A problem with phone-y calls
Steve Allen, comedian
- Credit: Steve Allen
We have a phone problem. This week I read of people in east London receiving blackmailing phone calls from someone threatening their families.
We have recently seen ne’er-do-wells using phones to scam people about the Covid vaccine, asking for bank details to book a fake inoculation.
It’s time we considered that our love affair with the phone might be over. Do we still need them?
I remember the days when I would beg my mum and dad to let me have a landline phone in my bedroom. Not my own line, we weren’t fancy, but I wanted an extension cable running up the stairs. We have gone from that to a modern world where we all have a mobile that is constantly pinging at us.
I have a landline but only because they installed it when I had my broadband connected. The only calls I ever get on it are scams. They say I have been involved in an accident that must have been really bad because I don’t have any memory of it.
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The proof that the main phone is pointless is that I don’t know my own landline number off by heart and I’d have to look it up in my mobile phone.
The mobile phone is still useful but not as a phone. If someone calls me I am taken aback and I think to myself, “I hope they’re calling me to explain why they couldn’t have just sent a text.”
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When Alexander Graham Bell put the finishing touches to his invention he never intended it to be used to scam people out of their bank details or to tell them they'd won a holiday competition that they never entered.
He clearly wanted it to become a thing you can play Candy Crush on, in peace.