The downside of having our phones with us all the time is that we have our phones with us all the time. We end up getting calls we don’t want and there are times when we either have to make calls we’d prefer not to – or we are obliged to give out our number. You can’t stop all that but you can make it less of a problem.
Next time you get Unknown Caller and it is another sales call, do whatever you normally do and after you’ve got that out of you system, put their number into your system. Take that moment to add it under the name Spam. And the next one who calls, also Spam.
After a while you will build up this contact called Spam with an awful lot of phone numbers. But it’s surprising how often the same spam numbers call you so while this won’t cure all such calls, you will regularly see the name Spam as Caller ID and can just tap the decline button.
As for making calls, get a burner phone. You’ve seen this in movies: the baddies and/or the goodies who are falsely accused of being baddies and are on the run, they all get burner phones. They’re just another mobile phone that you buy anonymously and you only use for a specific job before throwing them away or planting them on your enemy.
Cheaper and handier than buying new phones all the time, you can just buy an app. Burner is a free iPhone app that gives your phone a new, temporary number. You only get a very limited-use number for free but you can buy new temp ones and delete the old ‘uns at any time.
If you’re thinking that you simply can’t remember the last time you were on the lamb, pursued by the police forces of Illinois and needing to run some interference for the mob, you can also use Burner for eBay. Craigslist, eBay, anything where you need to give out your number to someone but, seriously, you don’t want them phoning you for the next ten years trying to be your buddy.
I don’t get that a lot. But most every woman I know does. For them – or at least for women in the US – here’s my favourite phone trick that will surely, hopefully come to the UK too:
The experience is all-too familiar for many women. An overly aggressive suitor asks for your number. You feel uncomfortable or unsafe, manipulated or just want to end the interaction. Sometimes, it feels easier to hand over your digits than to reject the person outright; but you don’t want to field unwanted text messages or phone calls.
Been there? Over it? Go ahead and memorize this number: (669) 221-6251.
That’s the hotline for the new Feminist Phone Intervention, which automatically replies to calls or text messages from unwelcome admirers with an automatically-generated quote by renowned feminist writer, theorist and professor, bell hooks.
As the anonymous saviors behind the hotline write on Tumblr, “Why give any old fake number, when you can have bell hooks screen your calls?”
This Feminist Hotline Replies To Your ‘Unwanted Suitors’ With A bell hooks Quote – Huffington Post (13 June 2014)
I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of bell hooks. In following that link through to Feminist Phone Intervention, I didn’t learn a lot more but it was a lot more sobering. This is that site’s explanation for why its makers set up the service:
because we’re raised to know it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to directly reject an aggressive guy.
because we’re raised to know that evasion or rejection can be met with violence.
because women are still threatened and punished for rejecting advances.
because (669) UGH-ASIF, WTF-DUDE, and MAJR-SHADE were taken.
because why give any old fake number, when you can have bell hooks screen your calls?
so next time, just give out this number: (669) 221-6251
tech to protect.
Feminist Phone Intervention website
Not a great world, is it?