The end of spam calls? There goes my fun!

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Yes, robocalls are annoying – especially when they arrive in the early evening hours (after you get home and finally have a chance to relax after a long day at work) and even on the weekend.

But to old folks like myself who like to have a bit of free entertainment, they do allow the opportunity to blow off a little steam.

Being a “news guy”, I considered myself an informed individual about many different topics. Therefore, when I know the caller on the other end of the line isn’t who they claim to be, I like to have some fun.

Case-in-point was Friday evening of last week. I had just finished up Saturday’s edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and was in my office trying to catch up on some emails sent earlier in the day, to include one from my boss of an item I forgot to do earlier in the week.

My cell phone rang….it was an “877” (toll-free) number, so I knew it was some sort of sales pitch.

They asked to speak to Calvin Bryant, so they knew who they were seeking. The woman, in a pleasant voice, said she was with DirecTV and offered me three free months of movie channels. I forgot what exact channels she offered, but I didn’t want them anyway….all the movies are outdated.

All I had to do was to approve this offer and give her my DirecTV account information.

Well, I was born during the day, but it sure as heck wasn’t yesterday.

That’s when the fun began.

I told the lady that if she had my name and my cell number, then she should have access to my DirecTV account info. That was followed by a short pause on her end, and then she pitched the promotion once again.

I immediately informed her that as a long-time DirecTV customer, anytime they offer free movie channels they simply arrive on my end, without a phone call.

Another short pause ensued….she pitched the offer once again. I told her that AT&T had taken over DirecTV last year, and I just received new account info (via email) from AT&T.

Pause….and again comes the offer. I hung up and then called the real DirecTV. A man told me they were NOT currently offering a free, three-month package of movie channels.

It makes me wonder how many folks fell for this scam. And once they gave up their account information, what type of consequences will that carry in the future?

With estimations as high as 5 billion robocalls placed each month across the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to give wireless phone carriers permission to block unwanted robocalls for their customers. By default, this move would allow these carriers to use technology capable of identifying and blocking these unwanted and annoying calls. It’s kind’a like how your email is scanned for spam messages.

What’s not known at this time is if these carriers will charge for providing this service.

I can only speak for myself, but I’m already paying multiple surcharges and user fees on my monthly cell phone bill. If my carrier wants to tack on a buck or two per month to block these types of calls, count me in! But there goes my fun!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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