They all say the same thing: Don’t answer if you don’t recognize the number; register your number with the “Do Not Call List”; get another app to block out the troublemakers. Blah, blah, blah. Much like the tiresome and mundane job search “advice” on the internet, everybody says the same shit over and over. Shut up already.
I am in a generous mood today. I feel like helping out my fellow man to advise what you can do to truly stop, or at least deter, the robocalls that have become the recent plague for cell phones. For real. But first, a backstory:
I had an iPhone from first generation up until the 4G. The Windows mobile platform was out by then, and I wanted a change. I was tired of Apple’s deceptive means to generate more revenue every time a new model came out, specifically, their charging ports. The Windows mobile platform was only available on a couple of models, but they all use a standard USB cable. I fell in love with that little feature alone, so I went from Apple to Microsoft. I know. Big change. I live to tell the tale.
I was elated with my phone. It had a gorgeous interface. The only quirk I had was that there wasn’t a plentiful selection from their App Store. The wildly popular apps that were available for IOS and Android were not to be found for Windows. If anything, there would be a questionable and cheap imitation of it. I’ve lived my life without apps before, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
I had the mobile platform for about two years, and all that time I have not had one single robocall. I received one spam-related text message. But I never got robocalls, solicitors, nothing.
One day Microsoft announced that they are discontinuing updates for the mobile platform. I wasn’t down with that, so I decided to part with my beloved phone and went back to the iPhone, my first love. I purchased the 7-Plus and it was a whole different world.
It was a different world alright. Not only did I have access to all these wildly popular apps, I also inadvertently gave away my IP address.
The robocalls were happening shortly after I got the iPhone. The majority of numbers would include the local area code and the first three digits of your own number. Sometimes they would leave a message. There were some where I thought I won the vacation of my dreams, and others where I thought the IRS would put me in jail. What an exciting and lucrative life I lead.
Most of the time, the messages contained nothing but static. Static in my attic from Channel Z (that’s a lyric from “Channel Z” by B-52’s to all you youngins’).
I would get up to ten calls a day. Sure, I can let them go to voicemail, but that’s an awful lot of nonsense ringing I have to endure. Why should I be privy to some jackoff and let them get away with it?
I did everything I could to appear less noticeable. My number has been on the “Do Not Call” list ever since the dawn of man. Obviously, it does no good anymore. I cleared my web data daily. I disabled my cookies. Checked and double checked my privacy settings. Everything was in check. I was still getting hounded. What’s left?
The IP address. BOOM.
I decided to invest in a VPN. Now, I only get one or two calls a week at the most.
What’s happening is this: There is some sort of agreement between Android, iPhone, and any cell phone provider they are in connection with (pun intended), that they can give away your IP address to anyone they can potentially make money from. I’m sure this is written someone in the cell provider’s legal privacy jargon to prevent litigation.
What you can do: Subscribe to a VPN and rotate your IP constantly. It also doesn’t hurt to clear out web data, and enable the cookies only if they’re really needed.
Yes, you can get an app to block numbers. But really, why the hell would you do that? WHY? You are only asking for trouble by giving them more access to whatever information is stored on your device, and it’s counter-productive. Besides, blocking numbers won’t stop a hacker from getting your information. They have your provider’s IP, and that IP alone tells them everything they need to know.
No, I will not recommend a service. I am not a commercial for anyone and I’m not getting paid for this. But I am in a generous mood by sharing what I know and I’m a fierce advocate for protecting whatever privacy we have left.
As an added bonus, VPN service is also tax-deductible. Ask your accountant how this is possible.