Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

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Lance
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Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Lance » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:05 pm

The day before Thanksgiving, I had 16 Robo calls. 95% showed as "local" area numbers. These people know that families are home getting ready for the big day preparing dinners. I have been awakened early in the morning to Robo calls, even on my cell phone. Twice, in the last month or so, I have had to remove 250 blocked calls (500+ in all) to make room to block additional calls. It has gotten out of hand. It is tantamount to the number of commercials I see on TV channels such as National Geographic, Discover, etc. The same commercials played over and over so closely together. I had to get these two points off my chest. I've had enough of it all! So what do we do about it?
Lance G. Hill
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maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:09 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:05 pm
The day before Thanksgiving, I had 16 Robo calls. 95% showed as "local" area numbers. These people know that families are home getting ready for the big day preparing dinners. I have been awakened early in the morning to Robo calls, even on my cell phone. Twice, in the last month or so, I have had to remove 250 blocked calls (500+ in all) to make room to block additional calls. It has gotten out of hand. It is tantamount to the number of commercials I see on TV channels such as National Geographic, Discover, etc. The same commercials played over and over so closely together. I had to get these two points off my chest. I've had enough of it all! So what do we do about it?
Wow, Lance, that's an astonishing number! :shock:

I don't use a cellphone, since I'm rarely out of the house for more than 30 minutes. Teresa does, but she only gives her number to close friends and family. As well, her cellphone number is new and not linked to our landline number, as we thought it would be a mistake to do so.

We simply don't answer our landline unless the caller speaks into our answering machine. That way we avoid "spoofed" numbers.

Would you be able to change your cellphone number to a new one and limit your contacts? That might solve the problem. I realize that you're a public figure and that this might be difficult.

The other solution might be to just get another phone that you could give to close contacts and ignore your public number for a while. I know that there are applications that block robo-calls: I've seen them advertised on TV even, but I'm not familiar with how they work. Perhaps someone else can help with this idea.

jserraglio
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by jserraglio » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:17 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:05 pm
So what do we do about it?
https://primus.ca/index.php/bc_en/primu ... ting-guard

Consumer Reports wrote:PRIMUS TELEMARKETING GUARD https://www.consumerreports.org/consume ... -doing-it/
Primus is an independent Internet and phone provider for hundreds of thousands of folks in Canada. It’s also the company behind something called Telemarketing Guard, which Primus Canada has made available to its customers for free since 2007.

The Guard is a filter that aims to head off blacklisted numbers so that they never ring on your end. If a number has been identified by some users as a robocaller, but the verdict is still out, the number is greylisted, which has two facets. First, the caller is asked to press a number and say their name before the call is put through. If that happens, then the recording of the caller’s name is played for the recipient, who then can decide to answer the call, block the number, or have it go to voicemail.

Primus says the Guard has not just cut down on annoying calls to consumers who use it, but that offering the service has made good business sense for the company because nearly 9-in-10 Primus Canada customers have cited the Guard as the main reason to retain their service.

Lance
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Lance » Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:19 pm

It's not the cellphone that's the problem, it is the land line. I get very few ROBO calls on the cellphone. My land line phone allows me to block up to 150 numbers total, then I delete and start from the beginning. What amazes me is that the larger percentage of these calls are from the local area code using someone else's phone numbers. I would think the government would have something to say about that as it seems illegal to show as someone you aren't. These calls have been an annoyance for well over two years now and it isn't getting any better. And if the phone rings and I don't recognize the number, I immediately block it.
maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:09 pm

Wow, Lance, that's an astonishing number! :shock:

I don't use a cellphone, since I'm rarely out of the house for more than 30 minutes. Teresa does, but she only gives her number to close friends and family. As well, her cellphone number is new and not linked to our landline number, as we thought it would be a mistake to do so.

We simply don't answer our landline unless the caller speaks into our answering machine. That way we avoid "spoofed" numbers.

Would you be able to change your cellphone number to a new one and limit your contacts? That might solve the problem. I realize that you're a public figure and that this might be difficult.

The other solution might be to just get another phone that you could give to close contacts and ignore your public number for a while. I know that there are applications that block robo-calls: I've seen them advertised on TV even, but I'm not familiar with how they work. Perhaps someone else can help with this idea.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Ricordanza
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:00 am

Lance, I share your pain. Every day, we get calls on our landline from telemarketers, scams, etc. I don't pick up if I don't recognize the caller, but that doesn't solve the problem. On non-work days, I usually settle into a comfortable chair in the late afternoon and try to doze off for a while. Invariably, the phone will ring and wake me up.

My phone service (Verizon) allows me to block up to 300 numbers. Nevertheless, these callers find other numbers to call from. Many of them appear to be from a local exchange--it's called "spoofing" and it's an especially nasty tactic.

