“They are an abomination and should be outlawed!” Mama shouted into the phone.
I agreed with her.
We have this conversation a couple of times a week.
It usually starts with Mama calling or texting to ask me to Google a number.
When I do, 10 times out of 10, it is a telemarketer.
My normally genteel mother will become outraged, and honestly, I don’t blame her.
She is bombarded by the calls every day.
We all are.
But Mama is from that generation where if someone called you, it was important.
Certain phone protocols were followed.
One didn’t call before an acceptable time of the day, calls weren’t made during mealtimes, and if someone called after 9 p.m., there was an emergency.
Now, her phone starts blowing up practically from sun up to sun down and beyond.
And usually, it is a telemarketer or a robocall of some sort.
“They said they were with some police benevolence society,” Mama began one day.
“Are you sure?”
“Mama,” I said. “I am looking at the number online and there are 37 reports of this being a fraudulent number.”
“OK,” she says defeated.
What’s so maddening is that all her numbers are registered on the Do Not Call registry.
I almost think that sent her ding dang digits out there for the scammers and spammers.
“What good is being on that cussed list if they still
call?” Mama asked one day.
It was a valid question, and I didn’t have an answer for it.
“Do you tell them you are on the Do Not Call list?” I asked.
She was silent.
“I forget. I get so frazzled when they call and tell
me something and it upsets me so badly, I totally forget.”
“Mama, listen to me. You need to tell them you are on the Do Not Call list and they need to remove you from their list,” I said. “Tell them that. And tell them if they call you one more biscuit munching time, you are going to report them, and they will be penalized around ten grand.”
“I believe so; there are fines and penalties if they violate the Do Not Call list.”
“Wow! Would I get that money?” she asked.
“I’m not sure who gets it, but you should.”
I should too, because every time she gets a call, I have to get involved.
“You know you can block numbers on your phone, right?” I informed her one day.
She wasn’t aware of this but called her phone company to find out more about it.
I even had the phone company put a spam blocker on my phone and told her to do it, too.
Even her cell phone gets calls too. It used to be cell phones were private and sacred – only the special, select people had those numbers.
“Mama, only a handful of people have that number – and
it’s family. If the number isn’t in your contacts, don’t worry about answering
“What if it is important and someone’s phone was messed up and they needed to get in touch with me and used another person’s phone?”
This woman is the original worrywart and can think of every possible scenario known to man that could happen but never will.
“Mama, people don’t remember numbers anymore because they have everything in their phone. And if it is truly important, they’ll text.”
She didn’t believe this.
I get calls, too, but I do have the immediate power of Google to check the number to see they are a spam caller.
And, I am sure not answering helps, as even the most persistent telemarketer will move on to the next victim.
The calls irritate me, but they throw Mama into a panic.
“This man called me and said he was with Micro-something – do you know what he’s talking about?” she said one day all in a tizzy.
“Microsoft?” I asked.
“Yes!” she exclaimed. “He said my computer had a virus on it.”
“Mama, let’s think about this for a moment. Do you have a computer?”
“No, but you do.”
“Mama,” I began. “I know I do. But do you?”
“You know I don’t,” she said irritated.
“Then why would you get upset about this obvious spam call?”
“Because you have a computer – and maybe he was trying to get in touch with you and couldn’t because you won’t answer your phone, so he called me.”
“How would he know you were related to me?”
She sighed. “Because you are my daughter and your number is in my little phone.”
Her little phone is her cell phone and you’d think that flip phone held the key to the universe.
“Mama, it’s a scam. They assumed you have a computer because most people do.”
She still wasn’t sure.
The latest was a call from the Social Security office.
“Mama,” I sighed.
“You just think I am a stupid old lady, don’t you?” she asked.
“No, I don’t. But I do wish you would just stop answering your phone,” I said. “Trust me and believe me when I tell you this – the Social Security office is not going to call you. They will send you a letter.”
But this nonsense infuriates me to no end.
Not that Mama calls me about it, but that these scammers are trying to rip off the elderly and use some pretty aggressive tactics to do it.
Even more frustrating is the fact that she shouldn’t get phone calls to begin with.
These telemarketers and robocallers really do need to be shut down.
Mama was right about yet another thing, they were a great abomination for real.