The rotary dial no longer exists. Today’s high-speed auto-dialers have enabled a new industry of scammers.

BAYBORO – The phone number is local, and appears to be legit. I answer my cell phone like I always do: “This is Jeff,” which apparently triggers a recording. The guy sounds official. No foreign accent. Then, his serious tone immediately begins. 

He is with the Social Security Administration (or so he claims) and he says, in no uncertain terms: “Your Social Security Number has been suspended for suspicious activity. Stay on the line and Press 1 for more information.”

No greeting. No beating around the bush with this guy. He wants to rip me off just as fast as possible. At least he could inquire if I am having a nice day! Three or four times over the past week this has happened. I denote the number in my cell phone as one that should always be rejected.  And, I lament to myself “Aren’t automatic calling systems wonderful?” 

This was not feasible way back when during the era of rotary dial phones! But I have a way of defeating today’s new finical technology. From now on, my rule of thumb is this: I am hanging up immediately when any recording comes on. 

My apologies to entirely legitimate auto-dialers like utilities or auto insurance companies.  Usually, some type of bill is overdue. Back in October, when Sen. Thom Tillis called, he wanted my vote. I guess the schools automatically call parents if some freak storm looms. Physicians have been calling me recently about how they plan to administer vaccines. 

All of those automatic calls are important. But, I am on a mission. Hey, all of you would-be scammers out there. Mark my words! From here on out, I am hanging up within the first five seconds. I assure you that I will sleep better at night. 

(Unless the lights get cut off!)