Oh well....there are worse problems in the world.

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:55 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:19 pm
It's not the cellphone that's the problem, it is the land line. I get very few ROBO calls on the cellphone. My land line phone allows me to block up to 150 numbers total, then I delete and start from the beginning. What amazes me is that the larger percentage of these calls are from the local area code using someone else's phone numbers. I would think the government would have something to say about that as it seems illegal to show as someone you aren't. These calls have been an annoyance for well over two years now and it isn't getting any better. And if the phone rings and I don't recognize the number, I immediately block it.
maestrob wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:09 pm

Wow, Lance, that's an astonishing number! :shock:

I don't use a cellphone, since I'm rarely out of the house for more than 30 minutes. Teresa does, but she only gives her number to close friends and family. As well, her cellphone number is new and not linked to our landline number, as we thought it would be a mistake to do so.

We simply don't answer our landline unless the caller speaks into our answering machine. That way we avoid "spoofed" numbers.

Would you be able to change your cellphone number to a new one and limit your contacts? That might solve the problem. I realize that you're a public figure and that this might be difficult.

The other solution might be to just get another phone that you could give to close contacts and ignore your public number for a while. I know that there are applications that block robo-calls: I've seen them advertised on TV even, but I'm not familiar with how they work. Perhaps someone else can help with this idea.
I see.

Wondering, is there any way you could find someone to hook up a physical answering machine in your home? I know it's old-fashioned, but aren't we all? :?

At any rate, that has solved the problem for us: we simply ignore callers that don't speak up. When we have to deal with a new doctor's office, like I just had to for my new lenses in my eyes, I just tell them to leave a message when they call.

BTW: I'm sure that you know about the Don Not Call Registry, where you can put in your phone number and block most robo-calls, right?

https://www.donotcall.gov/

I agree that what you're doing now seems immensely frustrating. Hope what jserraglio & I have posted helps. Please let us know. :wink:

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:58 am

Ricordanza wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:00 am
Lance, I share your pain. Every day, we get calls on our landline from telemarketers, scams, etc. I don't pick up if I don't recognize the caller, but that doesn't solve the problem. On non-work days, I usually settle into a comfortable chair in the late afternoon and try to doze off for a while. Invariably, the phone will ring and wake me up.

My phone service (Verizon) allows me to block up to 300 numbers. Nevertheless, these callers find other numbers to call from. Many of them appear to be from a local exchange--it's called "spoofing" and it's an especially nasty tactic.

Oh well....there are worse problems in the world.
Really? We have our landline hooked up to a fax machine that we can turn off, so the phone doesn't ring while we're sleeping. Then we can turn off the volume on our answering machine. Works like a charm. 8)

lennygoran
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by lennygoran » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:44 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:05 pm
It is tantamount to the number of commercials I see on TV channels such as National Geographic, Discover, etc. The same commercials played over and over so closely together. I had to get these two points off my chest. I've had enough of it all! So what do we do about it?
Lance even when I use my roku for youtube a few seconds up to a minute of ads come up-annoying-also I tape the CNN and MSNBC shows I watch and other shows like 60 minutes-then I use the remote for the DVR and wizz through all the junk! Regards, Len

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:38 pm

I don't have a landline any more. I have no objections to them, but four years ago the puppy chewed through the wires, and I found I never missed it. I still pay $5 a month for the privilege of having it though.

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:10 pm

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:38 pm
I don't have a landline any more. I have no objections to them, but four years ago the puppy chewed through the wires, and I found I never missed it. I still pay $5 a month for the privilege of having it though.
Goodness! I hope your puppy still has all his teeth!

Seriously though, we pay a bit over $110/mo. for our landline. How do you arrive at $5 for a monthly bill? Is that some sort of tax? We have all sorts of nickel and dime surcharges added to our phone bills here from various government entities that add up to about $25-$30 a month! (That's true for cellphone accounts as well, btw.) Just wondering.....

I know that Americans pay twice as much for internet, phone services, and cable TV (as well as healthcare) than other countries do, but $5 seems like a stupendous bargain!

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:38 pm

I have bundled all my phone/internet with one provider. I pay (from memory) $80 a month for unlimited cable internet, $5 a month for a landline (but overseas calls, if I made any, would be extra), and $30 a month each for my wife and myself for our mobile phones - unlimited calls and texts within Australia, but only 1 gig each of data. That hasn't mattered much because I work from home, and the data comes from our wifi (internet), but my wife regularly goes over the data allowance, costing us another $10 or $20 a month. I think our internet is slower than yours, though - around 50-55mbs download. Usually enough for me.

