Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How many of you are experiencing a huge spike of ad phone calls... or silent phone calls?

For a while we were being harassed almost daily by phone calls from construction companies, then it changed to several times a day boiler room type calls for a variety of causes.  Along with these, we get silent calls where no one is on the line.  My daughter thinks it's a plot to make us drop our land line....  What happened to the no-call list anyway?


Steve Bates said...

An AT&T rep once explained to me that the various "baby Bells" are not permitted to block calls from other baby Bells. So placing your number on the no-call list will not prevent your receiving long-distance phone spam. Boiler room operators have discovered and exploited this fact.

Needing to replace our home phones about a year ago, we bought some Panasonic phones through Amazon. These are not as new and feature-rich as some you can find, but they do allow us to do two useful things:

1) block all calls which have neither name nor number caller ID, and

2) maintain a list of specific numbers to be blocked, to which you can either add manually or save from an incoming call.

The features are imperfectly implemented... the phones were designed in the generation in which some local phone numbers were 7 digits and some were 10 digits, and local 10-digit numbers had to be dialed without the 1+ prefix, so you have to figure out which form to block ("1-aaa-nnnnnnn" or "aaa-nnnnnnn"). But on the whole it works pretty well. Now, the phone rings once, displays the message "CALL BLOCKED" and hangs up. The manual says the caller receives a trunk-busy (fast busy) signal. The blocking takes place in your phone, not in either of the baby Bells. Not perfect but not bad!

Marcellina said...

I am so sorry that you have to live with this. My phone will ring occasionally with a local marketer on the other end, wanting me to take a quiz or sign up for the newspaper. But I have never had to put up with the constant ringing for money that you in America have. Campaign calls are not allowed either. My parents suffer through those times with endless calls.
Steve, thank you for this info, I'll be seeing if I can block such calls for my parents this summer.

ellroon said...

Thanks, Steve. We are getting to that point, but need to see if our phone will do that. Does it cost to specifically block numbers?

I'm envious, Marcellina. One more reason to appreciate how Europe is doing things....

Steve Bates said...

"Does it cost to specifically block numbers?"

NO, because the blocking happens in your phone, not at the exchange.

The phones we have will block about 50 specific phone numbers, plus all calls from completely anonymous sources (i.e., neither name nor number show in Caller ID). As telemarketers seem to change their outgoing numbers gradually over time, 50 at any given moment seems to be enough. The two features in combination mean that we are afflicted with each nuisance number only once.

Well, OK, sometimes twice, since we have two completely separate accounts each with its own drop and its own phone.