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Why You Need a Call Blocker

…and why telecoms should be required by law to provide the NoMoRobo call  blocker

Did you see this amazing story? Police in India busted a ring of 61 crooks who were in the business of calling Americans, impersonating IRS agents, and threatening the marks with arrest if they didn’t pony up “late” taxes. This scam has been around for awhile, and it’s had enough press that you’d think most people would be wise to it. But no: apparently it’s true that there’s one born every day. According to Homeland Security, this merry bunch collected $3 million from feckless phone customers.

In Mumbai, $3 million goes a mighty long way…

These crooks called me at least three times that I know of before I installed the CRP V5000 call blocker that I ordered up from Amazon. Since then, they haven’t been able to get through long enough to choke out even a few words of their pitch.

US telecoms refuse to install NoMoRobo

A powerful, effective system developed over the past couple of years is called NoMoRobo. This is the only call blocking program approved by the Federal Trade Commission, which awarded its makers a prize and urged all US phone companies to make it available to customers.

Telecoms responded by failing to do so. In my parts, Cox will make it available to business customers but refuses to extend the same courtesy to home customers. This, despite figures showing that in 2016 alone, American consumers were bombarded by 2.4 billion robocalls per month! Obviously, they wish not to cut off a flow of cash from these scammers — there really is no other rational explanation.

NoMoRobo is now available for cell phones, including the iPhone, at a nominal monthly cost. To get it on a land line, you’ll need to switch to VoIP, dropping your regular telecom provider. Ooma is one service that offers NoMoRobo. To do this, you’ll need some tech proficiency — not a lot, apparently, but still, some degree of DIY is involved. Most people are pleased with NoMoRobo, which blocks nuisance calls effectively enough to make any extra cost or hassle worthwhile.

So how else can you defend yourself against robocall scammers?

There are other options. For your landline, the CRP V5000 (which comes with 5,000 pre-programmed blocked numbers) is only one of nine highly rated in-line call blockers available on Amazon.

I remain very pleased with the device, BTW. The company’s customer service can’t be beat. And though it’s a little inconvenient to ride herd on the spoofed calls and the out-of-area calls to be sure you don’t accidentally block a legitimate call, it sure as hell improves on upwards of a half-dozen nuisance calls a day.

For your smartphone, here are ten recommended call blockers that run on Android. As of late 2016, we were told a number of new apps for the iPhone were forthcoming; more recently, the Mr. Number call blocker & reverse lookup has racked up 4½ stars at the Apple store.

The only way to defeat these crooks and pests is to take their market away from them. The most effective way to do that, of course, is to force telecom companies to provide a proven technology, NoMoRobo. In the absence of government rules to enforce that, though, about the best you can do is install your own call blocker. Given the risk of fraud, to say nothing of the constant invasion of privacy and interruption of your daily life, you should get one of these systems now. Not later.

4 thoughts on “Why You Need a Call Blocker”

  1. I have reservations about call blocking becoming a routine service by telecom providers in the current format. NoMoRobo and your call blocker essentially work by matching an incoming call against a database of phone numbers. These devices can only block calls once a number has been identified as problematic and added to the database. Right now, you add numbers to your device database based on your criteria. If we’re applying this at a national level there are multiple questions. Who maintains this database? What are the criteria for a number being added to the database? How long does it take a number to be added to the database? What recourse is there for those who feel their number was incorrectly added to the database? After we answer all of that, all the scammer has to do is change their spoofed number and continue with their scam.

    I can also imagine more nefarious uses for a national call blocking database. We’ve seen the Trump administration try to force the unmasking of at least one dissident Twitter account. I do not see it too far fetched to imagine a state actor working to block phone numbers of political opponents.

    What’s the solution? I don’t really know. Telecoms have the ability to verify the actual number of the caller. We could no longer allow (both legitimate and illegal) caller id spoofing. (Legitimate caller id spoof? Yes, for example, whether I call you from my desk or cell phone my caller id will show that I’m calling from my desk. I do not want clients having access to my cell phone number.) I would think that would deter some scammers and make others easier to trace.

    • These are good points. Also, if you read reviews of NoMoRobo, even though they’re generally positive, some users do report a variety of headaches in managing the database. It looks like you can go online, check what numbers have been blocked, unblock those you wish to hear from, and add new ones you like not to hear from. However, this has the makings of a PITA.

      Many of the spoofed numbers (shown as local numbers on Cox’s caller ID) appear in the V5000 database not as a local number but as something weird like 27563 or as 202-547-12345, probably indicating they’re coming from overseas. The V50000 blocks the weird number. How effective it is at blocking spoofs, I could not say, but I have found that the thing has cut the phone pestering way, way, WAY back. Just now, for example, it’s quarter after noon and the phone hasn’t jangled even once. Before I attached the device, by now I would have been interrupted at least three or four times.

      And yes, when you see a wannabe dictator like Donald Trump assume national office — and realize that many of the airheads who have taken over the Republican Party care absolutely nothing about American democratic and legal values — you do have to wonder about the risks posed by ANY database anywhere.

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