robocall, scammer, autodialer, businessmanlego

Anger at robocalls is a thing.

An anonymous Twitter user with the handle BusinessmanLego is getting a lot of love for pointing out a sad fact of American life: The phone call has been nearly killed by scammers.

We can all remember a time when getting a phone call from a number you didn't know would be exciting. A long-lost friend could be getting in touch. It could be a new opportunity. You may have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

But now, a call from an unknown number is most likely from a scammer or an autodialer. They're distracting, annoying and feel like harassment. The fact that they've become so common seems like another example of how so many of our institutions have stopped working in the best interests of the public and have kowtowed to special interests.



A lot of people feel that robocalls have basically ruined the concept of the phone call.




Our leaders have failed.


Nobody wants to pick up the phone anymore.




People never used to ignore phone calls.



It seems like we've all sacrificed a great mode of communication and our sanity for a few opportunists to make a buck.



It's not just calls.



OK, now this was funny.

Now, here's a solution: We could charge people for unsolicited calls.

America has been plagued by robocalls over the past few years. The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission identified them as the No. 1 complaint in 2020 and Americans are on track to receive 48 billion this year.

How does this happen?

Robocalls usually begin abroad in counties such as India, the Philippines and Mexico. Scammers route their calls to smaller U.S.-based telecom carriers who are happy to pocket their fees. The calls are then funneled to the largest carriers who send them directly to your phone.

In 2019, Congress passed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (or TRACED) Act but the shadowy audio-dialing industry has been able to keep ahead of the law. Fortune says that blame can also be placed on big businesses for their "tacit support for robocalling" and federal agencies whose "foot-dragging" has allowed scammers to get off scot-free.



What can you do to stop auto-dialers?

1. Talk to your phone company. Most major telecom companies have call-blocking tools that can help shut down scammers on their end.

2. Register your number on the Do Not Call Registry. This won't stop illegal scammers but it will save you from hearing from bothersome legitimate telemarketers.

3. Block spam calls from your smartphone:

iPhone—iOS 13 has an app called Silence Unknown Callers, which blocks any callers that aren't in your contact list, you haven't been in contact with or haven't texted, and sends them straight to voicemail. Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers

Android—To turn on Block Calls From Unidentified Callers, tap the phone icon on the bottom of your screen. Tap the three dots on the top right of the screen, then: Settings > Blocked Numbers. Enable Block Calls From Unidentified Callers by tapping the toggle switch on the right.

Google Pixel—When you receive a call from any number, tap Screen Call on your home screen and Google Assistant will answer it for you. If the caller responds, you'll receive a transcript of their response.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

This article originally appeared on 04.13.18


Teens have a knack for coming up with clever ways to rage against the system.

When I was in high school, the most notorious urban legend whispered about in hallways and at parties went like this: A teacher told his class that they were allowed to put "anything" on a notecard to assist them during a science test. Supposedly, one of his students arrived on test day with a grown adult at his side — a college chemistry major, who proceeded to stand on the notecard and give him answers. The teacher was apparently so impressed by the student's cunning that he gave him a high score, then canceled class for the rest of the week because he was in such a good mood.

Of course, I didn't know anyone who'd ever actually try such a thing. Why ruin a good story with reality — that pulling this kind of trick would probably earn you detention?

Keep Reading Show less