Spam calls are annoying. Robo calls can be even more so, as you can't even tell "Heather from account services" to take you off their list. Robo calls may come in to both cell and landlines, and can leave you seriously considering leaving your phone off the hook for good. This is especially true if you work from home or otherwise need to keep a landline (such as for security or medical reasons). So, how do you deal with those unwanted calls?
On Your Home Phone
You have a number of weapons on your side in the battle against robo calls, although it can be very hard to get rid of them altogether. Calls have reached epidemic proportions, with many people reporting that they get multiple calls a day, many of them illegal. Here are some things you can do:
- Make use of the Federal Do Not Call list. This will stop most to all legitimate telemarketers, but is of limited utility against robocallers and scammers. When they are making illegal calls anyway, they seldom care about whether you are on the list. However, it can deal with high pressure salesmen or recruiters. Registration is free and easy. Some calls can still go through, including charities, political groups, surveys and collections. You should report any unwanted calls you receive after being on the registry for 31 days.
- Make use of caller ID. If you get a call and do not recognize the number, you can let it go to voice mail. If it turns out to be a legitimate caller, you can always pick up then or call them back. If you need to add Caller ID, Buckeye Broadband phones are open 24/7 and you can call anytime to add it!
- If you do get a robo call, hang up right away, without saying anything. Do not press any numbers on your phone, as this tells them it's a legitimate number that they can keep bothering. Never try to engage the robot in conversation. Most especially do not say the word "yes," as there really is a scam where they record your affirmative and then use it to steal your identity, usually by authorizing fraudulent charges via credit cards. If somebody says "Can you hear me?" and you don't know who it is, immediately hang up.
- If you have a digital landline, you should be able to log into your account and see the numbers the unwanted calls are coming from. You can block those specific numbers, although be aware that the worst scammers spoof and/or rotate their numbers. You can also report problem numbers to your phone provider. The most annoying form of spoofing is when the call appears to come from your own number.
- Report the unwanted call to the FCC. They can't act on specific complaints, but it's helpful in the overall fight against the robots. Make sure to provide the actual number the call came from. Other requested details might be the company the call claims to come from, the time of the call, etc. You will not get any actual response, but that does not mean they aren't taking it seriously.
- If you are getting a lot of calls to your home phone, consider turning off the ringer. Obviously, if you are running a business and using that number or are a primary contact, you may not be able to do this. However, it has proven quite effective for many people. Scammers will often give up on a number if nobody ever answers the phone.
- Turn on anonymous call rejection. This blocks a lot of robo calls because they don't want caller ID picking up their number. You can turn it on by picking up your phone and pressing *77 and off by pressing *87. This is less likely to block legitimate calls than a blocking box.
- The best and easiest solution is to add RoBo Call Blocker for $4.99 to your Buckeye Home Phone. RoBo Call Blocker intercepts robo calls by scanning the blacklist of numbers known to be robo callers. The blacklist is maintained by the North America Numbering Plan for the Public Switched Telephone Network and is updated regularly.
If you’d like to use any of these solutions, or need any help using them, Buckeye Broadband Brainiacs are available 24/7 by calling 419.742.4371. You can add Caller ID, Anonymous Call Rejection, and of course the new RoBo Call Blocker by giving us a call.
Bonus Tips: On Your Cell Phone
Cell phones can also be put on the federal do not call list, and you can also take steps such as hanging up immediately on robo calls, blocking specific numbers, and reporting the call.
Additionally, you can use a robo call blocking app, and your carrier may provide call blocking features. Sadly, some of these limit the number of numbers you can block, which makes them less than useful (Verizon, for example, only lets you block 5 numbers for free). Some robo call blocking apps will work on both your cell phone and a VoIP or digital landline.
Another step you can take is to subscribe to a robo blocking service. These robo blockers are intended to intercept suspicious calls before they reach you. If they are well designed, they will "whitelist" legitimate callers such as your doctor's office. Not all of these services are free, but most are inexpensive and will pay for themselves.