Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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San Diego Residents Bemoan the Scourge of Spam Calls Proliferating on Cell Phones


A woman receives a call on her cell phone. Photo via Pixabay

If you’ve dared to answer a phone call lately from an unfamiliar number, you‘ve probably learned that your car warranty is about to expire, you’re in trouble with the IRS and you could save a ton of money on your health insurance. It’s the scourge of the robocalls, which are no longer reserved for the dwindling number of people who still have landlines.

A February 2021 survey from the Insider financial news site found that “46% of Americans reported receiving spam phone calls on their cell phone every day, with another 24% receiving them multiple times per week.”

Adding to the collective pain of Americans is a decision in April by the U.S. Supreme Court involving the use of auto dialers. Those are the gadgets that can call millions and millions of phone users. The court ruled auto dialers using numbers from a stored database are exempt from robocall regulations. The law related to the robocall industry applies only to calls made to your phone by chance — by random dialing. Critics of the decision see it as opening Pandora’s box for telemarketers.

Mike, the barista at the Dark Horse Coffee shop in Golden Hill, says the shop gets three or four robocalls a day and “and usually three texts a day as well.” He noted “a number of increasing texts and calls in the past three months.”

This reporter received a telemarketing call from a place called Medicare Rewards using a Montebello, CA, phone number. That’s just one of the more than 58 billion such calls made annually, according to a congressional filing.

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