How to block telemarketers


Originally published at:


[quote=“frauenfelder, post:1, topic:90503”]

This assumption becomes less true with each passing month.



My parents don’t have a land line anymore. Good on them.


I’ve gotten robocalls while working at an FFRDC.


I’m on that list. I still get the calls, because the fraudsters don’t care about no stinkin’ list.


I have a Panasonic 6.0+ phone with caller ID. It’s a complicated procedure to save a number and add it to a list of rejected numbers. Phone rings once and that’s the end of it. It holds 50 of these numbers which you would think cover it, but election year fills it up.


Like this!


Kinda what I do, too. Once the spammer calls, and after I’ve screwed with them for a little, I add their number in my phone to the single, “SPAMMER” phonebook entry (which is set to go straight to voicemail). Keeps them from calling back, but given the pool of numbers for telemarketers it’s just something that makes me feel better.


I will be ditching my cable-provided land line - along with the TV package - after I get used to my Roku Permier+. That ought to get rid of most of my telemarketing problems.


I generally make threats like “I have a bullet with your name on it”. In order to turn me in they would have to reveal themselves and open themselves to an illegal telemarketing lawsuit…


In the corporate world, the best solution I’ve come up with is a phantom mailbox.

Get someone to record a greeting like: ‘Hi this is Janet MacDonald at x802, sorry i missed your call, please leave a message with your name and number and I’ll return your call as soon as I can’

Then when a telemarketer calls in asking to speak to the office manager, or the HR manager, or whatever, transfer them to ‘Janet’

The key is that the voicemail includes the phantom mailbox’s extension number. The telemarketer will make note of Janet’s full name and extension, and the next time they call back, they’ll dial her directly rather than go to reception.

What used to be a 3 minute call trying to get rid of a telemarketer who just calls back next week anyway becomes a 10 second transfer to VM, and you never hear from them again.

We’ve has this set up for years, and it’s brilliant. We’ve even got a corkboard set up with all the physical snail mail that we’ve received that’s addressed to ‘Janet’


Man this brought back memories. In the late 90’s/early 00’s i remember installing a device that blocked most if not all (it did become less executive over the years) telemarketers I think by detecting particular audible telltales many autodialers emitted.



We have a similar gadget to the Sentry called the CPR Call Blocker. It showed up in Consumer Reports a few years ago. It has a big red stop-sign shaped button that immediately disconnects the call, even if you haven’t picked up the handset. It also adds the number to its block list, which will henceforth be forever blocked… Or until the device eventually fails.

It is also programmable to block several common annoyance sources, including 900 numbers. It is also supposed to be able to block “Out of Area” calls, but in my experience this feature does not work very well. I entered several codes for what the instruction leaflet considers “Out of Area” to mean, but we still get plenty of these. I’ve added many such calls to the block list, and after about 3 years we’re up to 126 blocked numbers.

Shortcomings: We have six cordless phones, so we’re often not next to the “BLOCK” button when we get an unwanted call. AT&T, I’m talking about you and your “TOLL FREE CA” (that’s all our phone shows) calls every week. If you’re not next to the device, you can hit “#2” on the phone keypad to block a number instead. It works, it’s just less fun. The major shortcoming, however, is that this device is essentially “opt out”, you have to look at the caller ID and decide whether to block each number. While the device is advertised as having many pre-loaded annoyance numbers, the impact of those is difficult to gauge.

For an elderly relative or friend whose prefrontal cortex is no longer registering scepticism, you’d be a lot better with a device that blocks all calls except the ones that you know are OK.


Take off, nuke the site from orbit. Only way to be sure.


Nomorobo has been on my Ooma business line for more than a year, lots of junk still get through. I have it set to send them to the Ooma voicemail, which is not my primary voicemail and set to send me an email. I only get a one or 2 a month captured there, but who knows how many don’t leave a message. Do Not Call is a joke as said above. These robocallers must have congressmen on their own DNC list or else those asshats would do something about this plague.

If I end up on a call with a live one, I ask them why would I do business with someone of which the only thing I know about them for sure is they’re willing to break the law.


My “land line” is actually Vonage, and I have it set to ring both my home phone and my cell phone. On my cell, I have HiYa installed. HiYa is a crowd-sourced app for identifying and handling spam emails. Once enough people have tagged a number as a nuisance call, they automatically get hung up on.


I’ve used NoMoRoBo on my VOIP for several months and it is batting 1.000. Can’t recommend it highly enough.


I have a land line (and was happy to get it; my public housing got it set up for free, with limitations) and its been working for a few years now. But the nuisance calls (other than political: eh, those at least I know I have given them my number at some point. Probably) have been zero until recently. Probably because this building has a weird exchange. Unfortunately the the Microsoft ‘help desk’ spammers have found this exchange. I’ve been called twice and have had to repair a compromised computer from someone else.

That said, God forgive me. I’ve worked phone banks. Once for John Cornyn when he was first running for office. This one wasn’t too bad actually. The spiel wasn’t bad and I didn’t know anything else about the guy at the time and it paid money (the kicker). But later I tried working at a real telemarketing place. They said, give us three months and if you don’t like it, fine. I took them up on that. Dear God. Trying to sell 5 year subscriptions to old ladies on farms who really just liked having someone to talk to. I had one call, probably in NY where the person was not just irate, but frantic. “Who the fuck ARE you!! How did you get this number!!!” She wasn’t peeved, she was scared to death. Witness protection? Dunno. Any rate, after 3 months, I wanted my fucking soul back.