Until recently, I thought unwanted spam calls were mostly a thing of the past. The Federal government, as well as many states, set up Do Not Call registries that allowed consumers to enter their phone numbers and block most undesired calls from companies trying to sell goods or services. There were hefty fines for repeated violations, so most companies played by the rules and families could finally enjoy a peaceful meal uninterrupted by telephone solicitors.

I was living in a fool's paradise.

Technology has made it very simple (and very cheap) for unscrupulous companies to make thousands of calls at almost no cost to themselves, and when those calls are coming from outside of the U.S. it is almost impossible to enforce Do Not Call laws. As a result, the number of robot-dialed spam calls has exploded. It has also become simple to spoof numbers and make them appear as if they are coming from the same area as the recipient's phone. These are especially insidious because for many people, the initial reaction is to think a local person or business is likely placing the call.

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