Bill Calfee of Milton has a list of tips on how to avoid telephone spam.

Like Chrys Holly’s letter to the editor, “Pay attention to scams,” I too am a senior and have been, in the past, bombarded with phone call scams. Ways to reduce phone scams/spams in your life:


1-Remember the caller ID area code and if it's out of your area with no recognizable name or business, it becomes an immediate suspect to me. Or if you recognize the business and they're irrelevant (for me, hearing aids, Medicare advantage plans, political, back-pain braces, etc) to your needs, simply block the number.


2-Answer immediately with "hello" and if you don't get a response within three seconds, it's a high probability you're talking to a computer. Hang up and block number or let go to voicemail.


3-Background noise to me is a call-center and dead-ringer for spam. Sometimes I just lay the phone down with the speaker on and see how long they try to communicate without me sayin' another word. One-person last week said they could hear me breathing, which I highly doubt.


4-If the first sentence is "Don't hang up" or "This is a recorded line," hang up immediately and block.


5-Drop your landline or change your number? I haven't because some of it's actually sometimes entertaining to me. I sometimes keep them tied up and on hold (retirement has its benefits), while supposedly going after the person they're trying to talk to just to see how long it takes for them to hang-up. Since they target older or mentally challenged people, I've even acted confused or disjointed (speaking in an irrelevant manner, going off on tangents, or slurring my words).


6-Let them all go to "voice mail." AARP suggests to not engage the spammers at all.


7- Lastly, sign up for the state and national "do not call" list. I've even reported persistent spam to the state with those who call using different numbers but the same junk.


Hope this helps and Merry Christmas to all.


Bill Calfee, Milton