Stopping Sign Spam with Phone Spam

Some towns have had great success with a clever solution to dealing with sign spam, The New York Times writes. Signs illegally littering public land (scam mattress sales, “we buy junk cars,” “cash for homes,” etc.) universally include a phone number. Municipalities are using their robocalling software (often used to call parents to inform them of school closings) to call those phone numbers over, and over, and over again. Two dozen times a day, they call. It drives the sign spammers nuts. The only way to end the calls is for the spammers to take down their signs and pay a fine. Hollywood, Florida has seen an 80% reduction in sign spam since they started using this tactic.

Albemarle County announced a renewed crackdown on the junk signs two months ago, but I certainly haven’t observed any changes. Mountain Kim Karate has continued to be the worst offender (though they’ve removed their name from the signs, so as to protect their reputation from their own illegal advertising tactics), and I only observed an increase in their signs after the announced crackdown, presumably to coincide with the end of the school year. Perhaps a multi-week volley of phone calls would bring about some real change.

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