That's the long answer. No point in giving you the short one, though, after that. :D

Oh, and thanks for asking about the puppy. She's now four, and in excellent health.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Nov 29, 2020 8:04 pm

barney wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:38 pm
I have bundled all my phone/internet with one provider. I pay (from memory) $80 a month for unlimited cable internet, $5 a month for a landline (but overseas calls, if I made any, would be extra), and $30 a month each for my wife and myself for our mobile phones - unlimited calls and texts within Australia, but only 1 gig each of data. That hasn't mattered much because I work from home, and the data comes from our wifi (internet), but my wife regularly goes over the data allowance, costing us another $10 or $20 a month. I think our internet is slower than yours, though - around 50-55mbs download. Usually enough for me.

That's the long answer. No point in giving you the short one, though, after that. :D

Oh, and thanks for asking about the puppy. She's now four, and in excellent health.
I haven't had my landline connected for over 5 years now though like you Barney, I still pay for the privilege. At the end all I was getting was cold call salespeople.

With the prevalence of mobile phones a landline is virtually an anachronism so I was surprised when NBN included them automatically as part of their roll out. Telstra are pestering me to connect my NBN but until they can promise me the same speed as my cable I'm holding out.

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:49 am

That's fair enough, Holden, it seems entirely rational. For myself, I connected to NBN three or four years ago (whenever it was first rolled out in Melbourne). The price was a little better and the speed for me tripled, from an average of 17mbs to 55. That's on the internet speed test; of course things seldom download at that speed.

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:00 am

barney wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:49 am
That's fair enough, Holden, it seems entirely rational. For myself, I connected to NBN three or four years ago (whenever it was first rolled out in Melbourne). The price was a little better and the speed for me tripled, from an average of 17mbs to 55. That's on the internet speed test; of course things seldom download at that speed.
Holy cow, gents! You really are getting a bargain compared to us, aren't you? We pay $117 for our landline because it stays active even in case of a blackout that would stop an internet phone from working, plus we shell out $170 for a combination of cable TV and internet! Not to mention an extra $30/mo. for Teresa's cellphone with unlimited talk and text (She doesn't use the internet on her phone.).

Europe is also quite a bit cheaper than that.

We may be a "rich" country, but our costs are certainly much higher than the rest of the developed world, that's for sure.

For example, our government healthcare scheme (Medicare) require us to pay more than $1500/mo. (including a $250/mo. "premium" back to the government for Medicare coverage for both of us!) for supplemental insurance that pays for all that Medicare doesn't cover, and we still have to pay out of pocket for glasses, hearing aids and dental work. So far, we've shelled out $50,000 for our teeth alone since retiring just eight years ago. Long-term care, should we ever need it, would require us to spend down our life savings in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Healthcare in the USA is a racket, that's for sure. It's a complex, frustrating system with all kinds of traps built in that leave you broke in the end, or damn near it. Even with the advent of Obamacare, more than 500,000 people here declared bankruptcy last year in a good economy before the pandemic because of uncovered healthcare costs:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/11/this-is ... uptcy.html

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:00 pm

My private healthcare (top level hospital and rehab, no extras because I just don't think it's worth it) costs about $A350 ($US260) a month. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars over several decades, and never once claimed - but that is a cause for celebration rather than the reverse.
It seems you are paying at least six times as much.
PS, that's for my wife and me.

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:54 pm

barney wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:00 pm
My private healthcare (top level hospital and rehab, no extras because I just don't think it's worth it) costs about $A350 ($US260) a month. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars over several decades, and never once claimed - but that is a cause for celebration rather than the reverse.
It seems you are paying at least six times as much.
PS, that's for my wife and me.
Yep! That's how it should be here.

Unfortunately, the private healthcare system lobby really owns our government, lock, stock and barrel. So we citizens all pay through the nose, while hospitals are forced to close because, by law, they cannot turn away uninsured patients and must treat them and send an astronomical bill, which, of course is unaffordable and thus becomes discharged in bankruptcy.

The hospital that saved my life by removing my appendix in 1982, located in one of our wealthiest cities, just a block from where I live today, was forced to close a few years ago because of these policies. The buildings have now been converted into luxury condos.

It's a wreck, our system, and we citizens are paying for it in reduced life expectancy, the lowest among industrialized nations, and lower than many poorer countries now. :mrgreen:

BTW, I'm assuming that your payment includes long-term care and dental, right? Here in NYC, just to replace one (!) tooth with an implant costs $5,000 out-of-pocket!

Holden Fourth
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Holden Fourth » Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:05 pm

Our Medicare system, like yours, comes from our taxes and comes with some good perks. These include free doctors visits and hospital care though for the latter you go onto a waiting list which can be long. Private health cover significantly speeds up that process. My health cover includes a proportion of dental, eye care, physio etc so it’s not too bad. However, when I retire I will drop this cover as I will get extra privileges as a senior citizen.

