call blocker device suggestions?

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Mark Lloyd wrote:

Correct. Inform the few that you really need or want to talk to. The rest can hang up. Those that know me can call my cell phone.

Yes. Many just start in with their message and the answering machine starts recording. That includes my dentist's office as I found out last week. However, it knocked out about 30% or so of the junk calls and all calls from real live beggars. I have the answering machine to not ring at all.
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Per Mark Lloyd:

Seems to me like the only test would be two phones side-by-side on the same exchange: one "With" and one "Without" and some record of calls to each.
Having said that, I have had the SIT tone for "Number not working" in the beginning of my answering machine announcement for at least 4 years now and I do not perceive any improvement.
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Hi Bill,
On 3/29/2015 5:12 AM, bill ashford wrote:

Often, there is a delay (sometimes a few seconds) while the "dialer" tries to track down a "human" to speak with you.

CID is a useless service. It is too easily spoofed. You need an authentication method that *you* control, not one that TPC *poorly* implements!

See above. Regardless of how "smart" it is, you're still relying on the information provided by the CID service (or, dealing with "blocked").

Yes, if *all* it does is require a particular DTMF tone-pair, then anything above $5 is ridiculous (e.g., DX.com sorts of prices)

We've adopted a simple solution in the past: answering machine with "factory default" outgoing message (so no information about our identities is revealed, why we aren't answering the phone, etc. Folks who know us don't need that information; folks that don't, *shouldn't* need it!).
The ringer is also turned off (unless we are expecting a "call back" from a friend, doctor, etc.). Every day or two, we notice if there are any messages for us and screen them when we are in the mood. Machine is digital (aren't they all, nowadays) so *if* a caller was unsolicited, just pressing ERASE after the first two words is enough to delete the message and advance to the next. Callers who don't leave messages cost us nothing (time).
This approach works without incurring the cost of (spoofable and therefore worthless) CID service. The downside is we don't see messages for hours or days at a time. OTOH, friends know they can more promptly reach us via other means.
If all of your callers are made aware of it, you can also eliminate the outbound message entirely (IME, this makes callers very uneasy -- despite the fact that they should instinctively *know* that the "beep" means "leave your message, now"). Or, replace it with the "service disconnected" message. Some robodialers will detect the pipe tones at the start of the message and remove your name from their list automatically.
I've been trying to come up with an interactive scheme that would allow the "attendant" to screen the calls in real time. I.e., quizzing callers to verify their identities. Presumably, that would eliminate the "automated" callers who wouldn't be able to comprehend the questions asked of them: "Press <random number> to be connected" as any "standardized" number could easily be handled by a dialer knowing that number a priori
"Press <random number> to be disconnected, and <other number> to be connected" as a trivial workaround would be to press *all* digits in a quick burst to defeat the previous option.
"What's <some trivial arithmetic challenge>?" to try the patience of a human solicitor. etc.
For frequent callers, I am hoping to use speaker recognition techniques to make *their* experience less tedious (like your secretary recognizing your wife's voice and putting her through, automatically)
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wrote:

Why would nobody be on the line? Doesn't make sense unless it's harassment. Change your phone number.
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On 3/29/2015 1:09 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

You did not read my earlier reply.
A robocall is initiated by a computer, not a person. When you answer, the computer is supposed to connect you to a live pitchman. Sometimes, however, the call center is understaffed, which means there is no available pitchman. If you stay on the line and repeatedly say "Hello", you might eventually connect to a live person.
--
David E. Ross

Why do we tolerate political leaders who
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On Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:15:43 -0700, "David E. Ross"

I'm questioning why this would happen "upwards of 10 calls daily." I get a robocall about once a every two weeks. Charities and political calls are exempt from the "do not call" list. Some use robocalling. I've learned to recognize the soundless delay and simply hang up the phone. If I'm not quick enough somebody comes on the other end. The OP is getting '"upwards of 10 calls daily" and doesn't know who is calling; something is wrong with that from her end. The "do not call" list has worked for me. In the 10 years or so since I entered my number unwanted calls are few and far between. I've told maybe only 2 callers that they've violated the "do not call" list and they never called again. This guy's wife is getting thousands more unwanted calls than me. That's pure harassment in my book. Or bullshit. Shouldn't happen.
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Quite a lot of these callers are using predictive or "robo-dialing" systems. Their computer system calls phone numbers, and tries to detect the presence of a "human answer" - somebody who picks up and says "Hello?" or something like that.
Only when the computer detects a human answer, does it start playing its recorded sales pitch, or ring the call through to a human telemarketer who reads the pitch. If the computer detects what sounds like an answering machine message, it just hangs up. If the computer detects a human answer, but all of the human telemarketers are busy annoying other consumers, the computer hangs up.
In some other cases, the telemarketers seem to be making short calls (with no content) in the hope that people will see the "missed call" indication on their Caller ID system, and call back... at which point the marketer tries their sales pitch. This may be a somewhat feeble attempt to avoid the Do Not Call list, because the marketer didn't *technically* make a sales call to the consumer (just a call with no message) and the consumer ended up calling the marketer back and is thus "fair game" for a sales pitch.

