The Robocall Equivalent Of Unsubscribe

Hey there!

Any idea how many robocalls we get each month? Here in the US, it’s 5 billion a month, all told. Some people place their phone numbers on the national Do Not Call list, at Most of the bad guys ignore that list, but it helps a little.

And many of us, in an attempt to stop the madness, wait for the instructions in the call as to what button to push to remove ourselves from the call center’s lists.

Big mistake.

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and I probably have a good idea how many
times a day you look at your phone and
you say what’s that number I mean it
looks like it’s in my neighborhood but I
don’t know well let me just fight let me
hold on what’s it and it’s a robo call
right or a number that like is coming
from Wyoming somewhere or even has odd
numbers of digits it turns out that
according to the FCC
we receive over five billion robo calls
a month and its projected to get worse
unless something’s done about it and I
wanted to talk to you about that today
because we’ve been through this once
before we’ve been through this with spam
we know how spammers operate and it
turns out that Robo callers are taking a
page from blackhat spammer and I all
spammers are to a degree blackhat but I
mean the really egregious ones they’re
taking a page from their playbook so I
wanted to share with you some advice
that I learned from reading a couple of
articles and also talking to a
representative from the FTC the FTC and
the FCC both share sort of overview over
this problem because the FCC handles the
technical standards and the legal
requirements of the the phone system and
the FTC the Federal Trade Commission as
opposed to the Federal Communications
Commission the Federal Trade
Commission’s here this all in the United
States and a lot of this stuff comes
from overseas so but the FTC is in
charge of consumer protection so they
are working together
oddly enough what to government agencies
actually working together yeah so
remember when we all started getting
spam and there were these unsubscribe
buttons and we would unsubscribe from
the spam unsubscribe from the spam I’m
using air quotes and then we found out
oddly enough that did nothing it
actually made things worse because when
you clicked on that unsubscribe button
that would tell the spammer that you
were alive human being and that you
actually were getting the emails and so
they would send you more spam so think
about what happens when you get a
robocall either from a live person or
from like there’s there’s a there’s a
overseas concern that represents
themselves as US pharmacy they’re live
callers live people in a boiler room
somewhere in in a foreign country and
you know I’ve asked them a million times
like literally a hundred 150 times
they’ve called since the beginning of
the year so that means like several
times a day and occasionally I’ll pick
up the phone and I’ll and and they’ll be
this pause and you’ll hear the
boiler-room in the background they’re
waiting for you to talk or to see if
you’re a recorded message and before
they even get a chance to say anything
I’ll say is this us pharmacy yes great
could you take me off your list and then
I’ll hang up because I know they won’t
they won’t they don’t have to they’re
outside the bounds of our country but
for robocallers that operate within the
united states they give you sometimes
the opportunity to press one button to
be connected with an operator to talk
about you know getting your credit card
and interest down or getting erectile
dysfunction pills or whatever they’re
selling you and another button if you
wait long enough usually through the
entire message you know press the two
key to be placed on our Do Not Call list
and you think oh great and you press the
two key yeah so about that it doesn’t
put you on their Do Not Call list
because most of the people operating
robocall most of the organizations
operating robocall ventures pay no
attention to what you tell them even
though they’re supposed to it’s federal
law and if you go to a website called do
not call dot gov you can place both your
landline if you still have one
and certainly your mobile phone on the
National do-not-call list which all you
know marketing firms are supposed to
respect in terms of not calling the
numbers on that list do we think they do
know most of them ignore it completely
so you can do it and the people that do
abide by the laws you won’t hear from
them but it’s always the people that
don’t abide by the law that make these
controls useless right so but I would
again let me just summarize by saying I
would not press that button because that
in turn tells them you’re a live person
and they’ll call back again if they’re
however there is technology on the way
both from the FTC and the FCC and it’s
it’s kind of interesting it’s called
stir / shake it and for those of you
that are James Bond fans you know that’s
what they’re that’s what they’re
wrapping that acronym around and it’s a
set of technologies that does two things
number one it helps to confirm that the
number that shows up on your screen
isn’t being spoofed as another number
it’s actually the number of the party
that’s calling and also creating a list
of known Robo call spammers that you can
subscribe to and prevent those calls
from coming to your phone in the first
place so it’s both a carrot and a stick
approach and it’s supposed to be rolled
out in the next couple of years we’ll
see what happens the FTC and the FCC you
very excited about it
and so is so are the carriers the
problem is the carriers are all
disparate they all have to work together
if it was just old Ma Bell you know the
old Bell system they could flip a switch
and take care of this right but because
it’s all these different companies that
have to cooperate and there’s law
involved there’s federal regulations
involved so my advice to you is number
one if you don’t recognize the number
resist the urge to answer the phone
and number two don’t respond to their
offer of removing you from their list by
pressing a particular key on your phone
because chances are it won’t work it’ll
just make things worse so have any
horror stories you’d like to share with
me in terms of getting Robo called on an
excessive level I sometimes like to have
fun with maybe I’ll do another video on
what I do sometimes when I have the time
when somebody calls but I wonder what
you do about robo calls and if there is
frustrating to you as they are to me go
ahead and let me know in the comments
below I’d really appreciate it if you’d
like to join my channel it’s not a
robocall channel but on youtube to be
notified when these videos come out
we’re doing one a day for the next 365
days or the the 3 or 65 days in in this
year I’ve got a head for you to click on
go ahead and click on if there’s no head
there there’s a subscribe button that
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I’ve done there’s a frame there you I
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click on it and it’ll play the latest
video for you I’m David H Lawrence the
17th I sure hope you’re having fun with
these videos I am and I thank you for
watching and I’ll talk to you tomorrow



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  1. David, why doesn’t the sit tone work? I haven’t had a reduction since adding it before my message.

