Tired of receiving robocalls on your landline? Frustrated that all the telemarketers of the world seem to have your landline number? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. We are sufferers in the same boat.
Statistics show that there are 182.7 million robocalls made in the U.S.A. every day (Dalbey, 2019), which means that the robocall industry, although illegal, is a billion-dollar industry. In 2016 the aggregate amount of robocalls received by Americans was already a preposterous number: 29.3 billion. But then it rose even further in 2017 by 19 percent to 30.5 billion (Weisbaum, 2018). Since then there has been a consistent incline noted in the number of robocalls made in U.S.A. In 2018, Americans received 47.8 billion robocalls, which increased 22 percent last year in 2019 to 58.5 billion (Snider, 2020). It is obvious that calls by telemarketers, spam calls and robocalls are not going to end anytime soon. So the million dollar question is: how do I stop unwanted calls on my landline? Fortunately, there are a number of ways to protect your landline number from being bombarded with unsolicited calls.
Understanding the Difference:
Before we explain how to stop unwanted calls on your landline, let us first discuss the difference between robocalls and spam calls. If the call you received is a computerized, pre-recorded message, it’s a robocall. Such calls are a variant of spam calls, which is the broad term used for all unsolicited calls with irrelevant and/or inappropriate messages designed to steal your money. Spam calls can include robocalls as well as advertisement calls made by telemarketers. They can be either from a live person or computerized messages.
Most of the unsolicited calls you receive are made by scammers through the internet, which is why call blocking is the most effective method you have of stopping them. Call blocking refers to any device and/or technology which can aid you in stopping most of these illegal calls before they reach you (Federal Trade Commission, 2019).
Such calls are not merely a hindrance to your time; they are in fact specifically designed to rip you off. That’s why both phone companies as well as the government are trying to introduce measures to help you fight against them. The Federal Communications Commission of The United States of America has described a number of guidelines to help you protect yourself from receiving unsolicited calls on your landline (Federal Trade Commission, 2019):
- First and foremost you need to find out what kind of home phone you have. There are different types of call blocking services available depending on the type of telephone you own. It is possible that instead of a traditional telephone, you own a VoIP service. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol simply means that you make your calls over the internet rather than through copper phone lines. You can find out what type of telephone you own from your phone carrier.
- Call your phone carrier’s customer service department or go on their website to check if you are eligible for any call-blocking service they offer or recommend for your landline. If they do provide such a service, they can guide you on how to activate it and whether it is free of charge or not.
- For traditional telephones, FCC recommends buying and installing a call-blocking device or a hardware call blocker. These are small boxes that you can connect to your telephone. You can feed numbers you want blocked which get added to its pre-programmed list of several-thousand known spam numbers. Other such devices use whitelists which is a list of numbers approved by you. All other numbers will be blocked before they can reach you (Krasnoff, 2019).
- FCC also gives you the option of reporting spam calls at ftc.gov/complaint (Federal Trade Commission, 2019).
Apart from FCC’s recommendations, there are other measures you can take to protect yourselves from unwanted calls made to your landline, all free of charge.
There are numerous third party apps available online which work as spam call and robocall blockers. Nomorobo and Jolly Roger Telephone Co. in particular, are quite effective in blocking spam calls on your landlines (Krasnoff, 2019). Nomorobo is specifically for VoIP phones (and recently, mobile phones too). The app boasts having stopped over 1,565,906,701 robocalls to date (Nomorobo, 2020). Jolly Roger Telephone Co. on the other hand works on traditional telephones in addition to cellular phones. It has a unique way of fighting against robocalls. It uses an automated answering service which deploys bots to answer all the spam calls and robocalls being made to your number. The bots act as interested parties to waste the scammers’ time. Their strategy is to work on the offensive side rather than defensive (Berger, 2019).
Screening calls is another simple yet highly effective deterrent. Answer the numbers you recognize and ignore the ones you don’t. If it’s someone important, they can leave a message on your answering machine and you can either pick up while they’re leaving a message or call them back.
You also have the option of freeing yourself from spam calls through Anonymous Call Rejection. Almost all phone companies have added this feature to their landline service; all you need to do is avail it. To activate this service simply dial *77 on your home phone. You will then hear three short beeps indicating that the service has been enabled. By doing so, you will ensure that all the calls which read as anonymous, private or blocked do not reach you. To deactivate, dial *87 and follow instructions (Jolly, 2017).
You can also avoid getting spammed by robocalls by taking some preventative measures. Changing your voicemail so that it reveals none of your personal information is a good idea. You don’t want to give telemarketers information they can use to put you on their records. Avoid answering calls from unknown numbers. If you do answer one, and realize it’s a spam call, immediately hang up. Never say yes to any questions asked by these scammers (posing as authentic people), nor confirm any personal information over the phone. Your answers can be recorded and used as consent for purchases you did not make. Many times these callers claim to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or some such authority. Do not fall for such a scam; official authorities will always send mail first before calling. They also never threaten to go straight to the police “unless you reply to their message within 24 hours.” If still in doubt, you can always look up the correct number online on their official website and talk to them directly. You can also register your landline numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry at https://www.donotcall.gov/ to try and limit the number of spam calls you get (Dalbey, 2019).
By installing call blockers, apps like Nomorobo and Jolly Roger, and by taking the above mentioned preventative measures, you can stop the relentless spam calls that seem to have taken over your landline. Most of these measures are free and require your effort only in the initial installing. Once done, you can rid yourself of most of the robocalls you receive. If you have any further queries on how to stop unwanted calls from reaching your landline, feel free to call us at 888-582-4177 or 617-963-0004. At Community Phone, we treat our customers like family. Our staff is trained to provide you with the best service. You receive hands-on help at Community Phone, oftentimes directly from the CEO!
- Berger, S. (2019, March 11). Shark Tank: This company fights back against telemarketers with funny bots. Retrieved April 6, 2020, from CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/11/shark-tank-jolly-roger-fights-telemarketers-with-funny-robots.html
- Dalbey, B. (2019, November 21). Robocalls Hit Record Level In October: Why Nuisance Calls Spiked. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from Patch: https://patch.com/us/across-america/robocalls-hit-record-level-october-why-nuisance-calls-spiked
- Federal Trade Commission. (2019, June). How to Block Unwanted Calls. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-block-unwanted-calls
- Jolly, J. (2017, May 1). How to beat robocallers and telemarketers on your landline . Retrieved April 4, 2020, from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/04/30/how-beat-robocallers-and-telemarketers-your-landline/101041228/
- Krasnoff, B. (2019, February 12). How to battle spam on your landline phone. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/12/18220804/how-to-stop-phone-spam-landline-scam-calls
- (2020, April 6). Using Nomorobo. Retrieved April 6, 2020, from Nomorobo: https://nomorobo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/360002011751
- Snider, M. (2020, January 17). Robocalls rang up a new high in 2019. Two or more daily is average in some states. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/01/15/robocalls-americans-got-58-5-billion-2019/4476018002/
- Weisbaum, H. (2018, January 17). It's not just you — Americans received 30 billion robocalls last year. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/it-s-not-just-you-americans-received-30-billion-robocalls-n838406