Since many of these robo-dialers work their way through whole ranges of phone numbers, doing so won't help much.
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Per Dave Platt:

Supposedly there was a scam using that strategy: the CallerID number would be one of those exchanges like the phone sex operators use where the caller gets charged per minute and a percentage of the charge goes to the operator.
--
Pete Cresswell

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Such call are, in general, already illegal in the United States, and have been for some years.
Robo-dialing and the playing of automated announcements are not permitted. Making marketing calls to people who have registered their phone number on the "Do Not Call" list is explicitly illegal.
The law has next to no teeth, though. It is rare for the authorities to actually prosecute cases - it takes a *lot* of complaints to pressure them into doing the "legwork" needed to trace back these sorts of calls to the originator(s), and gather the evidence needed to secure a criminal conviction or a civil fine.
If I recall, the law does give the offended consumer (who receives such calls) the right of private action - i.e. the right to file a lawsuit in civil court against the marketer. Unfortunately (as with junk fakes) it is both difficult and expensive to track down the offender, collect proof that s/he was the one who called, identify the business or business owner, file suit, serve the suit, go to court, make your case, win, get a judgement, and then actually collect.
A lot of these calls come from "boiler room" telemarketing operations, which can set up and shut down on a moment's notice. By using Voice over IP they can make calls to anywhere, from anywhere, with excellent anonymity. And, a fair number of such calls are now originated from outside the U.S., so applying the TCPA law becomes almost impossible.

A couple of years ago, I switched my wife's business landline over from a dedicated hard-line to a voice-over-IP provider. The incoming call comes to an Asterisk server I run. It has a multi-layer defense against junk calls:
- Any call which is on our private "blacklist" is immediately rejected with a "CONGESTION" error.
- Calls from outside our local area codes go to a "Please wait to be connected" voice message, and then a 10-to-15 second delay before the phone / answering machine are rung. This gets rid of a lot of junk calls - they don't hang on the line long enough to get past the delay.
- I can dial "666" from any of our VoIP phones, and the system will read back the number of the last call on her line. I can then hit "6" to add it to the blacklist. If I head a ring-no-answer from her office I call 666, write down the number, run a quick Web check to see if there are telemarketing complaints against it, and if so, call back and "6" it to the blacklist.
I'm strongly tempted to add an automatic Web lookup to the "telemarketing complaint" web site, while the call is still in progress (or immediately after) and blacklist numbers that have been mentioned repeatedly or recently.
Unfortunately, none of the above helps with our main home land-line, which is still olde-fashioned analog (I don't want to get rid of it as it's pretty certain to work even during a power failure or Internet outage).
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wrote:

I bought this on Amazon. Works great. $40 Has a white list and black list as well as a screening mode.
SENTRY Dual Mode Call Blocker. Block 100% Robo Calls. Stop All Junk Calls, Election Calls, Survey Calls. 9999 Number Capacity
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On 03/29/2015 10:01 PM, Ashton Crusher wrote:

After reading all of the suggestions here, this unit is what I decided on except version 2 because it looks like I can add numbers manually. I still have some questions about it though that perhaps you can answer:
1) Will my caller ID still work? I'm hoping to install the unit in front of my cordless phone base unit to which a pair of cordless phones are linked to. The cordless base unit has an announcing caller ID.
2) I'm probably going to run it in "advanced" mode. If so, I'm hoping the phone won't ring at all unless it is a white listed number. Is that the case, or does it still have one audible ring? The whole reason I'm getting something like this is to stop ALL ringing from non-wanted numbers. An elderly person in the house is constantly awakened by the spammers, even after one ring, so I'm hoping advanced mode won't let the ringing through.
To all others here who have provided suggestions: much appreciated but there have been issues with some of the recommendations. For one, I don't have any cells or android operating phones, so those apps wouldn't have helped. Also, the website that screens the unwanted callers is not available for my area. Verizon block is apparently only available as an extra monthly charge, which I sure didn't want to add as I just dropped two unnecessary extras recently. Unfortunately, my cordless Uniden phones don't have the ability to block calls on their own. So that meant either changing my number and/or getting a private number which costs, or upgrading to FIOS which I definitely didn't want to do, getting rid of Verizon altogether and going with someone else or getting an inbound device that would do the screening job. I chose the latter both due to the simplicity, cost and convenience. Now I'll see if I made the right decision. There was another device I looked at first called the Teleblocker, which didn't even need caller id, but it is not being made anymore and I wanted something still manufactured and could be returned if problems or doesn't work like I want it to.
Thanks to all, Bill
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On Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 9:18:45 AM UTC-4, bill ashford wrote:

