Robo-calls: A Nuisance and a Scam


Francis Klingenberg

Please do not stop reading, this article has information that pertains to you.

If you just scoffed at the above line, you’re one of many students and employees here at Bucks. Often when you answer a phone, you’ll hear a robotic voice immediately say, “Please do not hang up.”

Robo-calling is when a computerized auto dialer delivers a pre-recorded message to your phone. They are usually telemarketing or political campaigns but can also be used for emergency announcements as well.

An article on states that there were nearly 31 billion robo-calls placed just in 2017.

A New York Times article about Robocalling has noted a startling increase of these deceptive calls. Many states have started to warn consumers about them, because most of the time they are scams.

Barbara Underwood, current New York attorney general, and 33 other attorney generals have formed a coalition to request the FCC act against these robotic calls.

She says, “Unwanted robocalls aren’t just a nuisance – they’re a means for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting New Yorkers.”

This isn’t just localized in New York. Students and employees at Bucks have noticed more robotic telemarketers in their caller ID logs.

Student Josh Bittner from Lower Southampton says that he gets a ton of robo-calls, mostly about political campaigns. “Honestly, I prefer them because you can just hang up on them.”

“You can’t really hang up on a person without feeling bad,” he admitted.

Brendan Jordan from Langhorne thinks these calls are a huge waste of time.

“Most of the time, they come up as scam calls on my caller ID,” he notes. The New York Times article agrees with him, explaining that these calls often use deceptive measures.

The article from also mentions that “the technology exists that allows criminals to make unlimited calls – virtually for free.” These criminals only need a few people to fall for their scam, and these calls to the North American continent are an easy way to get those few people.

Jordan thought for a minute, and mentioned, “Honestly, I’m not sure how many people even listen to these (calls), they are not persuasive at all.”

Isabelle Geng from Southampton agrees that they are scams, saying that they are an annoying inconvenience.

“I only get a few calls, mostly about politics,” she says. She did observe a general increase of these automated calls as of late.

Reference Librarian Linda McCann took the time to explain how many calls she receives.

“I get about 1-2 per day on my cellphone, while my land-line receives 3-4.” She mentioned that many of these calls are political.

Student Greg Munder from Levittown wasn’t really sure how many calls he received, but he said that a lot of it was spam.

He wants the government to stop them, “It’s honestly really annoying.”

When asked how the government should counter these robotic messages, he confessed, “ I don’t know how to stop them, they’re just too prevalent.”

Nick Georgio, also from Levittown, says” They are bad, it’s not a good thing.” He called these robo-calls really spammy.

“I will ignore a call on my phone if I don’t recognize the number or have it saved.”

He pulled out his phone and showed an outstanding amount of calls in the past few days. He mentioned that he received at least 5 daily.

As a result of robo-callers and telemarketers, there is a growing need to weed out these robotic callers.

Previously, the National Do Not Call Registry was an option to stop these robotic callers. All you had to do was put in your phone number and some basic contact information and you were set.

This registry also had the bonus of a lawsuit if you were called, often netting you hundreds of dollars if a telemarketer did end up calling you.

Nowadays, that registry barely works. Many professors and students have complained that they still receive these calls even though they are on the Do-Not-Call list.

Some wireless carriers offer free robo-call blocking. Some of these carriers are T-Mobile and AT&T, the latter offering an app called “Call Protect.”

“Call Protect” matches the number in a database that collects potential robo-callers.

Some services that require money to work are from Verizon and a service called “Robo Killer.” Both services cost $2.99 each.

If you’re tight on money and require a low-technology solution. Just do what most students do and don’t answer the number if you don’t recognize it.

Usually, if it is a robo-caller, they won’t leave a voice-mail. Most people tend to leave a voice-mail if they need to contact you.

Robo-calling is a tool used by people to get their message out to people with the lowest possible cost, and it is often abused by criminals to capture the unknowing and unsuspecting and steal their information and money.

States and localities are petitioning the Federal Government to do something about it, as it is an issue that is quickly growing in severity.

When somebody calls you on your mobile phone or land-line, make sure it is a number that you are able to recognize. Otherwise, let it roll over to voice-mail.

Be phone smart, and don’t fall for the common scams criminals use to steal your identity and information.