If It’s Northbrook, Forget It

Dearest Rachel –

I think I should feel sorry for the good citizens of Northbrook, Illinois. If my experience is any indication, they will never be able to call someone out of the blue and get a willing response. That’s because so many of these stupid robo-call emanate from their town.

You can see for yourself; of the last ten calls I’ve received, seven have been spam calls from there (and one additional from somewhere in downstate Illinois. Not sure why there’s an exception like that, but props for the touch of variety.

What’s even crazier is that so many of them actually have a name identified with them, and I’m pretty sure the spoofer has no idea. Since I can’t keep myself from answering the phone (you know, every so often it’s someone you want to talk to), I make a point of answering based on the name shown in my Caller ID. I can almost guarantee that the voice on the other end will be someone else, but I’ll entertain the possibility I’m not being spoofed, all the while being accepting of the 99.9% likelihood that I am. If you’re going to sell me something, jerk, the least you could do is to be consistent as to your name and the name you’re presenting as.

And they do not like being called out about how the name they introduce themselves as doesn’t match the name that the Caller ID brings up. Sometimes, I even get cussed out for pointing out the discrepancy, as if I’m the bad guy in this interaction. Do they think that’s going to make me more inclined to listen to their spiel about whatever it is they’re trying to sell me? Or is it that they’ve given up, and know I’m not going to listen to them anyway (in which case, I’ll admit that they’re not wrong), so there’s no harm in saying whatever they want to?

I always assumed that everything on their end was recorded…

In some ways, I suppose it’s my fault for bothering to pick up the phone in the first place. For whatever reason, I simply can’t let the thing ring and go to voicemail. Even more foolishly, I haven’t deleted or blocked the calls from coming in future. On the other hand, what good would it do? As you can see, they’d just hijack some other person’s phone, and in no time flat, I’ll have blocked the entire town of Northbrook from ever reaching me.

Not that I would expect there to ever be any reason anyone would want or need to reach me from there, but still…

And why Northbrook? I get that it’s not all that far away (roughly a twenty-minute drive east and slightly north from me), but I just don’t understand the connection. My work life always took me west of home, and our church community, while a drive east, was to the south and east. Nothing seems to be all that obvious about it.

For a while, I thought it might have something to do with the fact that the town is the home and headquarters of Allstate insurance – after all, so many of these robo-calls have to do with insurance of one sort or another, be it Medicare (which I’m not eligible for at my age, and you think they’d figure it out by now), auto insurance (where they always ask, “do you have insurance on your car?” as if they didn’t know that was the law to do so), or even my car’s extended warranty. Then again, you’d think a supposedly legitimate operation like Allstate wouldn’t do this sort of thing, or if they would, they’d introduce themselves as such as part of their pitch. And why would they use so many different phone numbers to reach me? No, that theory doesn’t add up.

What does add up, however, is that while most of the phone calls display a name rather than a number, there is a certain consistency about the numbers that are being displayed. It stands to reason that a spammer or scammer (but I’m no doubt repeating myself) would want to use a number similar to my own – although granted, I’ve no idea how they do it – to give the impression that it’s a nearby neighbor calling (why that would make one more likely to answer, I’m not sure, but whatever; I am answering, after all, so I guess their conclusion is that a win is a win no matter how it happens), rather than someone from across the country, or around the world (and given the thick accents on some of these folks, I’d be willing to believe the latter). I guess they think I’d have some kind of inexplicable connection to others with the same area code and exchange as myself. The only problem with that is that the exchange seems to be limited to a geographic area that I generally have no dealings with, so I’m no more amenable to their attempts to contact me than any other strange number.

On the other hand, I’m still naive enough to pick up the phone, so there’s that.

Anyway, keep an eye out for me, honey, and if you could nudge me out of trouble now and again, that would be great. I’ll be in touch, but you’ll know when it’s me. Love you.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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