By Joe Callison
20 August, 2016
The FCC is on a new campaign to end the “scourge” of robocalls. They have put together a Strike Force of over 30 tech companies to come up with solutions to the problem. For a few years now, the FTC has even held contests awarding cash prizes for technical solutions to the problem. Several products are already available as a result of these incentives. A review of several products by Consumer Reports can be found at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/robocall-blocker-review/index.htm
I have tried using the call blocking feature of my telephone service to reduce the number of robocalls that persist in spite of my number being on the National Do Not Call Registry. https://www.donotcall.gov/
The number of telephone numbers I can block is limited and the most obnoxious robocallers use randomly generated numbers to thwart such efforts. After a particularly bad week of repeated calls from one such robocaller, I finally got fed up and decided to try one of the solutions currently available.
After reading the Consumer Reports review and some other reviews, I decided to first try out the free service offered by http://www.nomorobo.com . They were one of the recipients of a cash prize from the FTC for their solution, which still lets the telephone ring once before blocking the call, but it has drastically reduced the annoyance, and even the number of robocalls received for some reason – and it is free for digital telephone services that support simultaneously ringing another telephone number. It works by simultaneously ringing an 800 number at nomorobo.com and comparing the caller number to a list of hundreds of thousands of numbers that because of the volume of calls being made are obviously robocallers. In that way it automatically keeps up with the ever changing numbers being used by the robocallers. If a robocaller number is detected, it blocks any further rings for that call. Now when I hear only one ring and no caller ID announcement from my answering machine, I know it blocked another robocaller and I can do a happy dance!
Hopefully the Strike Force will come up with a final, more complete solution to the problem, but until then I am quite pleased with my interim solution.