HALLIE EPHRON: Every day when the phone rings, usually at around 1:00 (the time I am settling in for my daily nap), I bolt to my feet (because hope springs...), rush into my office. Check caller ID.
Usually there's my friend, Norc J Chicago 312-578-7715. Don't know Norc J or anyone in Chicago. Then my buddy Unknown Name 446-3314. And a little while later, his sibling, another UNKNOWN NAME 856-376-5266. Then the mysterious CANDY MINI MART at 607-562-3887 (area code Ithaca).
And on it goes.
When I don't recognize the number, depending on my mood, I either hang up on it or let my answering machine pick up -- usually no one leaves a message... except the company that is trying to sell my a security system because I am such a vulnerable senior citizen. Robocallers do not get irony.
But last week I got snookered. The caller ID was my home phone. The one that was ringing. I picked it up and heard, "This is Rachel from Cardholder Services..."
Rachel? I slammed down the receiver. Rachel used to call several times a day for months... nay, make that years. There seemed no way of stopping her. And then Rachel stopped calling. I thought, maybe I'd found the magic DO NOT CALL registry (I register for all of them - I think it's where these robo callers go to get there phone lists). Or maybe the feds or phone company had finally silenced Rachel.
But no, here Rachel is again. I'd blast my Vuvuzela at her, but she's just a machine. She sounds so cheery. I HATE RACHEL!
Have you found a magic way to stop these annoying calls, and what do you do when you get one?
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh Hallie, Rachel calls us too--and here I thought we were her special friends...She does sounds cheerful, doesn't she?
We have caller ID on our phone screen, so if it's a number we don't recognize, we've taken to lifting the receiver and slamming it back down. Someday maybe it will be the New York Times calling to interview me or John for some Really Big Story, but I guess we're willing to take that chance!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yeah, the DO NOT CALL list only works for certain entities. And the most frustrating part, it relies on companies to obey the law. SO if a company decides they don't care about the law, they just call you anyway. So much for the rules.
There is a way to fight back, though it's complicated. I'm not sure about the details and I'm in a hotel room on the way to the airport and can't look up specifics,, pant pant... BUT--if you ask the caller specifically "What company is this?" and then say "I am asking you to take me off your list" then say: I am writing down the company name and time and date, and am keeping track of your calls, and if you call me again I'm going to report you to the Attorney General's office" or something along those lines, it can be a deterrent.
I do it all the time. Does it work? It might. And can't hurt.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: We use our land line so seldom that we don't get many Rachels, and when an unidentified number calls, I don't answer. Rick, however, likes to answer and tell the poor sales schmuck that he's going to report him or her to the FCC.
I am starting to get some calls on my cell phone, which is highly illegal. I have an app called Mr Number that identifies most of them as spam. If you answer one and it IS spam, you can add the call to Mr Number and it will be blocked from your phone.
HALLIE: Mr. Number?! Sounds like something I need.
Here's what PC Magazine says about it: "Just because you have a smartphone doesn't mean you want people calling you all the time. Enter Mr. Number (Google Play, Free), a handy little app that makes it easy to block calls and text messages from specific numbers, area codes, code prefixes, or just everyone. It's dead simple, but surprisingly powerful, and comes with reverse call lookup to boot."
Sadly I think it's just for android phones, and I gather there's something for iPhones in IOS 7 and 8 ... too complicated for me to follow but nice to know.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: We don't have a land line. At all. Since both the Hubby and I have cell phones, it seems redundant to have (and pay) for yet another line. We gave up our land line years ago and never looked back.
Occasionally, I'll get a "Rachel" on the cell, but since I never pick up for people I don't know (actually, I rarely pick up at all, and would much rather text, but I think that's a generational thing and another post), it's just not an issue.
RHYS BOWEN: We wage a constant war against unwanted calls. When it's a real person I try to outsmart them. You know the ones from India who tell you they are from Microsoft and there is something wrong with your computer? I say "Sorry we have all Apple computers." But the recorded ones? John's answer to this is to take the receiver and put it in front of the TV, then walk away. We take small pleasure that we've tied up their line for a while! And of course, being mystery writers, we can kill them in our books.
HALLIE: So do you have a land line? Do you even answer your phone?? How do you handle unwelcome calls. Has anyone conquered Rachel?