Telemarketers

I use Charter as my phone service. They offer several caller services. I wish they would offer a service where you have to press 0 to connect the call. The phone shouldn't even ring at the home without someone pressing 0 to connect. I have suggested this to tech support, but I get the feeling lots more need to make the same request.
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On 4/13/2016 12:55 PM, Seymore4Head wrote:

Any canned, repeatable solution like that would easily be worked-around by the robodialers -- they would emit the tones for '0' as soon as the call was answered (just in case this line happened to have that "feature").
Pick a digit, any digit... OK, we'll just blindly send 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 in a 1 second long medley and satisfy all of the above.
You need something that requires the caller to demonstrate: - comprehension of english (so they are LISTENING to what they will be instructed to do) - the ability to respond to the *current* requirements (not just some general process)
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On Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:03:47 -0700, Don Y

have dialed a number in the past then Charter can route the call through. If the caller is not on the whitelist go to voice mail without ringing the phone.
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On 4/13/2016 4:29 PM, Seymore4Head wrote:

You called the doctor and now he is calling back on another line that you never called. His call goes right to voice mail. Same with the pharmacy telling you your meds are ready. I prefer to answer the few call I get an hang up.
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On 04/13/2016 04:54 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
[snip]

Businesses often make calls from a different number that the one advertised for you to use (different lines for incoming & outgoing makes sense there).

I order refills by internet, and get notified by an automatic system. It won't "press 1".

I look at the called ID and don't answer most calls, and junk callers (usually) don't leave a message. Recent calls I don't want have shown:
* TOLL FREE CALL * <city> <st> * meaningless name (like "FAV", "ETS INC", "customr serv") * OUT OF AREA (at last one of these left a message, and was an IRS scam) * charities (real or fake) like "TEXAS COPS", "MUSCULAR DYSTROP", "DONATE THAT CAR" * SURVEY
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On 04/13/2016 03:03 PM, Don Y wrote:
[snip]

The challenge could be "press 3 to connect" (changing the number each time), then disables ringing if it receives any other tones on the line (so 0123456789 wouldn't work).
I used to have a challenge system on my phone (although the number was always 1). It was not useful. Robocallers never "pressed" 1, and neither did a lot of the callers I wanted to get.
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On 4/14/2016 1:48 PM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

The "challenge" has to be something that the caller engages without any deliberate consideration on their part.
Likewise, the "telephone agent" needs to itself be unobtrusive. A phone that "rings once" has still interrupted you. Worse, it now has you waiting to see if this is a legitimate call, or not. (i.e., any agent acting on your behalf should hide *all* unwanted contacts from you -- not tell you "someone is calling... but, wait... no, you don't want to talk to them, nevermind").
I look at CID for incoming calls. If it is blocked, then I'm almost certain that I don't want to speak to that entity; it's a small hurdle to request that they unblock their CID before calling us -- we have programmed our dialer to automatically do it for the folks in our address books (so those people can have the same respect shown to them that we expect *of* them).
If the CID is obviously bogus (e.g., *my* name), then it is also dumped. (ever received an email from yourself? And, was it something that you actually wanted to read? :> )
When the "agent" answers the phone (on my behalf), it already has *some* information (of dubious reliability) regarding the caller -- if the caller is legitimate. Just like an observant personal secretary would recognize a CID of "Tina Lloyd" as likely related to *you* (or, perhaps known to be your spouse). So, it can then look for *confirmation* of the suspected identity: does the caller *sound* like Tina? (agent has heard tina's voice before and, each time she calls, gets better at "recognizing" it!) Has the caller interrupted the OGM by pressing the N-digit access code that *Tina* knows (which is different from the one that Thomas would use)?
Is the caller attempting contact at a time that is would normally be expected? E.g., I don't expect calls from clients when I'm asleep; they should be using email for that!
Then, how does that potential contact fit with the current "call acceptance" criteria *known* to the telephone agent? Even if it is within the acceptable time/DoW criteria, have we elected enhanced privacy, presently (watching a movie, eating dinner -- the time of which changes from day to day, napping, running errands, etc.)? How much information do we want the agent to *leak* about our current situation? E.g., if we are out of the house, do we want the agent to TELL a caller, that?
And, just like a personal secretary, the caller should be able to interact with the agent: "Would you like me to see if he can come to the phone?" A considerate caller would only respond "Yes" if it was of some importance, knowing that they would be regarded as "pushy" for doing so -- you wouldn't offer this option to "everyone". A caller abusing this might not be offered the option in the future. Or, the agent might elect to *lie*: offer to contact the desired recipient... but "return(FAIL)" instead (so the recipient isn't BOTHERED by the caller!)
Note that a personal secretary would also LEARN from the responses/directions of the recipient. I.e., if he routinely says "take a message" when Bob calls, then there's no need to bother him when Bob calls, again. Instead, go through the motions of letting Bob *think* you've tried to locate the recipient but have failed (just like every other previous attempt!) and are now offering Bob the consolation prize: the ability to leave a message.
[Of course, you can also leave a custom OGM *for* Bob -- so you don't have to be bothered when he calls *or* home at the time: "We'll meet you at the restaurant. We left a few minutes early (which is why we missed your call) so that we could drop off some things at the Post Office -- and you know how slow THEY can be!"]
The more the caller expects to be able to do when calling, the more certain I need to be of his/her identity *and*, with that, the permissions associated! E.g., if a close friend wants to wake me at some ungodly time (e.g., before noon), I really want to be reasonably confident that it IS that friend and not someone who would like to abuse that friend's special state of privilege!
Yet, you want this "verification" action to be natural; like a caller trying to convince your secretary that they really ARE your spouse and you SHOULD be interrupted, regardless of how important the meeting in which you might be engaged!
This implicitly makes it hard for robots and spammers to even KNOW what would be important to YOU. It's not just a "single digit" sort of challenge.
I've been using USENET as a means of testing these learning algorithms. I.e., treat USENET messages as incoming phone calls (they happen at a much higher frequency than real telephone calls so your algorithm "gets a better workout" than if I had to wait for thousands of phone calls to evaluate its effectiveness!) So, USENET messages that I opt NOT to read are the equivalent of incoming phone calls that I've been informed of (by that "telephone agent", played by my news agent!) and have implicitly "told" to ignore. Soon, the messages just don't show up -- because my news agent knows I'm not interested in them.
Just like I won't be bothered by calls from Solar City because the phone agent will have learned that -- when informed they are on the line -- I never want to spend any time talking to them. Even if I don't explicitly say "block all calls from Solar City"!
This seems to work delightfully! I don't have to *do* anything that I wouldn't normally have to do if I had a personal assistant acting on my behalf.
The problem I've yet to resolve is: how to re-enable contacts from folks that my actions have implicitly blocked. I.e., how do I KNOW that Solar City is being blocked (because the agent LEARNED this from observing my actions) and how do I tell it to "forget" what it has learned and, once again, ALLOW contact from Solar City.
[And, to do this without requiring the user to sit in front of a computer screen and "edit" a list of rules/blocks]
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On 4/14/16 5:50 PM, Don Y wrote:

