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Arvada family fed up with robocalls targeting elderly mom

'No call list, verbal pleas make no difference'
Esther Gramm Rone
Posted at 7:24 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 21:49:50-05

ARVADA, Colo. — When Esther Gramm Rone began keeping track of all the robocalls coming in on her land line and cell phone one-and-a-half years ago, she had no idea she'd end up with a 25 page list with thousands of numbers.

Robocall List
One page of Esther's 25 page robocall list

"I get about 15 to 20 a day," Rone said. "It's a lot."

Rone said ignoring the calls doesn't help. Neither does the no-call list. Even verbal pleas for them to stop calling don't work.

"It's just so irritating sometimes, and I don't understand it," Rone said. "How can they get away with it?"

The elderly Arvada woman said the constant calls are an invasion of personal space.

"Once in a while I'll answer one, and I'll say 'please, please quit calling me. I'm getting tired of running for the phone,'" Rone said.

Rone's daughter, Denise Stringham, said she has spent time online trying to get the numbers blocked, to no avail.

"I feel like they're harming my mother, and I can't do anything about it," Stringham said.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser calls robocalls a "scourge."

"I'm appalled that anyone, particularly an older Coloradan, is going to be subject to this harassment, this waste of time, this annoyance," Weiser said. "Sometimes they can be scary too."

Weiser's advice: "If you don't know the number, don't answer."

He said if it's a legitimate call, they'll leave a message.

Weiser said no-call lists aren't very effective because many calls are from scammers, and many are from outside the U.S.

"They don't care about the no-call list, so the effect of this no-call list has gone way down," Weiser said, "and the vulnerability of consumers has gone way up."

Weiser said blocking technology is much better with cell phones than with landlines, and robocalls will often show up as "spam risk," so the cell phone user will know not to answer the phone.

Spam Risk
Robocall blocking technology identifies calls as spam risk

Rone said she wants to keep her landline because she's had it for 60 years.

"You can port your landline number to a cell phone, so you can keep the number and then get the benefit of these new technologies under this new law that I and other AG's have fought for," Weiser said. "We're all in this together."

He said the Colorado Department of Law is committed to protecting consumers.

"We've got a whole resource at StopFraudColorado.gov to give people guidance on things like how to manage and avoid robocalls," Weiser said. "We'll keep fighting for this with every tool we can."

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