I don't know what Verizon is doing there, but here in NJ, if you have cable TV, internet and phone, the phone winds up less than the typical Verizon copper phone bill, which is ~$50 a month here. The effective rate for VOIP FIOS phone I think is more like $30, so I don't see why moving to that would be more expensive. Even if you have the lowest cost, metered copper service, that's probably >$20 a month. They have the pricing set to encourage people to move to VOIP.
Or you could do what I previously suggested, but an Ooma and get rid of Verizon phone. The Ooma is about $100 new, cheaper on Ebay. And after that, you only pay fees and taxes which are about $3.75 a month. For an additional $10/mth, Ooma premier gives you all kinds of call blocking, call forwarding and similar features.
Getting 10 hangups a day is not normal, not in my experience and I don't think I'd try to bandaid it. If I was having 10 hangup calls a day, I'd go to Ooma, get a new number, problem solved and cost is down to $3.75 a month. Unless of course having a different number is a big burden for some reason.
And to those saying this happens a lot, with any new number, etc, not in my experience. In the last 18 months I tried MajicJack, Nettalk, and now have Ooma. Had different numbers with all of them and not a single hangup type call. I'm sure it's possible, that you could get a bad number, but it hasn't happened to me.

What are you paying Verizon every month now?
Now I'll see if I

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wrote:

Yes, caller ID still works. I have an announcing "base" on my system too and it says the incoming phone number.

If it's like mine there will be one ring even for blacklisted numbers. For it to receive and decode the caller ID info it seems like it winds up having to let one ring thru. However, I'm running mine in parallel with the rest of my phones. I think you can insert it in series in which case it might not send anything thru, and hence no ringing, unless it's actually allowing the call to get thru. It depends a bit on how you want to set up your answering machine and where you want to put it and where you have your wires running, etc as to whether it can be set up parallel versus serially. I didn't want to rearrange a whole bunch of my phone stuff to do the serial setup so I just stuck it on an open jack.

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Ashton Crusher wrote:

There's a timing diagram here for Caller ID. Packet burst is after the first ring.
http://courses.cs.tamu.edu/rabi/past-projects/99a/g6/Image2.gif
Gotta love student projects.
http://courses.cs.tamu.edu/rabi/past-projects/99a/g6/final.html
Paul
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Seems like it would have been better to send the caller ID burst first. Any idea why they didn't?
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Ashton Crusher wrote:

Interesting. I didn't know there were variations.
http://www.callerid.com/files/4113/3650/6859/POS_V8_Manual.pdf
"CALLER ID DELIVERY TYPE
Caller ID signaling is sent by the local phone company's central office in either of 4 different electronic formats.
Bellcore 202 signaling is sent between the first and second ring in the countries such as the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and others.
Caller ID is sent *before* the first ring by British Telecom (BT) in the United Kingdom. Similarly, Caller ID is sent before the first ring or after a very short ring burst using ETSI signaling that is prevalent in eastern and northern Europe.
In countries or regions where older central office equipment is used Caller ID is delivered via DTMF (touch-tones). Contact CallerID.com for a different version of this unit if Caller ID is delivered via DTMF signaling. "
So apparently there is a workable scheme, where the CallerID is delivered before the ringing voltage.
It's possible the first presentation of Ringing Voltage, could "open" the CallerID module to listening to the line. If the CallerID is listening all the time, if there is a noise burst on the line, you might get random displays appearing on the LCD display of your CallerID box. The error checking may not be fancy enough, to stop all error-filled packets.
Still, if BT can do it, why can't we ? :-) It would be interesting to see if they patented their idea :-)
Paul
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writes: {}

{} As opposed to the LC display, I presume ... (-:
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Her [Valerie Singleton's] main job on /Blue Peter/ was to stop unpredictable
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J. P. Gilliver (John) wrote:

"you might get random information appearing on the liquid crystal display of your CallerID box"
Paul
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writes:

Sorry, I was just teasing. LCD display, along with PIN number and HIV virus, are probably the commonest forms of PNS syndrome. In the case of LCD, it's probably because its predecessor, the LED display, _wasn't_ tautological (combined with the feeling lots of people have that abbreviations with only two letters are unsettling).
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.
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On 4/3/2015 7:59 AM, J. P. Gilliver (John) wrote:

Caller ID is almost useless in my area. Turns out that the telemarketers are using bogus unassigned local (in area) numbers more and more frequently. Blocking specific out of area area codes still works for some of the calls. I swear that the telemarketers are using the do not call list as a data base to call anyway. To add insult, the calls, when answered, may transfer to another number that is also hidden, or an overseas answering center.
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