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August 21st, 2014 · 13 Comments

Nomorobo means “No more robo-calls”.

Last year the FTC issued a challenge to develop a system that would help reduce the huge amounts of telemarketing phone calls. One of the two winners of the challenge was “Nomorobo“.

I hate telemarketers! My Ooma phone system has private and community blacklists, and it helps a lot, but we still get 1-2 telemarketers getting through every day.

I just set up the free Nomorobo system, so I can’t really say yet how well it works, but reviews by other users are very positive. Unfortunately it won’t work with many of the current phone companies. It pretty much requires a VOIP (Internet) phone. So no Verizon, Century Link, AT&T. It is compatible with my Ooma VOIP phone.

Nomorobo requires that your phone system support “simultaneaous ring”, so that when you get a call it also connects to the Nomorobo office. They quickly analyze the call and if it is a telemarketer it is immediately blocked. If it is valid it rings through to my house.

I’ll see how it goes and report back here later.

Note: On my cell phone I use the Android app “Call Control” which seems to work very well. I get almost no telemarketer calls on my cell phone.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Aug 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I don’t have a VOIP land line, so this would not work for me. Unbundling my phone from my cable package saves me only less than $8 a month so I keep it for convenience.

    I never get any robo calls on my cell phone, but I get (what seems like) dozens a day on my land line. Seriously, it’s probably 6-8. That will drop significantly after the primary election next week only to increase again in October. I don’t answer anything anymore that is not a recognized number on my caller ID, but it is annoying to have my answering machine fill up with those annoying political messages.

  • 2 Donna // Aug 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    (Sorry about the double “annoying” in the sentence above.)

    I wonder how Nomorobo works on spoofed numbers?

  • 3 Dale // Aug 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Does anyone ever buy something from these callers? Or change a political view listening to a recording? There must be that one in a thousand or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

  • 4 Richard // Aug 21, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Time to dump the home phone line. It’s more hassle than it’s worth. Both of you have cell phones. Why bother?

  • 5 Donna // Aug 22, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I explained in my first comment that my bundled package only drops ~$8 a month if I remove the phone. It’s worth that amount to have the convenience of a land line for some things. For instance, I’d rather hold my home phone to my ear than my cell phone for long conversations. I can hear my land line ring all over the house, but I can’t hear my cell phone unless I’m nearby. I give out my land line number to any businesses that require it because that protects my cell phone from telemarketers. (In fact, I believe that’s why I never get robocalls on my cell phone. It has never been sold by any business I have a relationship with since they only have my land line number.) So, I’ll keep my land line until there’s a better reason to get rid of it.

  • 6 Donna // Aug 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I agree, Dale! I would never buy anything from a telemarketer, and I certainly wouldn’t base my vote on a recorded political spiel. But apparently someone does, or these calls wouldn’t continue.

  • 7 Daryl // Aug 23, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Donna expressed well my own reasons for keeping a landline phone, plus I have a couple more. With Ooma I only pay about $3/month so the cost is irrelevant. The phone rings throughout the house (though there are systems that allow a cell phone to do that too). Call quality is excellent with unlimited minutes and very cheap international calls. And mainly, like Donna, I can give that number to businesses, thereby protecting my cell phone number so that I almost never get unsolicited calls on it.

  • 8 Richard // Aug 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    The reason you don’t get unsolicited calls on your cell phone is that automated unsolicited phone calls to cell phone numbers is illegal. Of course, if you have a business relationship with a company they an call you, however no automated dialers are permitted to do so. I never get unsolicited calls on my cell phone, and it’s the only number I have. On those rare occasions when I have received an unsolicited sales call from a business I deal with I tell them this is my cell phone and minutes cost me money. I tell them to add my number to their do not call list. I also inform them that if I ever receive an unsolicited call from them again, I will cease doing business with them and report them to the FCC. This has never failed to solve the problem.

    I agree that there are a few benefits to having a land line, but as you have noted, unsolicited phone calls are a big problem with them. Those problems essentially disappear with a cell phone.

    As for the preference for holding a land line phone for long conversations, I find I much prefer a Bluetooth hands free device that hangs on my ear. It took a while to find a comfortable one, but it works so well. I am free to wander around and do other things without holding anything. I realize this doesn’t work for everyone.

    The thing I find most interesting is that I would never call any of you on anything other than your cell phone, yet you say you would prefer to talk on your home phone. Why would I call your home phone when I want to talk to you? I have no idea if you are home or not. I know that when I call your cell phone, you will either take the call or return it when it it convenient for you.

    I think the days of home phones is numbered. In fact, it is being dropped in a growing number of homes already.

  • 9 Daryl // Aug 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Automated unsolicited phone calls to anyone, landline or mobile, in the US is illegal if they are on the Do Not Call list, but that doesn’t stop most of them. Many of the calls are initiated overseas and most of them use VOIP, so they can spoof the Caller ID (also illegal).

    But I guess bottom line it’s hard to make a strong rational case for keeping a home phone. It just feels comfortable and it costs me almost nothing. The telemarketers can be a hassle, but I think I have solved that now too.

  • 10 Don // Aug 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    We dropped our home line about 5 years ago and I’ve never regretted it.

    I get more unsolicited calls on my work number than I do on my cell.

    The only reason I could come up with for keeping a land line was to fax something but now you can scan something and email it. It’s treated as being as good as a fax by every company I needed to deal with.

    I do understand it’s a foreign concept to not have a “home phone”. Betty was very unsure about the whole thing but I think she’s come around too.

    Jocelyn and Eric have never had a home phone.

  • 11 Daryl // Aug 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    And here again is the best reason for us to have a home phone: International calls.

    True, with Devon we just use Skype, which is free. But Gisele has many friends in many countries who may not be able to use Skype, and Ooma is the cheapest way we have found to call them.

    Example: Yesterday she talked with her brother in Australia for almost an hour and a half, and it cost $3.75. It would have been $15 or more on any mobile company’s plan, and calls to Taiwan are even worse.

  • 12 Richard // Aug 26, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Yep, that sounds like a good reason to me. I guess it’s worth all the other aggravation to save that kind of money.

  • 13 Donna // Aug 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Not one robocall today! Thank goodness the primary election is over.

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