Bob Berkowitz

It happens every day, like clockwork, the call comes in at 2:45 p.m. What is it? It’s a robo call with the same message, “We’re calling about your credit card, the message tries to get your attention and then goes on to say, “There’s nothing wrong but…” Well you know the rest. This call originates from a different number each day so blocking the number does no good.

At other times of the day, I get a message that I owe money to the IRS and if I don’t send them a check today by Western Union, the sheriff, presumably Sheriff Apperson, will show up at my door and haul me off to jail in handcuffs. Can you even fathom the effect those calls may have on a senior with the beginning stages of dementia? Most likely they will just send in the money without giving it another thought.

When I looked at my phone, I would see that many of these calls originated out of state and I could just delete them knowing that they were robocalls, but lately the scammers have gotten smarter because they now make it appear that the calls are originating from Crescent City which is meant to encourage me to answer the phone.

These calls happen so often that I can recite their dialogue by heart. Apparently I am not alone in getting these calls. According to some estimates, more than 24 billion robocalls were made to many other Americans last year, that’s 1,500 calls each and every second. According to First Orion Corp, a spam filter company, they predict that every other call you receive this year will be a robot call.

The federal government suggests that you add yourself to the National Do Not Call List. Unfortunately, for me, it has done little good to stop these annoying calls. Let’s face the fact that there is no effective way to stop these calls.

Fortunately, there just may be light at the end of the tunnel. Last week, state Sen. Ben Hueso of San Diego introduced a bill called the Consumer Call Protection Act of 2019 better known in the legislature as S.B.208. It is designed crack down on “neighbor spoofing.” Spoofing is when a hacker impersonates another device in order to steal data, spread malware or bypass access controls. Locally, it’s those robocalls that are designed to appear as a local caller.

S.B. 208 would require that a series of security protocols recommended by federal task force be implemented by the State of California. The bill also calls on state law enforcement agencies to prosecute companies that fail to stop these calls.

This bill may not be the end all of annoying calls, but it seems to be a good start. If you want to be a part of the solution instead of being frustrated by the problem, there is something we can do right now. We can ask that our state senator, Mike McGuire, sign on as a sponsor or co-sponsor of S.B. 208.

As Howard Beale, the star in the movie “Network” said, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Well if you feel that same way about all of those unwanted calls, you can take action right now. Call, write, or email Senator McGuire. Here is the contact information:

Senator Mike McGuire

State Capitol

1303 10th Street, Room 5061

Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone 916-651-4902

Or email at

sd02.senate.ca.gov" class="auto" target="_blank">class="s1">sd02.senate.ca.gov

Bob Berkowitz is a Del Norte County supervisor.

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