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:08 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:05 pm
Our Medicare system, like yours, comes from our taxes and comes with some good perks. These include free doctors visits and hospital care though for the latter you go onto a waiting list which can be long. Private health cover significantly speeds up that process. My health cover includes a proportion of dental, eye care, physio etc so it’s not too bad. However, when I retire I will drop this cover as I will get extra privileges as a senior citizen.
The other advantage of private cover, besides accelerated treatment, is that you get your choice of doctor/specialist for operations etc. But if your problem is something like a heart attack, the experts say you are better off at one of the big public hospitals where they are very experienced in such problems. Also, you come home from public hospitals, usually, with no bills at all. With private cover, there's usually a gap between what the insurer pays and the medical team charges, and this can get quite large.

maestrob
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:55 am

barney wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:08 am
Holden Fourth wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:05 pm
Our Medicare system, like yours, comes from our taxes and comes with some good perks. These include free doctors visits and hospital care though for the latter you go onto a waiting list which can be long. Private health cover significantly speeds up that process. My health cover includes a proportion of dental, eye care, physio etc so it’s not too bad. However, when I retire I will drop this cover as I will get extra privileges as a senior citizen.
The other advantage of private cover, besides accelerated treatment, is that you get your choice of doctor/specialist for operations etc. But if your problem is something like a heart attack, the experts say you are better off at one of the big public hospitals where they are very experienced in such problems. Also, you come home from public hospitals, usually, with no bills at all. With private cover, there's usually a gap between what the insurer pays and the medical team charges, and this can get quite large.
Not as large as the gap is here in the U. S., I'll wager. Here, Medicare only covers 80% of allowed charges, leaving the rest for the patient to pay as best he/she can. We have purchased a supplemental plan for roughly $600/mo. for both of us to cover these charges, and we also pay about $150/mo. for a plan to assist (but not cover completely) in paying for medications. Long term care must be paid for privately as well, as Medicare only covers about 100 days/year in hospital. Dental, eyeglasses and hearing aids are not paid for at all by Medicare. We're completely on our own with those expenses.

Furthermore, our Federal government also offers Medicare Advantage plans, which are administered by private companies and, believe it or not, are subsidized by Congress in direct competition to Medicare. These plans do limit your options, as they feature only a limited list of doctors who participate in these plans (of which there are many). The cost to the consumer is quite a bit less than original Medicare in which nearly every doctor participates, but as a consumer you pay for the cheaper plans by having longer wait times and limited options to choose your doctor from only those in-network.

It's a horribly confusing and frankly misleading system, because many consumers don't understand that Medicare Advantage is not the same as true Medicare, and, once they sign up for it and discover its limitations, they are told that they cannot switch back to full Medicare. In addition, the private companies that administer Medicare Advantage plans often deny claims arbitrarily, just as they did when covering patients through insurance from a job! Government Medicare is much more sanely run. For example, my wife and I have had only one claim for a blood test denied since we retired, while when we were covered by her private insurance, claims were routinely disputed for no sensible reason.

As well, pre-existing conditions, which are mandated to be covered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) may be eliminated from coverage by our newly conservative Supreme Court if they strike down that law. This would leave insurance companies around the country free to deny coverage to a vast percentage of our citizens who have been treated for various forms of cancer, Covid-19 long-haulers, heart disease sufferers, and so on. We'll know when the Court makes its decision in the Spring of 2021 in the latest Republican challenge to the law.

So, our healthcare system is a mess, needlessly complicated, terribly inefficient and misleading to consumers, who often get ripped off for amazing amounts.

Yes, there is a waiting list problem with government run insurance in many countries, but I firmly believe that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are right that we should have Medicare for all in the USA. Your two-tiered system sounds quite remarkably efficient and most of all, affordable. Wish we had something sensible like that here.

Don't hold your breath! :wink:

barney
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by barney » Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:11 pm

No, Brian, you are right. Many Americans regard the Australian system as "socialised medicine" - a meaningless epithet, in my view. There's nothing Marxist about it, any more than there is about taxes generally.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Holden Fourth » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:53 pm

My understanding is that Britain’s NHS is even better than our Medicare. It was also one of thefactors in the Brits voting to leave the EU as they perceived that the system was being overrunby people from EU countries. Whether this was true or just campaign scare mongering I don’t know.

Holden Fourth
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Re: Have you noticed? ROBO calls!!!

Post by Holden Fourth » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:54 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:53 pm
My understanding is that Britain’s NHS is even better than our Medicare. It was also one of the factors in the Brits voting to leave the EU as they perceived that the system was being overrun by people from EU countries. Whether this was true or just campaign scare mongering I don’t know.

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