<snip> Given what seems to be available now, I'll trade a "one ring" system, like NoMoRoBo, for having to run over and look at the Caller ID for every call. (Yes, I could carry around a cordless phone w/CiD all day, but I'm not about to do that either).
AYMK, Nomorobo tests all calls against their database of known telemarketers, spammers, etc. If they get a hit, that's the "one ring" and no more. If no hit, then the call is put through as normal. If the hit happens to be "human", they are given a random 2 digit challenge to get the call put through.
Could it be better ? Probably only when the telcos get their act together and offer a comprehensive service like you propose.
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On 4/14/2016 3:10 PM, Retired wrote:

A lot of it depends on your attitude towards The Phone, in general.
I see the phone as existing for the convenience of the CALLER, not the CALLEE. People call when it is convenient for THEM, not *you*. People call when THEY want something (rarely to inquire if YOU want something).
A consequence of this is that they call when it suits THEIR schedule -- which may not be appropriate to YOUR schedule.
E.g., I don't work 9-to-5 but, rather, when I want and on whatever I want. So, YOU calling when YOU are interested in something from me will probably not be at a time when I'm thinking or working on YOUR project -- *if* I'm even working at all!
If I have a question about something, I don't pick up the phone and call you for an immediate answer; because it's probably 2A where I am, who knows what time it will be in YOUR timezone -- and, you're probably asleep (or its YOUR WEEKEND). So, why should you be able to bother me on *my* off times?
[Do I have to decide, ahead of time, what my schedule will be for this week and convey that to you so that you can contact me at an appropriate time -- FOR ME?]
And, how often are those contacts really to address "immediate needs"? How many are folks just wanting to shoot the sh*t? Or, want to muse out loud over a problem they are trying to resolve (Great! More than willing to share my opinions with you! But, on terms that make sense to ME, not you!)
Library calls to tell you a book is overdue -- will it be more or less overdue if I "take a message" instead of dropping what I am doing to field the call when it arrives?
Provider (doctor/dentist/lawyer/accountant/etc.) calls to inform you of an appointment, provide test results, ask for a clarification, etc. Do they REALLY need it at that instant? What would they have done had you not been "HOME"?

So, a scammer that changes their CID can slip through the cracks. How will they handle "Retired's Spouse" for the CID? Or, "Retired's Grandkid"?

So, no way to avoid calls from your boss when you're taking the day off, "sick", etc. No way to tailor your response to the caller.
Boss calls: "(cough) Hi, <sniffle> I'm sorry I can't come to the (cough, cough cough) phone, right now. But, if you leave a <sniffle> message, <snort> I'll try to get back to you..." Friend calls: "I'll meet you at the show at 1:15! Bring munchies!" Kids call: "Sorry, we're both out working our second jobs -- despite our both being well into retirement. Just trying to make ends meet..." Grandkids call: "Hi Timmy! Are you anxious to come and see us, next week??"

