Caller-ID: The Video Rental Store of Telecom?

by Cindy5/16/2016 12:35:00 PM

Caller-ID: The Video Rental Store of Telecom? By Scott RiceEvery industry goes through cycles of cre [More]

How To Say You Trust In 3 Little Numbers

by Scott Rice4/4/2014 4:35:00 PM

I have an admittedly peculiar habit when I receive phone calls.  Since we're in business I keep a very large North American area code map on my wall.    When I receive a call from a number I don’t recognize I look up quickly at the numeric index on the bottom of the map and see if the area code is valid.    You’d be surprised how much of the time it isn’t. Just now I received a call from the 882 area code.   The caller said they were from the Oregon Department of Something or Other and since my office is in Oregon I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and hear what they had to say.   But in many cases I would just hang up.   Frankly, I probably should have hung up on this call too. Why?  Well, simply put, the area code 882 doesn’t exist.   So you, being the optimist and always assuming the best in human nature (clearly you don’t answer your own phone much) assume that it’s probably an International Dialing Code… you know… like that mysterious “1” we’re supposed to use when we call long distance, or the “44” we use when we call the UK?    Nope.   There aren’t any international dialing codes that begin with 88 or even with 882.    We know.   We don’t like to brag, but we’re the experts, remember?   (Ok, maybe we like to brag a little.) So why did this number show up on my phone?   There are only two reasons I can think of: 1.         1. They don’t want you to know who they really are but don’t mean any real harm, or  2.         2. They don’t want you to know who they really are because they do mean harm. My suspicious nature usually opts for the latter.   This isn’t an unreasonable conclusion to jump to.   The US Congress was so concerned about misuse of caller-ids to commit fraud they outlawed it.   I suspect the people who call me at least monthly, purport to be from Microsoft and tell me that my Windows system has been reporting an error to them probably don’t care about the new regulations.   I say this because they clearly don’t care that I don’t have a Windows system at home.   Nope.  Not a one.   I can tell I’m getting jaded when I start finding attempts at fraud more ridiculous than troublesome.    What?  You’re still optimistic?   Surely, you say to yourself, it could be a real call and Microsoft just has old information?   While I admit there is a small chance this might be true it gets smaller every time they call and I tell them I don’t have Windows and they immediately hang up.  Sometimes I have fun with them and egg them along a bit to see how far they’ll go.   Sometimes, if my blood sugar is a bit low and I’m cranky, I remind them the call is fraud and ask them to stop calling my number.   Another thing regulations allow me to do but to no avail. So where… you may ask, is this little rant going?   It’s going back to trust.   Those 3 little numbers on my phone, the calling party’s area code tell me if I can trust them.  Maybe it’s not fool proof, but it’s a pretty good indication that A) I don’t know them and B) they don’t want me to.   So why should I trust them and pick up the phone if they can’t even honestly identify who they are? When legitimate callers phone me I often see either their phone number or, better yet their name.   It’s nice to know if the Red Cross is calling or one of the other charities I support is asking for more help.   One thing for sure, if their little 3 numbers (or 2 in some cases internationally) don’t show up on my map, I’m not buying whatever they’re selling. Don’t have a map on your wall?   Next week we’ll be launching a new global version of our popular Line Identification Service as well.  You may want to check it out.  As soon as we plug this into our own internal phone system I'll be able to at least tell what part of the world these calls are coming from and maybe be able to take down the map.

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