Who Has a Good Telephone Accessory to Silently Block All Robocallers?
I need an add-on device for our home telephone system that will let us live in peace. The FTC's Do Not Call Register is a completely ineffective joke, and written complaints about violations seem to be a waste of time. I know this subject has come up in the past, but a half hour of searching the zed has produced nothing useful on topic.
We have totally had it up to the eyebrows with those robo-callers for telemarketing, debt collection, non-profit solicitation, skip tracing, religious proselytizing, surveys, and political propaganda. Separately, but in the same class of pests, are the robo-callers that try to elicit personal info for identity theft or some sort of con. In short, we do not want to hear even one ring from our telephone unless it's a person or a company that we have invited to call us at home.
Our voice service already includes a silent blocking feature, but it stores pitifully few (just 12) numbers, with manual & on-line updating procedures that are an awkward PITA. Trying to keep up with each fresh batch of (probably spoofed) originating numbers is a time-consuming and endless chore. We already have a home phone that is easily set to block 25 specific telephone numbers; however, it is Caller ID-based. That means blocked calls still produce one pesky ring, and even 25 stored numbers can't stem the tide of fresh robo-caller numbers.
Although there may be software programs designed to resolve this problem, I really don't want to go that route because (1) there is no telephone jack even close to our home computers, (2) I don't want to keep a computer running 24/7, and (3) that's way too much money to devote to the resolving this problem. OK, I'd do it with a computer program as a last resort, but I want to first at least try to find one simple, relatively inexpensive box.
There are some devices currently on the market, but those I have googled up seem to have mixed reviews written by non-technical folks; they raise more questions than they answer. So, is there anyone out there on the zed who is already using some sort of device that really does it all, and is simple enough to just hook between our voice service modem and our in-house telephone wiring?
"As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken
take the phone off the hook
Born to be Wild
If you'd rather not pay more money to the phone company, external devices exist that perform many of the same functions described above. Inbound phone call blockers
, for instance, only allow callers with a special code to get through to your number. You would only give this code to people you actually wanted to talk to. Of course, with this feature, that random hottie next door wouldn't be able to look you up in the book and reach you. Call-screening phone accessories like these are often sold in electronics stores and online by companies such as Privacy Corps and Digitone.
...recommends checking out Command Communications Inc. and Digitone Communications Inc. for tele-guarding products. Digitone's "PrivacyCall Screener," for instance, is a sleek, $100 box that blocks certain caller numbers and requires unidentified callers to enter a privacy code to make your phone ring.
...allow all callers with a valid phone number displayed to ring through just like normal. Block unwanted calls are Unknown, Unavailable, Out of Area, Anonymous, Private or any name without a phone number and will be hung up on.
Privacy Corps is showing me nothing but a blank frame with "asdfg" at its Products link.
There is no magic automated solution to this because there's nothing that really identifies an unwanted call. Your current system is a blacklist which means that it allows everything through except those numbers on the list. As you've discovered, that can be a futile exercise. I think the devices that Cortland suggested are whitelists which is the opposite so they block everything except those on the list. They would certainly be effective but at a cost. Do you really know every number that you want to allow through? What if a friend is at a different phone and needs to contact you urgently? Then there are calls like the "robo call" from a pharmacy to say your prescription is ready. What if they change the caller ID one day. I think a simple whitelist would have too many problems for most people.
Originally Posted by K9ZMD
There might be devices that do this but, taking an idea from the anti-spam email world ... What you really need is something that answers and prompts the caller "If you are not a telemarketer or (insert your message here) ... then take the four digits for this year, add three and enter it now" or something similar. They'd need to enter 2015 to get through. That would stop the robo calls. It wouldn't stop a live person who was determined to bug you but I suspect it would scare most away. You'd probably still need a whitelist for things like the pharmacy example above so it's still not perfect but maybe workable. The device described in Cortland's second link might be something like this.
Paying my bills, going to church and voting for a conservative solves the problem for me. However, you may consider hiring someone to answer the phone for you.
"Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." - Edward R. Murrow
Since I ditched the landline and went totally cellular, I have gotten maybe 3 unwanted calls in the last 6 years. That may not be an option everywhere, though.
I love radio.
Not all robocalls are subject to Do Not Call List restrictions. Churches, Political pandering, and some other categories of calls are not restricted. Only telemarketing calls are subject tothis restriction.
Best thing you can do is answer and say "Hello" once and then wait for a response from the caller. Most automated call systems will not detect a single "Hello" as an answered call, and you can easily interpret the silence as a robocaller waiting for you to say "Hello" again to connect you to the waiting pond scum...err... agent.
Another thing that can work is to put the SIT tones as the first part of your answering machine message. Many automated systems will bail out when they hear this rather than waste any more time on the call. Those zapper things play the first tone of this.
"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." - Robert A Heinlein
I have a free program that automatically ID's the incoming call (through your caller ID) then performs any number of different actions - plays what-ever audio file I want (comes with several standard ones plus you can easily make your own), or simply hangs up.
The only downside is the phone has to ring at least once for the caller ID to tell who is calling, so it doesn't stop all the ringing, but works pretty well on any caller you wish. Once you have one spammer ID'd, the program will do what-ever you want to that specific caller, so you can set it up to handle any number of callers in many different fashions.
Now, I'm away from home and can't at the moment remember the name of the darn thing!! Once my brain clears up, I'll post it. It is entirely free. You just need to hook your computer to a cheap USB modem or other and obviously run it all the time, which I do anyway.
I deal with unwanted callers in a number of ways, first of which is caller ID, second tier is my answering machine, third tier is just being flat out ornery...
Yesterday a call came in for my dad - dead almost 3 years now...."Hello, may I speak to Mr. R" "I'm sorry, it's long distance to hell." "I beg your pardon?" "I said that it's a long distance call to Hell, he's dead more than two years now" "Oh...."
I once had a caller conviced that he had been connected to the Flight Deck of the USS John C. Stennis, which was in the PG doing operations at the time I got this call. I had the guy going, when I asked for his number as Navy Investigations wanted to know how he'd gotten connected to THIS phone..he disconnected quickly....
I pay every month for the bloody insturment, damned if I'll let another person control me with it....
You pays your money and takes your chances: The contents of this posting are personal opinions. Persons trying to find motive, plot, logic, truth or beauty will be punshed severely under law.
A better solution than either whitelisting or blacklisting requires all callers to enter a code number to allow a ring. That kills robocalls right off. I thought that device could do it. In any case, it defaults to blocking a large number of the calls one doesn't usually want to receive.
Originally Posted by KT1F