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At 3:31 this morning, I was awakened by a crank call. Two apparently drunken college students thought it would be funny to wake me from a sound sleep and insult me and subject me to a stream of profane insults.

OK, it wasn't that sound a sleep, and I did my damndest to ruin their fun. I traded them insult for insult, tossing their own feeble efforts back in their faces, and mocked them as relentlessly as I would a Kos Kiddie. After about five minutes, they got bored of hearing their own attitude and hung up.

So I immediately did the *69 to get their number -- no joy; blocked ID. So I called my phone provider -- Comcast -- to report it. I figured that since I pay good money to them, I was entitled to grouse a bit when someone breaks the law like that.

Here's what I took from the Comcast representative: if you get such a call, you can dial *57 on your phone, and the call will be logged in their system. After three such calls, you can complain to the police and then Comcast will release the information -- but only to a law-enforcement official.

So I dialled the number, and was informed that there was a "fee" involved in logging the call. They message didn't tell me how much, but would I like to continue anyway? Not knowing if it was 15 cents or 1,500 dollars per call, I thought not. So I called Comcast back.

The fee is 3 bucks. Per call. Which may be waived by a supervisor, at their discretion.

So, if you're looking to have some fun making harassing and/or obscene phone calls, make it to someone who has Comcast for their phone system. You can get away with it twice without worrying about the police, and if you're really lucky, you can stick your victim with a $6.00 bill for the privilege of being your victim.


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Comments (15)

Cox Communications charges ... (Below threshold)

Cox Communications charges a fee to dial/use *69 (I think it's $1.50 per use)! Damn the 'phone companies, damn them all to hellll.

O.K., that last line was a partial imitation of Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes." But I still don't like 'phone companies, never have, probably never will and cable companies acting like 'phone companies (and they always do) are worse.

Okay, my take in a nutshell... (Below threshold)

Okay, my take in a nutshell: I think I should have the right to know who (or at least whose telephone) is on the initiating end of any phone call placed to my home. I may not have the right to know who every person is that I encounter on the street, but when you enter my home, you'd damned well be ready to disclose some information, or I'll be inclined to exert my second-amendment rights a bit. Same principle.

This just another example of the perversion of the "discovered" right to privacy. The only people currently being protected by that "right" are those who are engaging in illegal or socially objectionable activity.

Of course if you have only two people you'd like to "bump off," wouldn't this be the instance you'd cite? Obviously, the law here won't be enforced until its third violation.

I would just block "Private... (Below threshold)

I would just block "Private" calls on my phone. Most companies offer a service that will block these calls with a message that says, I do not accept calls from Private numbers. If you want to talk with me, unblock your phone number. Then get caller ID.

Hey, for all you know, mayb... (Below threshold)

Hey, for all you know, maybe it was a couple of Kos Kidz who figured out how to get your phone number and wanted to spread a little post-holiday love.
: )

I had the same experience w... (Below threshold)

I had the same experience with BellSouth four or five years ago. And that's even though I was paying them for CallerID and to block calls from those who didn't have their numbers displayable on CallerID.

It gets even more fun if yo... (Below threshold)

It gets even more fun if you have a true stalker, especially one that knows the nitpick-iness of the law. Don't count on the police getting anything done after that third phone call. Unless you have video of a carniverous humanoid underground dweller actually coming at you with an axe, the police are loath to assume there's any danger and actually, you know, intervene. All I can say in that situation is to load up on ammo.

That's for real stalkers. For pranksters, just don't answer. At some point they usually give up.

I haven't had that problem ... (Below threshold)

I haven't had that problem for several years. I switched over to the phoneless cord and haven't had an irritating call since.

That's pretty tough. I'd ha... (Below threshold)

That's pretty tough. I'd hate to meet you in a dark alley.

I used to get a lot of call... (Below threshold)

I used to get a lot of calls from women asking for the same guy. This went on for months.

Finally, one night I had enough of these calls. The phone rang and another woman asked to speak to him. I said that he wasn't able to come to the phone because he had brought home some hot chick and from the noise they had been making a few minutes before, that neither one would be walking for a while.

I never got anymore calls after that.

Are you sure it wasn't JC a... (Below threshold)

Are you sure it wasn't JC and the HG yanking on your leg for publically proclaiming your agnosticism yet again? Beware, it could be a portent of things to come.

I keep getting calls for an Andrea, but they're from businesses trying to sucker me in some sort of sale. If I had any enemies with a similar first name, I'd know how to handle it - make a big sale request but ask them to call at my real number. Obviously someone is trying to get at me, but I just pleasantly let the caller know they are wasting their time, since there's no Andrea here. My inspiration from all this is to tell any telemarketers that wanders past the do not call listing to try back in 3 years when the person they are calling gets out of jail...

I had a similar experience to Hornet, and it worked like a charm. I just hope no one got physically harmed...

A former roomate once told ... (Below threshold)

A former roomate once told me that he'd gotten a call from The Franklin Mint for a long departed roomate. When he told the salesperson that the person they were looking for no longer lived there, she paused and replied, "Okay, we'll call back later."

In a more on topic vein, I twice got called at about 2am on a Sunday morning exactly one week apart by people looking for their psychic freind. It wasn't a prank or the same person, the first one sounded like an old man, the other like a middle-aged woman. I'm guessing that they tried to dial an 800 number and missed (I was in the 805 area code at the time) If I'd been more awake, I'd like to have played with them a while, but I'm too nice a guy. :-)

Networking: Gigabyte battle... (Below threshold)

Networking: Gigabyte battlefields
Researchers are developing sophisticated networking technologies that enable military commanders to share tactical information -- right from the battlefield, in real-time, experts tell United Press International.
As if out of a scene of the TV counter-terrorist drama "24," the networking software enables commanders to share -- or fuse -- information from an array of air and ground sensors. This will make the tracking of enemy ground troops, friendly troops and artillery and aircraft easier, experts said. By Gene Koprowski

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!<... (Below threshold)


Jay, you need to go low-tech for this one; get a police whistle, and when you get a crank caller put it right up to the phone and blow as hard as you can... sometimes, you'll hear them shrieking in shock and pain, lol.

(Click here for more warped ideas)

I discovered - to my dismay... (Below threshold)

I discovered - to my dismay - that RCN does indeed charge me to block specific numbers from calling. And the charge is BY DAY, so you have to decide how long you're willing to pay for, vs. how long you think it will take an idiot to stop calling.

On the other hand, I have to say that, despite my trials with RCN and Verizon, the worst experience I ever had was with a deadbeat who moved without leaving a forwarding number to his bill collectors - and I inherited his old number. I had to call AT&T back repeatedly and threaten to file charges before they would stop harassing me for his bills.

Also, I had a very entertaining chat with a bar owner in Delaware who let me know that, one year after the number had been transferred to my name, this asshat was still writing bad checks and giving out MY phone number as his. Not much the phone companies can do about that.

Robert Dupree, I ever meet you, you're getting a baseball bat upside the head.

It was probably THE ORANGE ... (Below threshold)

It was probably THE ORANGE COUNTY (CA) REGISTER calling you and everyone else every single day for eight months to taunt you as to why you haven't subscribed to their rag of a publication.

I describe it as a rag because of their hideously insane telemarketing stalker calls that often even resolve to them leaving a recorded message to respond if and when you eventually answer their fifteen-thousandth call and the recording hangs up on you right after it tells you that a call from them was not made because of your DoNotCallRegistry status. Oh, yeah, now THAT makes literary sense.

They're probably now harassing the entire state of New Hampshire. It would not surprise me, let me put it that way, if they were.






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