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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Who's calling me from an unknown number?

One of those current reggae songs that I like, for the beat, not for all the lyrics, is "Unknown Number (Private Call)", by Busy Signal--gotta love the Jamaican DJ names:

Key lines that ring in my head are:

Number ha' fi sho' pon me ID ...

Na pik it up if it's a private call ...

They set fi ketch wi ...

No call me numba if yu no wan' me fi see ...

Plus one then the area code then the digits - everything cool
...

Though I'm not a gangsta, I am beginning to take the same view. Why is some organization calling my private number and blocking their, what should be public, number? There was a wave of cold calling in the US and UK, and after years of suffering laws were pass giving the right to could opt out from this harassment. A great blessing to stop those calls that always came around dinner time, or in the middle of homework, or putting the kids to bed. That was a great relief.

Increasingly, I get I don't know what to call them calls, maybe they are "warm calls"--, i.e., there is supposedly an existing relationship. The callers from institutions in the US are asking for me or my wife by first name wanting to discuss "personal business matters". Not even, "Hello. This is Meleesha, from X Factor Inc." But I look at the phone and I see "unknown number" or "private call". Is who dem? Me no kno' you! How yu get so familiar? Me is Mr. -- and she is Mrs. --. Last night, I heard the phone ringing on the overseas line and ran to pick it up--one of the older children about to announce some major life change? As soon as I answered I saw "unknown" number. I just decided that as the woman getting all friendly with my wife that I would get equally unfriendly. I had enough of being just unfriendly when the female asked if I was "... the husband ...". What? Me na ansa dat question! Is not fiyu bizniz. An' is who yu? I don't watch much TV, but could be NSA or some malicious bunch as bad as online identity thiefs.

Anyway, she's gone now. Well, I guess whoever she represents doesn't want to be traced. But I traced off the woman calling from some center and I guess that as she had a bank of such calls to make was glad to put this one down for later. Still, I ready again for next time. I am in full consumer strike back mode this weekend, so me a warn unnu.

2 comments:

Bajan Fuh Real said...

One extremely satisfying way of dealing with these is to answer the phone pleasantly, ask the sales rep on the end of the line to, "wait just a moment" and either put them on hold or put the phone down on the table until they hang up. Perfect. Almost guarantees no call backs.

Dennis Jones said...

The matter is perhaps a bit more serious because on probing it turns out that the "issue" (eg, overdue balance) was false. I refuse to pay for my wife's bills and reported the calls to her. So, the question is whether this is another scam. I noted that the recent calls seem generated by a computer, which may mean that there is a process of mining account numbers and making calls hoping that someone will offer to settle. People are fearful of financial blacklisting and often respond without verifying even their own account details. Moreover, the process may be one of trying to confirm more details about an account (address, passwords, etc) so that the scam/false usage of an account can spread more easily.