We've all done it before. It's that infamous term people call 'pocket dialing' or 'butt dialing'. It's that time when you get a call from someone unexpected and after the third time you've said 'hello', you realize that the phone calling you from the other end is lodged somewhere deep in the pocket of somebody else who has no idea you are eaves dropping on their conversation. It can be embarrassing at times. Remember that morning after where you check the sent and received calls from the night before and aren't quite sure why you called three or four of the names on the list. Pocket dialing can be a costly 'un'smart money move especially if you leave the wrong message for the wrong person at the wrong time. Recently, I read a story about how this phenomenon is costing us all big money.
Nearly 40% of the time a New York City dispatcher answers a 911 call, there's no actual emergency. Yep, in 2010, two-fifths of all calls to New York's 911 system were accidental "butt dials," the New York Daily News reports. A total of 10.4 million 911 calls were received that year, a new report found, and police were sent to about 3.5 million emergencies as a result. That's notable since the number of butt dials was higher than that, at almost 4 million-or an average of 10,700 per day. (source: www.newser.com)
With those statistics, that means 38% of the calls that came into 911 dispatchers were really false alarms or no alarms at all. The average call was almost 20 seconds and mostly came from mobile phone users who mistakenly dial 911 with the phone in the back of their pockets or tucked away in their jacket. Many times, the cell phone users don't simply put the lock on their phone when it is not being used which is costing NYC countless thousands of wasted dollars.
According to the NY Daily News, in 2003 only 29% of all calls to 911 came from cell phones. But that jumped to nearly 59% by 2010, and is expected to keep growing.
911 isn't the only pocket dialing that could be a costly money move. Most of the mobile phone carriers charge you dearly for making a 411 call. A pocket dial with a 411 number can cost you a 1.00 a call. Millions are spent each year by making this simple mistake and there is really no way to contest this with your mobile phone company.
Beyond these 411 and 911 calls, making a pocket dial where someone hears a conversation whether it is in regards to work or personal can cost you something even more near and dear to your heart like a job or a relationship. The cost of making this kind of 'butt' dial could be priceless.
Here's the Your Smart Money Moves tip. On most phones, there is a one click button that locks your phone when you aren't using it. It will take you a second to click it, and it can save you from a really costly or embarrassing situation whether the phone is in your back pocket, front pocket, or your jacket pocket. Think about this just like you think about putting on a seat belt in your car. Click it before you put the car in motion and you could save your life or in this case help 911 save the life of someone else!
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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc - The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice
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