–by Janice Weber
PUBLICATION DATE: 04.18.17
Spam Texts and Robocalls
You may find this surprising. Many of us remember when people’s names, addresses and phone numbers were listed in the telephone book and distributed for free. All we ever worried about were junk mail, telemarketers and the occasional prank call. Times have changed. Phone books are now history. You can message anyone you know (or don’t) on Facebook, Twitter or other means. And most importantly, your phone number is a gateway to your primary means of communication, entertainment and safety. Once your number is compromised, it’s far more intrusive than ever before.
Every year or so, a hoax burns like a wildfire through email inboxes and social networks warning that all cell phone numbers are about to go public. It also says there’s a deadline to register your cell phone and, once registered, it only blocks your number for five years. Oddly enough, the only thing the hoax message gets right is the number to call. For the record, mobile telephone numbers have never been in any danger of being made public or released to telemarketers. Additionally, there has never been a deadline to register your cell phone. If you get an unsolicited marketing call on your cell phone, first ask the caller how they got your number and firmly tell them you don’t want to be contacted again. If they call back, file a complaint with the FTC at:
But these days, many companies find it cheaper, easier and more profitable to send advertisements by text. You may also receive a host of “robocalls,” pre-recorded messages that automatically play when you pick up. With so many cell phone numbers being collected in databases, companies have a massive list of potential customers. Remember that texts, robocalls, and telemarketers may just as likely be scammers in disguise. Use extreme caution when answering these messages, and never give away personal data.
Joining the Do Not Call Registry is actually very simple. You go to the website Donotcall.gov and enter the landline or cell phone number you want on the list. Note that fax numbers are governed by different regulations, so signing them up won’t do anything. After going through a quick email verification, you’re done. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list. That’s all it takes, and your number stays on the list until you ask for it to be removed or you give up the number.
Warning: You might receive a phone call from someone claiming to work at the Do Not Call Registry or Federal Trade Commission. They’ll claim your number isn’t listed on Do Not Call and offer to sign you up. Naturally, you just have to provide some personal information.
This is always a scam. Just hang up.
On the other hand, political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you. Businesses you’ve bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months also have a right to call. When they call, however, just firmly tell them to take you off their list and they have to honor your request, although they might still try to talk you into reconsidering.
Computer Classes Are Available
I will be teaching a Beginners Facebook Class at the Sylvania Senior Center April 26 & 27 (1:30-3).
Call 419-885-3913 to register.
There is a small fee. Microsoft Word and Excel will be offered in the fall.
If you prefer personal tutoring, that is my specialty. It’s just you and me.
Call 419-530-8570 to register for classes at the UT campus.
Contact me personally for tutoring 419-318-9112.
Would you like to have a mini informational get-together? Recently I have been teaching PC and iPhone/iPad classes anywhere that has Wi-Fi. Informal and informative. We all use the same local Internet. We will pick a topic using open discussion. It is amazing how many different issues are solved. Bring a list of questions. Let’s get started. Got a small business? I can customize a class for your staff.
Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor at UT and Lourdes University. All classes are offered through the Eberly Center at UT with free parking. Email any specific questions or comments to JwPcTutor@Gmail.com or contact her for assistance at 419-318-9112. Public classes are listed on her website OhComputerTraining.com. The classes at UT offer inexpensive and totally nonintimidating. Call 419-530-8570 to register. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call or email away.