    Second, I can’t make Verizon reduce the number of rings on my phone. I asked them to reduce the rings to one or two, max, but they won’t or can’t.

    Third, to stop the ringing, I often send a message that says, “Leave me a message.” Does that tell them I’m there?

    And fourth, why do they make these calls? Who buys from a spammer?

    Please answer for us. And thanks for your vigilance and the wonderful way you get info on these things! 🙂

    1. 1. It does work. You’d have more calls without it. 2. Sorry you can’t get them to help you. 3. Yes. 4. Enough people fall for their pitches to make all the extra effort worth it to them, or they’d stop.

  2. always wonder if when I don’t answer and it goes to my voice mail, is that another way they know I’m a live person???

  3. For my landline, I look at the caller ID before I pick up. If I don’t recognize the #, the caller gets the following voice message (done in my best DHL17 trained manner): “Hi. You’ve reached XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you’re a friend or a business associate of ours, please leave a message. If you’re NOT a friend or business associate, please hang up. We’re screening the calls.” For my android phone, if I don’t recognize the #, I let it go to voice mail. If the caller doesn’t leave a message, I have my phone block it.

    My wife’s flip phone is a bit more problematic. There is no blocking software she can install, and she sometimes gets a dozen calls a day, and sometimes it’ll be the same # three or four times in that day. It got to the point that she started writing down the dates and the times of each unwanted call she received, in case she found someone to report the numbers to. Well, on the Do Not Call link that David provided in the text above today’s video, you can click on the option “Report Unwanted Calls”. It’s very easy to do. My wife put in 10 days worth of calls earlier this week. Things have started to slow down on her phone. Give it a shot if nothing else works.

  4. I’ve started using an app called RoboKiller. It uses a database of suspected robocal numbers to block unwanted calls. You can even opt to play a recording for the scammers that they think is you talking but just wastes THEIR time. My favorite is when the forensics team answers their call. Turns out the scammers have called an active crime scene. How do you know the deceased? Funny stuff.

    1. LOL! My husband just downloaded this app on his phone and it’s HILARIOUS! So many creative ways to waste their time. Distraught mother with crying baby, putting them on perpetual hold, you’re our next caller on a radio show, you won a cruise on radio show, bad connection, bad cold. The list goes on and on. Very funny!

  5. Among other things, I use ADBLOCK on my computers and IPhones, and NoMoRobo on both the landline and the iPhones. Works pretty well, with NoMoRobo I can manually add any numbers it misses. I have resigned myself to the fact that these are nessesary tools today, along with LifeLock, to guard your privacy and equity.

    1. Jon, the ad block programs I use are noticed by sites, and they block the content I want to see until I stop blocking the ads. It would be great to have a way to stop the ads that they don’t know about. But didn’t David just do a piece on how those ads are why content is “free”?

  6. Fabulous topic! I sometimes answer the calls as Coral Springs Mortuary or North Wales Mortuary how would you like to make your donation. They hang up very quickly. I just started doing this especially on my landline. We will see if it works.

  7. I get calls from US Pharmacy every day. I have for about 6 years. What I like to do when I have time is take their call and say yes to everything and when it’s time to pay I tell them to hold on while I get my credit card, mute the phone and go on with my life (such as it is). Sometimes I make up random credit card numbers or ask if they can take a check. When they call back I do it again. After a while, they call, recognize my voice and hang up, or perhaps someone has put a note in my file. I’m fairly easy to amuse.
    Like a previous commenter, I’ve installed RoboKiller with mixed results. A few calls slip through. Oddly 2 of my actual paying clients are blocked and there seems no way to unblock them. Of course, it’s hard to tell most of the time.

  8. Such a great topic! I usually don’t answer anymore, but sometimes I will feel playful and mess with them a bit until they hang up. Other times, I may answer and be silent until it hangs up. Now, I also have AT&T Call Protect which has helped some (it’s a free app for AT&T customers).
    I’d love to hear what you do when you do answer!

  9. For the last couple of years my policy has been if I don’t recognize the number I let the call go to voicemail where they get a message saying “due to the number of robocalls unrecognized numbers will not be answered, however if you leave a message the phone system will notify me and I’ll get back to you.” Only time I get a message it’s someone jabbering in Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese.

  10. I get calls just about every day, sometimes more than once. Sometimes they leave no message, sometimes they do. If I answer, they know I’m a real person. If they get my voicemail, they know I’m a real person. It’s an inconvenience for sure. So disheartening that people actually do such a thing in the first place.

  11. I never answer and unknown number. If they don’t leave a message, or they leave a robocall message, I block them. It seems to have lessened the stream…

  12. I am an Android user and have an app called HiYa that blocks a lot of these. It’s based on users reporting numbers so a few get through. Better than nothing!!