The Verge Uncovers The Summer Of Spam

“Feels like the spam calls are picking up,” my editor said to me today. Yes, it does. A glance through my call log from this week showed one incoming real call and 10 incoming spam calls.

We wrote a bunch about this in 2019 — here are some ideas for protecting yourself, and yes, I have chosen the nuclear option — and if anything, the situation has gotten worse. The FCC has made some idle threats against carriers, but I have yet to see any real action. At this point, I despair. The FCC doesn’t care; the carriers don’t care; the cost of spam is low for spammers, and the fact that they are ripping apart networks? Doesn’t seem to matter.

It feels like a tide of bullshit is rising

I didn’t use to avoid the phone. As a teenager, I spent hours on end talking to my friends. But because of the sheer volume of spam, I don’t expect any useful calls — and neither does anyone else I know.

It’s a shame. I don’t enjoy video calls, mostly because I can’t pace on camera and walking helps me think. During my peak telephone use, I used to take our cordless landline out to the back porch and pace back and forth while my friends and I gossiped. Seeing old TV shows where people twirl the cords on their phones makes me unspeakably nostalgic.

The Verge uncovers the Summer of Spam

Every goddamn company wants my phone number, and none of them are guarding my data closely. I assume another part of the problem is the robo-dialers. But emotionally, the problem feels bigger than that.

It feels like a tide of bullshit is rising because it’s not just my phone. Spammers have gotten better at evading Gmail’s filters — I assume because Google is letting Gmail rot, just like search, while the company focuses on its shiny new AI toys. I get fake receipts for purchases I didn’t make: probably phishing attempts. In my work email, every lazy public relations agency has signed me up for their newsletters without my consent.

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