It had been hardly 24 hours since I got my new mobile number. I was yet to let my near and dear ones know about my new number when the mobile handset started ringing. I was astonished. Expecting it to be the telecom company, I answered the call. Lo ! It was from a reputed bank's representative who was soliciting me to go for a new credit card. The first question that ran across my mind was, "How in the world did he get my number when I had not revealed it to single soul?".
Past bitter experiences with such representatives had mind was prejudiced against them. I plain loathed them. I recomposed myself and told him in as much a calm voice as I could muster that I had enough cards for 3 generations of my family and that I did not want more. He persisted, "But Sir, this is a platinum card and ...". I cut him short, "...and I can spend more and turn bankrupt faster, is it?". A long silence ensued. Before he could recover, I continued, "Tell me one thing, my dear man, How did you get my number?". He blabbered the corporate classic line, "I can't reveal that, Sir. It's against company policy". Uttering a quick thank you , he hurriedly dropped the line. I was left all high and dry.
As I was wondering for the rest of the day on what channels are available for these direct service advertising and soliciting companies to procure mobile numbers, I started suspecting a nexus between the mobile companies and these solicitors. Some research on the Internet revealed similar nexus that existed between a telecom company called Nexus in UK and telephone scammers.
As my thoughts veered into how such scammers or spamsters could be stopped, I was reminded of a strategy that was in place in the USA. When people buy mobile phones, they can selectively request to be placed on a "Do Not Call" (DNC) list of companies from whom they do not wish to get solicitation calls.
What this effectively does is put the onus on companies to cross check numbers supplied by mobile companies against their "Do Not Call" lists to decide if they can or cannot make a call to that number. Any accidental call to a DNC listed number immediately grants the mobile owner the liberty to pull the company to court and sue them for a few million dollars.
At the rate at which people are getting solicitation calls, I presume that it won't be late that the government decides on implementing a similar DNC system in India with hefty penalties associated for trespassing DNC number. To hasten the government's will in that direction, I am pleading the good lord to let the companies make more of such calls to me and my country brethren.
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