You usually use a cell phone for most (or all) of your calls, provided you call at all. However, if you still have a landline phone, it can be difficult to fight the block of spam calls that you will inevitably receive. According to a new report cited in Washington Post the Americans received 26.3 billion robokals in 2018, an increase of 46 percent over the previous year.
Unfortunately, fixed telephones are equally vulnerable to spam calls as mobile phones are, especially from (mostly) bluffs outside the country trying to sell solar panels or holiday homes, convince you that the caller is from the IRS or bully you to call back for to milk your phone bill.
It can at least be very annoying, interrupt your work, dinner or favorite TV show. The more aggressive conversations ̵1; those that threaten you with arrests if you do not send "IRS" a check – may be disturbing. And in the worst case, they can actually succeed when they target more vulnerable relatives and / or friends.
The government has tried to enter its National Do Not Call Registry, which will prevent unwanted telemarketers. However, this is basically a voluntary effort: If you send your telephone number to the register, the legal companies are officially obliged not to send sales calls to your line. And all those less than legitimate companies that seem to make the majority of spam calls? Yes, you can guess how effective the registry is with them.
Get rid of spam
So what can you do? There are a few ways (apart from taking the phone off the hook) that you can protect your landline phone from some scam calls. There are of course also a number of methods for stopping spam on your mobile phone.
One of the first advice that is often given is simply not to answer any calls if you do not recognize the number that is calling. If the call is legitimate, the caller leaves a message and you can call back. For the most part, it is good advice. However, it cannot work in households where you are waiting for important calls from unknown numbers (eg plumbers or hospitals) or for people who do not feel uncomfortable not answering a phone.
While there are several anti-spam apps out there for mobile phones, there is only a limited number of VoIP fixed telephones (in fact, there are fewer alternatives than a few years ago.) One of the best known and most effective is called Nomorobo. When you register your number with Nomorobo, your phone simultaneously rings in both your home and through the company's screen. If the number is in the Nomorobo database as a junk call, the system interrupts the call and hangs up. The application works on most VoIP phones, such as those using Verizon FiOS, Optimum or Vonage. But if you are still on an old-fashioned copper line, you have no luck.
Most other anti-spam services that are still available for landlines have either a monthly fee or work more with companies than with individuals. There is at least one that aims to help disgruntled property users come back to unwanted and obnoxious callers – the living, anyway. Jolly Roger Telephone Co. Lets you trigger one of several script robot voices that it says will frustrate the telemarketer at the other end.
- Contact your supplier to see if there is any anti-spam software. Many do it. Some vendors, such as Spectrum Communications, offer third-party solutions such as Nomorobo through their websites.
- If your carrier does not offer anti-spam software, it may be possible to flag you when the caller is probably a robot or spam. Verizon may currently flag spam calls on their phones, but it still does not have spam blocking software. According to the company, it will start providing this service in March.
- If the fixed network is still on an old-fashioned copper line, you can buy a hardware blocker. Most will be pre-programmed with several thousand known spam numbers (although it won't be as current as a software-based service), and they make it easy to quickly add new numbers when they enter.
Spam calls can be annoying or even scary, and while it may not be possible to stop each one from coming through, you can at least block and / or avoid most. Good luck.
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