The Future Is Here
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Do You Answer the Phone?

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I’m not talking about when your mom calls. If your mom calls, you should answer the phone, and actually, you should just probably call your mom more often so she doesn’t have to call you. (HI MOM!) What I want to know is what you do when a number you don’t know calls. Do you answer the phone?

This week, a company called First Orion published a blog post summarizing an analysis of 50 billion phone calls. The company claims that by 2019 nearly 50 percent of calls to mobile phones will be scams, up from just 3.7 percent in 2017. That’s an astonishing number that we should look at very skeptically since First Orion sells “phone call and data transparency solutions” of precisely the kind that might help with an absurd future in which half of all calls are malicious junk.


That said, it feels believable! Each day I get a half-dozen spam calls. The ‘Scam Likely’ notifications from my carrier and apps like Nomorobo help, but they are far from perfect, and plenty of garbage still gets through.

I don’t even remember the last time I picked up a random phone call and got something other than a scam or a solicitation on the other end. The caller is never a friend I haven’t heard from in years. It’s never someone I want to talk to. So I don’t answer anymore. Do you?