Sarcasm Irony and unwanted calls from 07973100194

This blog post is information about my experiences and opinions only, it should not be construed as advice or or as encouragement to you or anyone else to act or not act in any way.

This blog post may interest people receiving unwanted calls from 07973100194.

It is also about the differences between irony and sarcasm and how that seems to divide British and American English language.

This blog post may be more relevant to smartphones running Android. It may also be relevant to people receiving unwanted calls from the number on I-phones, Windows phones, and well as Landlines, other telephones and communication systems.

What happened:

After calling a UK mobile telephone company customer service from a smartphone about an issue affecting a different smartphone on the same network, I started receiving unwanted calls to the smartphone I had called from. The unwanted calls came from 07973100194.

What I discovered:

The unwanted calls fitted patterns described on webpage http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/07973100194

My theory, based on my experiences and my opinions, about how and why it happens:

The main pattern seems to me to be that as soon as someone calls the genuine mobile phone company, another possibly scam company starts making unwanted calls, usually pretending to be the genuine phone company. The scam company tries to get information. Obviously such information could be used for criminal purposes such as theft. The scam company seems to use several different superficially plausible stories if spoken to.

The genuine call centre I was connected to when I called the phone company customer service had people with accents that sounded to my ear like Indian accents. My opinion is that it is sometimes cheaper for companies to outsource call-centre work to India. My opinion is that the call centre I was connected to was in India. My opinion is that India and many other Asian countries that it could have been do not have the same level of regulation and enforcement relevant to preventing telephone scams that the UK does. My opinion is that there is more incentive due to poverty, and opportunity due to less regulations, for corruption and crime in these countries as compared to in the UK.

My theory is that someone with access to (and probably some software that is part of or hacks into the phone system of) the genuine phone company is collecting phone numbers that call the genuine phone company and is (probably automatically) passing them to the scam company.

My opinion is that to do this is technically trivial. I worked for several years as an Information Analyst in a call-centre, collecting and analysing data from multiple large complex telephone call-centre systems. If I had been a corrupt employee it would have have been easy for me to take vast amounts of information about every call received, including the telephone numbers, and to pass it quickly to someone else. It is unlikely that even in the fairly secure UK setting where I worked that this would have been detected quickly. I leave it to your imagination how easy it would be to do such a thing almost indefinitely without being detected (or anyone even caring over-much) if such a scenario is set in a poorer and less regulated country.

Ways I think it can be dealt with:

The best way I have found to deal with these calls on those models Android smartphones that I am familiar with is to use the AVG call-blocker facility. I have found on these models that this app picks up the unwanted call momentarily, too quickly for the call to sound the ringtone on the phone, then it quickly disconnects the call. This prevents the unwanted call disturbing me, and prevents the unwanted reaching my voicemail and leaving an unwanted message. It also notifies me with a small unobtrusive beep and logs the blocked call so I can see how often it occurs. It can also block texts from the same number if that happens. I do not use the reply to the unwanted number with a text feature in case doing so incurs me costs for sending the reply texts.

If you have a different phone applications you may have something capable of doing something similar.

Alternative tactics to employ would include reporting the number to the authorities. Given the amount of complaints I have read online about this particular number I suggest however that doing so might not always yield an instant resolution.

A divergence into Irony vs Sarcasm:

We Brits are so understated eh? As employed here it’s a form of irony. If it was sarcasm I would have said “Naturally doing so will always yield an instant resolution.” Stressing “not always” makes it irony. Reversing the “polarity” (negative or positive) of the phrase by taking out the “not,” makes it sarcasm. If you don’t understand this you may be from a country that speaks a version of English derived from British English that has become stereotypically known to the British for “not always fully appreciating” (that’s irony) the difference between irony and sarcasm. Comedy aside, although the irony/sarcasm thing has become almost a jibe (not funny any more) and frankly a nasty put-down, I would offer that American English derives from and retains grammar, forms, and even accents more akin to 15th Century British English from when it’s evolution began divergence, and the irony/sarcasm thing may easily have come from that divergence, rather than the implied slight contained in the now jibe. Personally I think British English is the poorer for losing plural pronouns. It has implications for misunderstandings in Bible study for Brits that older more traditional Americans have no such problems with.

Back to the calls, Landlines, and some final fun:

Landlines can often be provided with call screening and blocking devices, and their answering machines are often more user-controllable than mobile service providers’ voicemail systems, so protecting a landline from unwanted calls is possibly a bit easier than protecting a mobile phone.

A fun way to deal with unwanted calls might be to answer with something creative, such as “Hello. Telephone fraud investigation office.” As far as I can see if I or anyone else is taking and interest in telephone fraud, say by reading this blog post, then they might well decide to consider themselves to be an informal telephone fraud investigation office hobbyist, and so would be answering with some degree of honesty, although irony may have a role here. (Spot the nested ironicisms.)

Another fun thing to do might be to play along, and if asked for security information such as digits from PIN numbers to give false numbers. If false PIN verification details are accepted it is a strong indication that the call is coming from a criminal. That would be a fun point in the proceedings to tell them this and then to do a “telephone fraud investigation bureau” comic reveal.

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