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Saturday, 26 February 2011

08080 600832

This number has been ringing my mobile phone all week: twice a day sometimes. Twice I picked up the call, but both times I just heard office noises for a few seconds before being cut off. A Google search reveals fellow sufferers enjoying a similar experience, with a few getting to speak to a tele-salesperson.

Presumably whoever's responsible is auto-dialling several numbers at once so that they always have someone to speak to on the other end. However, when you're dialling mobile phones (or even a lot of non-mobiles), the recipient phone displays the incoming call's number. As it happens, I've added the number to my contacts under the name 'Spam' and I now refuse the calls. However, if I was prepared to answer the phone again and again until I finally spoke to a human being, I would by then be so hacked off by their cavalier approach that their chance of selling me anything would be zero.

And yet they keep doing this, so it must produce a return. I can only assume that there are people who will always answer the phone, no matter how obvious it should be that it's a waste of time. And maybe these are the same people who don't instinctively type the number into a search engine to see what comes up. Also this week, I got forwarded a hoax virus warning e-mail. The friend who forwarded it to me (and also to all the rest of their friends and acquaintances) suggested it might be a fake, but 'better safe than sorry'. It would have taken them ten seconds in Google to find out that it was a hoax dating back at least two years. Instead they propagated it to dozens more people, who all now have my e-mail address in their mail clients, as the BCC facility is also grossly under-utilised.

My son starts at secondary school in September, and I was pleased to note that the ICT course starts by teaching the children how to be safe on the internet. I sincerely hope that this includes a few common sense practices that will make the job of hoaxers and spammers a whole lot harder.

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