Scam calls are a fact of life. The Do Not Call registry has cut down on it some, but shady companies operating overseas don’t pay attention to this list. But with just a teensy bit of effort on your part, you can readily ignore scam phone calls. This requires a telephone with an address book and caller ID. And it’s dead simple. Here’s what you do:
- Create a new entry in your telephone’s address book named “Scam” (or whatever else you’d prefer).
- Optionally, if your address book supports pictures, give it a picture. I use the no symbol: my phone’s screen is big and bright, so it gives me a visual indicator that I can see across the room when my phone rings.
- Optionally, if your phone supports ring tones, give your Scam contact a silent ringtone. Here’s one for you in different formats and lengths.
- Whenever you get a scam call (for some reason, I’ve been getting a lot of the Windows malware calls lately1), add that phone number to your Scam entry in your address book.
- Whenever you see Scam on your phone, smile widely and don’t pick up the phone.
You could go a step further and assume that anyone who isn’t in your address book is probably a scam caller, or just someone who you don’t want to talk to. In that case, and if your phone supports it, you could set your default ringtone to silent (either its silent setting, or using a silent ringtone — I prefer the latter, since my phone vibrates when it’s in its silent mode), and then assign custom ringtones to those whose calls you want to ring.
I know that this doesn’t feel like it’s a big thing, but your Scam address book entry will get long over time. I’ve only been doing this for about four months, and I’ve already got 15 telephone numbers in there. I wrote this post because my phone just rang, and I looked up and saw that it was a scam, and smiled to myself in satisfaction that I didn’t have to interrupt what I was doing and get annoyed by someone trying to sell me carpet cleaning or Windows malware removal or whatever other method they’re trying to employ to part me from my money. I just checked my caller history, and Scam shows up in there many times over the past couple of weeks. All of those are calls that I haven’t answered and that haven’t wasted my time.
- Remind me to tell you about going along with one of these calls once. ↩