"Stop Freaking Calling Me"

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How a Bay Area resident discovered that anonymous faxers had more rights than she did!

Email sent on Aug. 22, 2002

I live in a tiny studio apartment in San Francisco which makes it real hard to escape my land phone line. At least half the time my phone rings, it's a fax machine ... a cruel, thoughtless device that knows nothing of my sleep habits or even what time zone I'm in.

For about six months, my phone rang every other day at 6 a.m. The fax machine would call my home phone twice in a row, beeping loudly into my old-school answering machine each time before giving up. I originally thought it was likely a single caller and asked the phone company put a trap on my line to find out who it was.

For two weeks, I recorded the incidents. After dutifully reporting the calls, the phone company said that this particular caller's ID was protected, and that if I wanted to know who it was I had to file a police report first. So I did. I spent another two weeks tracking the calls.

When I called the police, they said there really wasn't anything they could do about it short of suggesting I change my phone number. They said it happens to everyone. They said the person faxing me would likely just sell my number to someone else. They said they could reveal the identity of the mystery caller only if I went down to the station in person. And even so, they weren't going to give me this person's number so I could personally ask them to STOP FREAKING CALLING ME!

I asked the phone company if they could just block the number without telling me who it was. They said no. I gave up. I just turned the ringer off for awhile and kept the answering machine volume down.

It still happens, though not as much <cross fingers>. I suppose I am now even more pissed off knowing that what they do is actually *illegal* and they do it anyway. But thanks for fighting the good fight. Hope it helps.