You’re looking forward to spending a quiet dinner with the family in your new home. Suddenly, the insistent ring of your landline phone interrupts the pleasant conversation. You could just let it go to voice mail. But what if the call is from welcome wagon, your kid’s new best friend, or your spouse’s new job? So, you answer it immediately and it turns out to be a telemarketing call pushing solar panels. You hang up in annoyance.
You wish your family could just scrap the landline altogether and rely on your mobile phones. But you know in an emergency that knocks out power to cell phone towers, your landline still functions. Go ahead and keep your landline but cut the junk calls with these tips.
Dump the phone listing.
Even in this day and age of internet services and smart phone apps, your landline phone company may still put out a paper white pages directory that lists residential phone numbers. Telemarketers regularly scour such listing to uncover new prospects. Get your number removed from the directory by paying a small monthly fee that’s included with your monthly phone bill. Your provider’s customer service number can give you the details on how to do that.
Get on the Do Not Call Registry.
The Federal Trade Commission set up the Do Not Call Registry to deal with unwanted phone calls. Getting on this list is supposed to prohibit junk callers from calling you. First, verify online that your number is not already part of the registry. If it’s not, register your phone number for free with a confirming email address.
After you’ve been on the registry for at least 31 days, you can complain if you receive an unwanted call. Keep in mind that you’re still allowed to receive calls regarding politics, charity, information, debt collection, and telephone surveys. The registry only covers sales calls.
Buy phones that display Caller ID.
You’re most likely going to need to buy new phones for your new home so narrow down your choices to ones that display Caller ID. (If you want to keep your current phone, you can buy Caller ID displays that hook up easily to it.) Just like on your cell phone, when someone calls your landline phone, their number appears on the Caller ID display. Some models even announce the number out loud, so you don’t have to get out of your chair to find out about the caller. If it’s not a number you recognize, don’t pick up.
Many such phones let you program the names and numbers of the people you know and to block numbers you don’t want. If you need several phones for your house, buy them in a set or from the same manufacturer. That way, if you define a number or block one on one phone, it is automatically defined on other phones in the set.
Sign up for Nomorobo.
Telemarketing robocalls contain certain technical characteristics. A service like Nomorobo can detect those characteristics and automatically prevent such calls from going through. It’s smart enough to know when a call is from your child’s school or prescription service and lets those through. The best thing about the service is that it’s absolutely free.
You can sign up online and cancel it anytime. Here’s how it works:
- When the service is activated, every call rings your phone and simultaneously rings the service. Nomorobo answers first to screen the call.
- If it’s a telemarketer, the service prevents the call from going through and sends a message to the caller.
- If it’s legitimate, the calls go through.
So if your phone rings only once, Nomorobo has stopped a junk call from going through. Two or more rings means you should answer the call.
About the only disadvantage of this service is that not all carriers are supported yet, such as Verizon and Cox. Check the website to see if your provider accepts Nomorobo.