Telemarketers Plaguing Bloomberg's Batphone

from the ring-ring dept

Back in June, it was reported that hotlines the Department of Homeland Security had set up for governors around the country were getting hit by telemarketers, who apparently just randomly dialed the numbers. Now, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the “batphone” in his kitchen at home gets sales calls, too. He says the phone’s never been used in an actual emergency, so that every time it rings, it’s an insurance sales call. We still wonder why government bodies seem unable to get these numbers on do not call lists (which is a little surprising given how it was such a hot issue for politicians), or why they can’t come up with some other solution. Given Bloomberg’s comments, it seems like there’s a real danger of a boy-who-cried-wolf situation developing here, where people will tend to ignore these hotlines whenever they ring, assuming it’s just another sales pitch — which sort of defeats the point of having the hotlines in the first place.

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Comments on “Telemarketers Plaguing Bloomberg's Batphone”

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Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

Disappointed (continued)

Oops! Let me finish my real thoughts.
Wouldn’t you think that you could give all the hotlines a specific prefix (KL5-XXXX) or a specific area code only for these hotline phones that would be made off limits and hopefully unknown to phone hasslers? Back it up with hefty, hefty fines. Sort of like the do not call list, which worked great with my old number but has not worked at all with my new one.

Rob says:

Re: Re:

This Idea seems a little foolish wasting even more time and resources for everyone “some kind of crazy vigilante approach”..

For secure lines such as this the pin code works great.. We have a system in place like this and if you don’t know the pin code the call never gets though all done though computer system

Anonymous Coward says:

Why are these phones connected to the ordinary phone network in the first place. Since they are for a dedicated purpose shouldn’t they have dedicated line or at least dedicated switching so that it is impossible for telemarketers to reach them? This would obviously raise the cost, but that increased cost should have been considered in the cost/benefit analysis of the program.

The CyberSlug says:

Doesn't the solution already exist?

Aren’t there special area codes that are not accessable from the public telephone network? I believe these are already used to run phones that cannot be dialed by the public – for example, OnStar systems use modified Verizon Wireless cellphones with numbers in one of these ranges. Couldn’t these emergency hotlines be set up the same way? The trade-off would be that they could only be called from other similarly “blessed” lines.

misanthropic humanist says:

wasting police time

Sure, you said it yourself Carlo, why don’t they just go DNC? We have that system here in the UK, (aka OptOut list) and it works fine. I have never recieved a nuicance call since registering my number.

Perhaps there’s a legislative gotchya. Maybe the rules say they must serve everyone as an emergency service, including calls from the telephones of spammers, that would make sense. If they blocked any number and failed to respond to an emergency then someone would have their head on the block.

The way out is rather obvious imho. Emergency services have special status. If I call 911 and say “Hi,I rather carelessly seem to have got my arm stuck in an industrial meat mincer and would like an ambulance please… but while we’re waiting would you be interested in a great special offer on a selection of pies and pasties..”, I’d get nicked for wasting the operators time.

So do them for that.

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: wasting police time

Arm = Pie
woah – sick! too early for that one ;0)

DNC only works unfortunatly if the company is in the same country – I too am in the UK and have signed up to the lists (for anyone interested its

Admitedly my sales calls have dropped dramatically since, but I still get calls from Indian call centres and have been told that since these are in another country there is no legal way to stop them

I can see how having an emergency phone which gets sales calls would be annoying as it would lead to people ignoring it, but other than the PIN idea which seems the best one so far, all I can do is second the idea that sales calls to private numbers should be illegal full stop

Sales companies have no right to invade my privacy in this manner and I have no idea what gives them the impression they should have. Just like email SPAM however it will only change if law makers become involved (not likely) or if dufusses stop buying from them (highly unlikely)

Mason smith (user link) says:


There are many reasons you might need to find the owner of a phone number, ranging from being harassed to being just plain curious. Plenty of companies offer this information for a fee, but whether you are looking for a landline, mobile or toll-free number, you can first try several routes to identify information about that number for free.

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