what my hand does to the telemarketer (or machine that plays the “pre-recorded announcement”) at the other end of the line.. but I will give you a hint: they never use the phone to ‘pitch’ another living soul ever again.

Since I do not have a ‘magic arm’ nor cartoon-like superpowers, I registered my phone number(s) on the National Do Not Call List.dnclogo

By doing so, supposedly, telemarketers would be barred from calling me, and if they broke the Law, I could simply report them and they would be prosecuted (probably just fined. I know you were thinking Public Flogging, or worse). More information on what the service, and law, does and does not do, is available here.

Wonderfully, the suppers interrupted by real live salespeople has been greatly reduced. Regrettably, I had to use the word “supposedly”, because I still rather regularly get spam (recorded) phone calls – at least one a week from “Daisy” at some carpet cleaners, some “urgent” call about my credit card (in both a male and female voice), and one that tells me my car’s warranty is about to expire. Magazines want to “verify” my “information”.

Fortunately, I have only experienced “annoyance” calls, and no really dangerous con artists are going after me or my getting-up-in-years parents (I registered their numbers as well).
I cannot – with certainty- say if this is directly attributable to the No Call List. But, I can’t say it isn’t, either.

Tip of the day: If you have not already done so, click the link (above) and get your (and maybe, your loved one’s) phone number(s) on the list. It is an easy two-step process.
1) Enter up to three numbers on the form, and provide a valid e-mail address. (If you have more than 3, revisit the page.)
2) Copy the URL link in the e-mail you receive from, and paste it into your browser’s address bar.


That completes the registration process. You will have to wait for the legalities to cover you, so don’t delay. These kinds of things only work for us if we use them!

[update: A reader has provided more information: “I thought I’d mention that recorded phone calls are illegal as of December 1st 2008. Not that those “spam (recorded) phone calls” are made legally but now there is one more reason to report the calls to Here is the news: (not sure if the link will work it’s “FTC: Robocalls Must Now Include Terminator Option”)” — from Ex Telemarketer.]

Today’s free links: a quite excellent resource page, Do-it-yourself: Stop junk mail, email and phone calls – A free guide to reducing unwanted or intrusive advertising

Tom Mabe is a comedian who has a unique way of dealing w/telemarketers… as heard here.

* If you have a job where you are a telemarketer.. how do you live with yourself? Have you actually deluded yourself into thinking you’re “providing a service”? <sigh>

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 27, 2009 - Posted by | advice, Internet scam | , , , , ,


  1. Some VOIP service providers have another tool in the fight against these aggrevations. I switched a while back to a VOIP provide (no not vonage, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy), I can log on to my account on the web, review the caller ID’s of any call that came in, and if a suspicious number is there Google it it determine it’s owner, then add it to a blacklist, the next time that number calls back they get a recording stating that my number is not currently in service.


    Comment by Dave Brooks | August 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Dave Brooks,
      I am not sure how effective a blacklist approach is, but I am sure it helps a little bit (at least, with repeats from the same number), and some help is better than none, I guess.

      In the “good old days”, these folks would be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town (or worse), now they’re merely cursed, and it’s one more thing we feel powerless over.


      Comment by techpaul | August 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. For the calls I get it’s quite effective, it obviously wouldn’t help if your getting calls from one place that continually spoofs their caller ID with different numbers, but for the reletively honest telemarketers (is there a conflict there?) it works well.


    Comment by Dave Brooks | August 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Dave,
      I am gratified to hear that, and I thank you for sharing that information with me and my readers!


      Comment by techpaul | August 27, 2009 | Reply

  3. Yeah that’s real funny, but how did he convince the telemarketer that he was a seargent?! I won’t fall for the trick if I were a telemarkerter!


    Comment by Adrian | August 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Adrian,
      Those who are into “cons” and “social engineering” will tell you that a lot of folks have a built-in.. awe of Authority Figures, and instinctively go right into submissive mode (which is quite often a good thing).

      I don’t know how many times Tom tried this and it didn’t work…


      Comment by techpaul | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. I hate some telemarketers, its irritating and annoying how they call anytime and talk with their lousy business.


    Comment by Rpbert Koraca | September 3, 2009 | Reply

    • Mr. Koraca,
      You are more charitable than I.


      Comment by techpaul | September 3, 2009 | Reply

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