Last week I’m sitting in a meeting, a focus group, dealing with some of the problems with policing in our community when all of a sudden my cell phone goes off. Now, normally I turn it off during meetings and lectures, but I was waiting for a call from one my colleagues who was up at SFU gathering information on criminal data for the area we are involved in, so I had to have the phone on. I set it to vibrate so I would not disturb anyone else. That was when I noticed I had several calls coming in?
The phone went off. I answered it, a pre-recorded voice starts chiming about asking me that I should switch my insurance policy because mine was coming up, and they had a better package. I could not believe this…. I pressed the kill button. I had never received any phone calles like this before ever on my cell phone.
Ten minutes later the phone goes off again, though this time a real human voice is asking me if I would be interested in answering a few question about a new store that is opening up in my area. I pressed the kill button again.
At the end of the meeting, the phone still on, it rings. I answer it. I hear a couple of beeps and then another pre-recorded voice started asking me to press numbers on my key pad if I want to take part in a survey. Kill Button!
I’m shocked. Why all of a sudden is this happening to me on my cell phone? Then it hit me, I gave that number out to my insurance company when I did my auto insurance. Normally I guard this number to prevent things like this from happening. A few years ago I had a number through a company called Fido, and I went through hell getting my number taken off the “List.” The difficulty was, I was on a contract, they would not help me because they took no responsibility for all the calls I was getting because of it. I got the strong impression that they encouraged this—perhaps they made (lots of) money from it? Anyway, I promised myself that never again will I submit to a contract with any telecommunication company. I dropped them like a bad habit. But why now, on this phone?
Yesterday I contacted my insurance company and asked them if they sell their clients information to telemarketing companies. The person on the other end said that they do not. Then I told her that since I gave them my information, that was when my troubles started. She assured me that they do not do this. Hummmm….
Sadly, my number is marked. I leave the ringer permanently off now, and I switched off my voice mail. I decided to keep my number and move my contacts over to VOIP. I have a program that will screen out any telemarketing company’s attempt by setting up a authentication prompt through my Intranet phone. What a joke!