Call Blocking?

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August 15, 2017 by phicks2012

Like most people nowadays, I long have had (and used) Caller ID on my land line to avoid a nearly constant barrage of nuisance calls. In the past, if I didn’t recognize the name or number of a caller, I simply did not answer, and the call was sent to a voicemail message that said:

“Congratulations! You have reached voicemail! If you’ve gotten this far the chances are that you’re a nuisance caller who needs to take this number off of your call list — since it’s on the Do Not Call List anyway. If you’re a real person with a legitimate reason for calling and want to leave a message for Jason, please feel free to try. If you’re calling for me, I do not check voicemail on this line. Please hang up and call my cell. If I know you, then you probably know that number.
If this is an obscene caller, psychopath, or serial killer, please call 770-483-6600 and leave a message.
Thank you.”

I generally carry and answer my cell phone because (so far) the annoyance callers (other than ‘Heather’ at ‘Credit Card Services’) haven’t really gotten hold of that number, but I do have rental tenants who seem to want to call me directly instead of going through the proper channels, and occasionally I do get badly-timed calls. As a result, it also has a voicemail message:

“You have reached my voicemail.
If you’ve gotten this far then I’m unavailable to answer the phone, or it’s on charge somewhere, or I’m on another call. I do not respond to texts while driving, showering, sleeping, busy with another call, or otherwise too busy to do so, and according to my friends and family, I’m actually allowed not to be reachable 24/7.
If this has anything at all to do with rental property, call <Name and number of my property manager>. She is the property manager; she is the contact person. That’s <Number>.
If this is an obcene caller, psychopath, or serial killer, please call 770-483-6600 and leave a message.
Thank you.”

Obviously, I really like that “obscene caller, psychopath or serial killer” line, and (by the way) 770-483-6600 is the phone number of one of the local Police Departments, just in case you might be wondering! 😉

As I said before, usually I only get calls from friends, family, and ethical businesses (with whom I actually do business) on my cell phone, but my land line — OMG. I sometimes get 5-10 nuisance calls a day from computers, living telemarketers, and people (and computers) supporting political candidates — most of whom I will never vote for. However, even though I never pick up an extension (except by accident) for such callers, I still have to listen to the phone ring and check Caller ID, and that annoys me. This is ESPECIALLY true if I have to sprint from the kitchen to SEE the caller ID readout, which only stays up on my TV screen for a massive Three Seconds before vanishing again. 😉

So, several months ago I took a chance and ordered something called the “Sentry Call Screener” on-line, and it looked really promising. Most call screening relies upon programming a “Black List” of callers to ‘block’, but we all know that nuisance callers spoof numbers and never call twice from the same one, so this almost NEVER works with callers who have no ethics to begin with. The box I ordered promised to block all calls from “unidentified” callers, and all names or numbers NOT included on a “White List” of “acceptable” callers. YES!! *Fistpump*

WOW! That meant I could program in the names and numbers of friends and family who might possibly try to call me or Jason on my land line — most don’t — and have them allowed through at least to voicemail. But I wasn’t completely sure (in hindsight) whether or not the system would work with my Comcast Digital Voice phone service, so I called Comcast-Xfinity to find out.

SURPRISE!! It turned out that while they said the box I got would probably work fine, Comcast also had another option (at no additional charge)! It was called Nomorobo, and once set up it was supposed to block ALL robo-calls. That ALSO sounded promising!

So, I set it up, and was really excited about it, figuring that if it blocked all of the robocalls I might not even NEED the Sentry box!! On the other hand, I WANTED it to stop robocalls before the phone even RANG, and unfortunately the setup for Nomorobo required that I set the number of rings for the same number my existing service allowed prior to going to voicemail. That meant THREE — because I had to leave the ring number for my regular service set to three to allow us time to answer (vanishingly rare) legitimate calls. As a result, the phone was still going to ring three times, (just as it had already been doing) before blocking the robocall. The only apparent difference was that the robocaller would be cut off before having the option of leaving a voice message, and they don’t do that anyway. *Sigh*

I was disappointed when I found out about that, because I figured that it might not really make a difference, but maybe every little thing helps! Right?

In any case, I wound up installing that Sentry box on the line anyway because I could set THAT to block unwanted calls after only a single ring, or no rings at all. Then only if a call were to get through THAT system would it reach Nomorobo screening, and only if it got through THAT would a message be left. Let’s hear it for TRIPLE SCREENING!!

The generic recorded message on the Sentry box says:

“If you are a telemarketer or solictor of any purpose, please hang up and remove our phone number from your list. Otherwise, press zero and leave a message after the beep. Thank you.”

I started out with 19 numbers programmed in, and a list of several more I needed to get, but it was a start, and the first call to come in after installation only rang once, LOL! I looked at the Caller ID. SPAMMER!!!

So if you happen to be anyone I know who tries to call on my land line and gets blocked — you can blame telemarketers, political marketers and pollsters, and scammers as you’re pressing zero to leave a message. If they would leave me the Hell alone, this multi-layered security wouldn’t have been a necessity! Besides, everybody already hates them anyway, so THERE!!! 😉

P.S. Since setting up the Sentry box I called my cell provider about blocking unwanted calls on my cell too — primarily robocalls from ‘Heather’ at ‘Credit Card Services’. Their computer continues to call from spoofed numbers and (wherever they are actually located) they refuse to stop annoying me with their credit card offers. My provider recommended an App called “Hiya” that operates off of a list (provided and updated by them) of known spammers, scammers, and spoofs to either notify me of suspected nuisance calls or outright block them (my choice). I hope it won’t wind up blocking any legitimate callers, and still block ‘Heather’ and her annoying ilk. Wish me luck!!

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phicks2012

phicks2012

I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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