Saturday, October 15, 2005

Using Caller ID

I agree with this privacy advocate who admits that the campaign against telephone Caller ID was misguided.

My telephone number is listed, and my outgoing calls are unblocked so that they identify me and my phone number. I nearly always want to identify myself when I call someone. If for some reason I want to be anonymous, I can just dial *67 before the number.

I also block all calls from phone that do not provide Caller ID. I just have no reason to be taking anonymous calls. If someone has a blocked phone, then he can just dial *82 before the number to release the Caller ID info.

Another critic says:
I believe that automatic rejection of incoming ID-blocked calls is irresponsible to one's family and self. We can't possibly anticipate when a loved one will be in distress, calling us from a stranger's telephone. Automatic blocking disallows such a call from reaching us.
That is just not true. Use *82. Caller ID has been commonplace for about 15 years now, and there is no mystery to it.

Caller ID and voice mail also make the Call Waiting service worthwhile. I used to think that Call Waiting was very rude because it meant constanting interrupting a conversation for random and unknown callers. But with Caller ID on Call Waiting calls, I only interrupt if the call is important. Otherwise, I let the voice mail take it. That way, no one gets a busy signal, I get all my messages, and the important calls come straight in.

If you want to block Call Waiting for a call, such as for an outgoing fax, then just dial *70 before the number.

I hardly ever get telemarketer calls because the telemarketers don't like to identify themselves. They typically use some very deceptive practices, and they prefer to give their pitch to people without use of Caller ID.

Eliminating telemarketer calls is great, but the biggest advantage to requiring Caller ID is just to positively identify the calls that I want to take. If I get a call from a business, then I want some assurances that it is really is the business that it claims to be. I do sometimes get calls that claim to be from my bank or some other business that might have a legitimate need to talk to me, and the Caller ID does not match. I don't know if the caller is part of a scam or what, but the Caller ID allows me to efficiently terminate the call. Caller ID is also useful when friends call, as I can assess the usefulness of the call. I know people who use answering machines as calling screening devices, but Caller ID is much more polite, efficient, and useful. For me, anyway.

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