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.

9 thoughts on “Stopping Sign Spam with Phone Spam”

  1. Yay! I would love it if that happened here, but I bet the “pro-business” Albemarle supes would vote against it.

  2. So stop depending on the government to solve all your problems. Really, it takes 5 people with phones. Block you number and each calls a number,every time they are at a stoplight or waiting in line or whatever. With auto-redial it is simple. Then put the phone down and let it auto disconnect due to a time out or whatever.

    Stop looking for others to solve problems and take some initiative. Start a facebook page and watch what happens…

  3. You’re proposing that we commit a crime, Dan. Calling somebody without intent to converse is a federal crime. This is precisely the sort of problem that, by definition, only government can solve.

  4. So the government can call and call and call, but we can’t? Would the government not also be committing the crime of calling without the intent to converse? Do I need to go read the actual article?

  5. So call, and when they answer say, “I don’t like your road signs.”

    Anyway, I call Kohlberg’s level 5/6 morality on this one. Just hide your number.

  6. The government can call, & call, & call, with robo-calls specifically requesting the sign-posted to respond. What individuals can’t do is just spam anyone’s phone #, business or personal, with computer-generated robo-calls that just hang up. At least, that’s how I see the difference, which seems reasonable. Walso, your take on this?

  7. What happens when a jilted lover gets it in his or her head to post fake spam signs with the ex’s phone #?

  8. What happens when a jilted lover gets it in his or her head to post fake spam signs with the ex’s phone #?

    Then the ex should file a civil suit and take out a restraining order. The fact that the guy’s going to get a confusing phone call from the county warning him to take down the signs is really the least of his problems at this point. There are humans involved in this process—it’s not like software automatically dials sign phone numbers until the signs disappear. :)

Comments are closed.