I can't see it being offered by a third party as it is too personal and requires too much information about your particular preferences. Along with lots of data collection for each "client" and "caller".
Note that "answering services" are a legacy approach to this problem. For a fee, a human will interact with callers and (hopefully) try to resolve their needs in terms that are appropriate to you (their client).
In the business world, a secretary usually did this -- better (but at a higher cost).
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On 4/14/16 6:33 PM, Don Y wrote:

Nomo use ANI, not CiD, which is the actual # the call was placed from. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_number_identification ANI is not available to consumers, only telcos, or telco-like companies.

Just don't answer, let it go to voice mail like we used to.

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On 4/14/2016 5:17 PM, Retired wrote:

ANI *and* CID can both be hacked. Both rely on trusting the providers. Does that VoIP call center in India that handles LEGITIMATE contacts for your bank, etc. AND abuses from hackers wanting to CLAIM to be your bank strictly follow all rules? Do all of it's clients (running VoIP PBX's of their own) also ensure all data reported is accurate and current?
Ask yourself how police departments are "SWATted". SURELY *they* would have access to the most accurate call identification technologies on the planet!?

So, you've been disturbed by someone who *might* be of interest to you. Or not.
How often have you seen a secretary answer the boss's phone, figure out who the caller is, then ASK the boss if he/she wants to take the call? I.e., bothering the boss with EVERY incoming call (from a human being).
Most people want more than just "block the telemarketers" -- because these are basically "pests" and anyone can be classified as a "pest" over time.
[It's fun to watch folks with whom you are conversing glance at their cell phone for an incoming call -- then decide to ignore it... often commenting to you: "It's my daughter; I'll call her back when I have time..." Had the phone NOT rung while we were chatting, the end result would have been the same -- the call's receipt "registered" for action later.]
I stopped answering telephone calls from clients more than 10 (20?) years ago. Politely and cheerily returning their calls at inopportune times (for THEM): "Oh, you're getting ready to go home for the weekend? Well, why not give me a call next week, sometime. Or, drop me a note in email when you get a chance..."
But *PROMPTLY* returning any communications via email. "I just tried calling you but got your machine. I need to know..." "Yeah, I'm not at home, right now. Sorry. But, to answer your questions..." Of course, they have no way of knowing if I'm sitting at home or on the beach in Aruba. Nor should they care!
[It doesn't take long for folks to realize that they'll get the INFORMATION they want more quickly and reliably if they use email! OTOH, if they want "social contact", they'll have to find some other outlet -- or, get a puppy! My relationship with them is on a business level, not personal/social one.]

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On 4/14/2016 6:10 PM, Retired wrote:

NoMoRoBo is built in to Ooma so you don't ever hear the "one ring".
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On 4/14/2016 2:50 PM, Don Y wrote:
<snip>

When I had Ring.To there were seven or eight one or two ring calls per day. Then they dropped the call. It was quite annoying.
With Google Voice this problem has almost ended. One telemarketer that calls about every day "consider this your final notice..." still manages to get through somehow.
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On 4/14/2016 4:50 PM, sms wrote:

Of course! Your ears perk up, you suspend what you were doing and *wait* to see if the phone WILL resume ringing ("Oh, goodie! A live person to bother/interrupt me, instead of just a spammer! I wonder who it is and whether I actually want to talk to them, now?")

They have a financial incentive to beat whatever system you use. Using a canned, COTS system makes it easy for them to share information as to how to work around those systems.
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On 4/13/16 3:55 PM, Seymore4Head wrote:

You could try NoMoRoBo except that Charter apparently does not support it. They need to have a service called "Simultaneous Ringing". We have it on our Comcast VoIP line, and it works great.
https://nomorobo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/205761775-What-Phone-Carriers-Are-Supported-
FWIW, they answer detected robo calls with a "challenge". The caller, if human, can enter 2 digits that the challenge provides them. The numbers are random per call.
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On 04/13/2016 02:55 PM, Seymore4Head wrote:

I signed up with "nomorobo"
I also use AT&T that gives me the ability to block numbers
Between the two option very few unwanted calls get through.
The phone rings one time only...so I never answer on the first ring
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On Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 4:40:12 PM UTC-7, philo wrote:

Same here, but that one ring will still disturb "nap" time. :-) Set up Nomorobo a year ago, but failed to properly engage their "locate me" feature properly until a few weeks ago. Works great now
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On 04/14/2016 07:50 PM, Shade Tree Guy wrote:

Even though I'm 66, I started taking naps at age 25, so it's not because I'm old.
Anyway...I have the ringer turned off in my bedroom so, the one ring is not too much of a problem.
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