For some time now, we have received daily phone calls, sometimes late at night, from a party that is listed as "Private Name, Private Number." I have usually let the answering machine pick up, but no message is ever left, and I have tried answering, but no one ever responds. Do you have any suggestions as to what is going on?

— George F.

Suggestions? Sure. A concrete, full-satisfaction-or-your-money-back-guarantee answer? Not so much. But we'll try.

Let's start with some information from the Better Business Bureau. Just a few months ago in September 2016, the agency posted an article about these very types of phone calls. According to that article, there might not necessarily be someone on the other end. More like something: an automated computer system, to be specific, the article states.

"This type of system calls you — and thousands of other people — to build a list of potential scam victims," the piece reads. "The automated computer system finds out two important pieces of information: is this phone number a working phone number that will be answered? And what time of day was the phone answered? This information is then sold to scammers, who now know to call you and what time of day to call you."

The fact that no one answers and the fact that no one leaves a message makes it sound — to us, anyway — like this might be the issue, George. Local law enforcement has recommended a pretty simple solution: if you don't recognize the number, or if no number is given, just don't pick up.

"If (someone) wants to get a hold of you, they will leave a message," said Sgt. Julie Denney with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

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