Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Hate Angela. And You Should, Too...

 "The Sun, too, shines into cesspools, and is not polluted..." -- Diogenes

I hate Angela.

And the strange thing about this visceral dislike is that Angela doesn't even exist.

An explanation:

Angela is a "bot". That is to say, she is a computer-generated voice that is part of a system that randomly calls phone numbers with "important information" about some subject assumed to be important to you (but usually totally unrelated to any aspect of your life), and then she starts asking questions which are designed to get you to give up personal information.

Personal information which will then be used by some real person(s) for some unethical, perhaps even criminal, activity beginning with simple Identity Theft and getting progressively worse.

I know Angela is a bot. It's obvious that Angela is a bot. For even with a higher level of programming sophistication -- for example, Angela can laugh at your jokes, and often does something unexpected, like pretend to drop her headset and then apologize, complete with life-like headset-dropping noises -- eventually Angela gives the game away. She'll say something completely out of context; ask you to repeat something several times before breaking the call; pretend to not understand the simplest of words or other information given to her.

Angela is limited in what sorts of deceptions, and at what level, she can get away with. Mostly because Angela is an older bot (this is one aspect of my business life; I know bots!) and the newer ones are much more sophisticated, but believe me, they all have the same, fatal flaw: you can only script for and predict what the live human at the other end of the phone will say or do up until a certain point. After that, there is no magic algorithm that will help Angela deal with someone who is on to her and determined to fuck, mightily, with whatever scumbags set her to do her dastardly work of duping the fucktarded.

Although I can't recall when I first "met" Angela, it was several years ago, and the subject was my boat insurance. At first, I was taken in by the cheerful, young voice and believed it was a real person until I had informed Angela that I have never owned a boat, and thus, have never insured one.

She responded "that's great!", or somesuch, and then proceeded to tell me about how I could save thousands of dollars a year on my non-existent insurance policy on my imaginary boat.

For several months Angela would call almost weekly, and as soon as I heard "Hello, this is Angela!", I would hang up.

Angela would be replaced, over time, by Juan and Julian, Corey and Catherine, Steve and Sonia, and they were all pretty much the same routine, only the subjects would change -- the extended warranty on my car, my credit card interest rates, my health and life insurance, my utility bills, and so on and so forth.

It was then that I had suddenly remembered that I had Caller ID and was also on the Do Not Call list, and so when I see phone number I don't recognize, I don't pick up. As for the Do Not Call list, since that's something set up by government, it's a colossal failure. I get more of these obnoxious, irritating and deceptive robocalls than I ever did before, and not just on the home line. My cell is bombarded daily, all of the bots thoughtfully leaving voicemail messages in Cantonese.

Recently, Angela has made her return. I reckon someone made a "better" Angela. And now instead of a deluge of wasteful calls from a plethora of bots, I simply hear from Angela...on everything.

Angela wants to talk to me about my homeowner's policy.

Angela wants to talk to me about Social Security.

Angela wants to convince me to change banks.

I already have one annoying female voice in my ear on a constant basis (it lives in the same house), I don't need Angela's, as well.

What is funny about this new-and-improved Angela is that the beginning of her script is the same as it always was; She introduces herself, there is the fake dropping of the headset, an attempt at humor, and a girlish giggle, before Angela informs me that my electric company wants to send me a refund, but somehow doesn't know my account number or where I live.

Or how I can save x-number of dollars a year on laundry detergent, can she have a credit card number to sign me up for this "revolutionary new program"?

Or, I have won a deluxe luxury vacation for two to beautiful downtown Tegucigalpa (dysentery capital of the world!), so long as I don't mind paying the contest registration fee with my checking account number.

Now Caller ID is useless, for the same people who whore out Angela on the telephone have figured out how to "spoof" the system created to prevent them from using the telephone systems in this way, or have found their way into legitimate phone systems (like the one belonging to my bank and credit card company) to make surreptitious calls that come from a seemingly "safe" number.

I'm on to Angela -- and her progeny -- and so simply hang up.

I'm certain there's hundreds of thousands of old people just happy to hear a voice on the phone who will eagerly engage, or, conversely, a similar number of truly stupid people who believe they're getting something for nothing from some voice on the phone, and so give away personal information with zeal.

But even that simple solution to this annoying problem -- hanging up --  is beginning to lack sufficiency. I find myself wanting to find the person who spawned Angela and beat the unholy piss out of them.

Considering that complaining to the authorities does no good (you'll be happy to know a non-functioning computer that has been sitting in a closet for a year managed to call Microsoft and inform them of a security threat two days ago), and informing my  telephone company, bank, etc. that their systems are compromised has no effect, and government action  (a No Call List) is, likewise, about as useful as a democrat at a math test, physical violence might be the only solution to this problem.

Never mind COVID, this is a fucking priority, and much like the Chinese Panda Pox, it, too, preys upon the old and the weak.

1 comment:

Tal Hartsfeld said...

I turn 66 in three weeks (give or take) and I've been on to "Angela" for quite some time.