I’ll bet that most of us grew up in the same scenario. The telephone was screwed to the wall and/or it might be sitting on a table within easy reach.
The moment that it rang, at least one person sprang into action. I remember many fights with my brother to see who got to it first. At my girlfriend’s at the time, you didn’t grab it immediately; they had a party line and you had to make sure that it was “your ring” before answering it. A nosey party line person could listen in or actually answer on your ring if they so wanted. Such began a trek into telephones, privacy, scammers, etc.
It wasn’t like people weren’t trying to scam us in the old days. Since you had no idea who was calling, you just picked up the phone. The response from me was usually “click” but I’ve heard of people with horns to blow into the mouthpiece or even one lady that offered to listen to them if they would accept one of her church magazines. Unknown callers have always been a hassle to deal with.
When I got my first job at the board office, I got great advice from my superintendent who was big in time management. At the time, we had an LCD display on the phones and could see the name of who was calling. He was in my office once when I answered the phone. He pointed out that I had to interrupt what I was doing, spend time doing the pleasantries that go into the first part of a phone call and then actually have the conversation. His advice, which I quickly followed, was to let everything go to voice mail and then block time into my day to return the calls. It was great advice and saved me so much time.
I follow that same routine today. If you call me, unless you’re a member of my immediate family, you’ll go to voice mail and I’ll decide if I’m going to return your call. People that know me know that there are better ways to communicate with me anyway.
This story just broke my heart.
Reading the story reminds me of the depths that some of these people will go to try and scam you out of your money. I hope that the police are able to do something although it’s my understanding that these calls are pretty untraceable.
And they’re getting better at it.
It used to be when they would call with a real phone number, it would display as “unknown number”. Those were easy to ignore. Now, though, they’re able to display a legitimate business name or at least have a number identified as in your community. Even today, I have to do a gut check to restrain myself from answering.
I’m currently ignoring someone who is pretty persistent and calls with a business named but it’s always from a different number and they do go to voice mail where nothing is left. I’m pretty clear in my message that I’ll get back to you if it’s important but someone who refuses to leave a phone number is sketchy in my books.
How do they get your number? It’s a pretty slick marketing tactic to use serial and parallel dialers but the moment that you answer, you’ve told them that the number is live and that there’s someone who will answer the call.
So, if you’re calling and going to voice mail, I’m not ignoring you. In fact, I might be looking at my phone as you do it. I’ll get back to you, if needed, but I’d prefer contact through other media and we can then drop into a face-to-face chat if that sort of communication is needed.
Stay safe. It’s a jungle out there.
How do you handle unwanted phone calls?