Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Do Not Disturb

I've been getting a ton of automated spam calls. Well not a ton, but about one or two a day. Which is annoying enough. When I first got them I picked a few up. They were coming from my same area code (as opposed to previous ones that came from out of state) so I thought maybe it might be a real number. Big mistake. I end up listening to the start of an automated advertisement and even though I hung up in a few seconds.. they probably know that my number has a real human on the other end.

I've been looking up solutions and one of them was the National Do Not Call Registry. I've been on the list since late last year and the calls haven't stopped. Of course they wouldn't. The do not call registry requires that telemarketers register to the list and actually use it. Im sure some respectful telemarketers do so, but given the seedy nature of the business, most could care less. I'm sure some just think of it as a business decision. They make so much money that they could pay the fines if caught.

There are a few apps in the appstore selling spam phone call blockers. They work by aggregating a blacklist of bad numbers from people willing to report the number. A lot of the reviews say they don't work. Or they sometimes work and sometimes don't. Telemarketers have gotten sophisticated these days, ALL of the calls that I get come from a different phone number each time. Seems like they would be able to get through to a good amount of people before that number gets blocked.

I have an Android phone and google does a pretty good job of identifying spam calls. When one of these calls comes in it turns red and says "Suspected Spam Call" or something like that. It doesn't work 100% of the time though. And still, I have to be interrupted by the call and manually silence the phone.

So I've decided to go on Do Not Disturb mode permanently. Android has an option where you can set a mode for DND mode. I first set it to Priority Only. Then I can configure what Priority Only means. I've set it to allow everthing(events, reminders, messages) except for calls, I set it to allow calls from contacts only. This doesn't mean that the calls are blocked. They still come into my phone but are automatically silenced.

Before I did this I was worried that maybe I might miss some legit calls. But after thinking more about it I think making this change is fine. When I exchange numbers with a friend, I always get their number too. So I'd always put it into my contact list. And even if I didn't, if it was from someone who needed to reach me, I'd expect them to leave a voicemail. If someone really did need to reach me, whose number I didn't have, they would probably expect to leave a voicemail. I think its become a general norm these days that people won't pick up the phone if they don't recognize your number. To get in contact you'd leave a voicemail, or send a text message, or reach them through some other social media or chat app first.

So far its working great. I look at my phone and see that I missed a call and am glad that I wasn't disturbed. And I didn't have to install another annoying, permission asking, memory sucking app on my phone to boot. Two nice things that I wish but don't have: 1) if I am somehow listening to music on my phone, I have to wait for the call to go away before my music comes on again. 2) I still get missed voicemails that are blank and I have to waste my time checking them.