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Want to block telemarketers

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a problem ... and so do thousands of other Americans who have telephones, with spammers, scammers, con artists and thieves. My telepohone rings 5 and 6 times a day with calls from crooks posing as legitimate businesses trying to get me to pay them to improve my credit, extend my vehicle warranty, make money at home, get reduced pricing for medication and find a soulmate.

It's not enough to register my phone number on the federal DO NOT CALL LIST.  The list is a joke which may discourage honest veders but has no effect on the sucmbags marketing the scams and cons.

I need to find a device that will require additional input from a caller before the house phone rings.  Panasonic used to make a telephone that required the caller to enter an additional 2 or 3 digits before the phone would ring.  I am no longer able to find a product with this feature.  Is there anything like that being manufactured?

Does anyone out there have any ideas about other ways to combat the rise in robocalls and autodialed nuisance calls from teelemarketers and other assorted bottom-feeders?  Blocking anonymous calls doesn't work.  The crooks now spoof phone numbers which, when called back, prove to be "NOT IN SERVICE."

Does anyone have any thougfhts about using a call router to forward calls to an unlisted extension (with the extensipon number we could provide to those callers  we might need or want to hear from but not provided in the answering message.

By the way, I would make an even money bet that the Panasonc phone was discontinued because of complaints from the telemarketing industry ... an industry we should outlaw!

I realize this is probably outide of the area normally covered by EE but my hope is that SOMEONE will have some suggestions and input.

Dick Barrett
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Question by:Dick_A_Barrett
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by:TK-77
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I previously worked in the collection industry for over 9 years (no I didn't make the calls, I just ran the IT department). However, I did deal with the many different methods and technologies that callers tried to use to block our many phone numbers from calling them.

After much trial and error, the only luck I had to consistently prevent certain numbers from being called again was to play a wav file that played the standard "Operator Intercept Disconnected" message. The only catch is you have to play it right after you answer the phone from an unknown number so that the predictive dialer thinks your number is disconnected. Your number will then be automatically removed from their system. Just keep the wav file saved to your desktop so that you can play it at a moments notice.

I know this isn't the perfect solution, but I think if you try this for a few weeks, you will see a dramatic decrease in the number of telemarket calls you receive.

I attached the wav file for your reference. Just rename .txt to .wav.

Good luck!
TK


disconnected.txt
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aleghart earned 250 total points
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Use an IVR system with voice instructions to dial an extension.  Disable the zero for the operator.

If you don't care about the reactions of genuine callers, at the entrance to the IVR play a fax tone (or the three-tone beep from "no longer in service" message).

I ported my landline number to VoIP/SIP service.  From there you can build a simple menu system and connect your analog phone with an ATA adapter.  If you've got the gumption, run Switchvox, Asterisk, or find another SIP PBX, and build as complicated an IVR menu system as you'd like.
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by:Roachy1979
Roachy1979 earned 250 total points
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An easy IP PBX that you could implement the solution above on is Trixbox.  Again, as Aleqhart suggests, you would need to port your number though.....which is a bit of a headache....but the Trixbox would allow you to implement an IVR to preceed the call being connected easily.

http://www.trixbox.org/
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by:Dick_A_Barrett
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Thank you Roachy1979.  I will be attempting to implement Alergharts suggestion tomorrow.  I wasn't sure where to go to begin implementing his solution.  I think Aleghart's solution is the best so far but but haven't had a chance to follow up yet.

Dick
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by:Roachy1979
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Yes...I fully agree with Aleqhart...

Setting up a PBX can be a bit daunting which is why I would suggest one of the easier and quicker pre-built ISO's that you can download and install to a spare PC.  Trixbox Community Edition is pretty straightforward to get simple functionality out of (and the advanced features are all there if you want to use them!),  implementing an IVR that will put off "unwanted callers" or callers who use a powerdialler to get through to you is pretty quick.

Granted I've set up a few, but to get a working Trixbox install, I can be up and running in about 15 - 20 minutes from cutting the CD.....you just need a spare PC, and either ATA's, Softphones or SIP handsets.....softphones are good to test with though (and there are plenty of free ones out there....Ekiga and X-Lite are good depending on the OS you use)...

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by:Dick_A_Barrett
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I have a ton of boxes (4 pc's, 1 Mac and a laptop) .  I don't mind spendingthe money to get handsets but could you explain ATA, softphones and SIPs.  (I'm a bit out of my element here)..  Would I be better off buying an appliance instead of just the software? )    By the way, when I say I don't mind spending the money, I also would like to AVOID spending anything I don't have to.

Dick
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by:Dick_A_Barrett
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Also, my service is ciurrently provided by Vonage.  Do I need to switch to non-VoIP to set this up?
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by:aleghart
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ATA is an Analog Telephone Adapter.  Something like the SPA-2000 (was Sipura, now Linksys).  I think Linksys has a 3102 model now.

I don't know how Vonage works.  I use Broadvoice because they have decent call routing without you having to do anything but visit the web site.

If your SIP provider does not have call routing (and ability to upload audio files for greetings), see if they allow you to use a PBX as a connecting device.  So, instead of your ATA+phone, you'd enter your account credentials in your PBX software.

Nice thing about that is you can take your ATA (if it's not locked to the SIP provider), and have it log in to your new PBX.

So:

SIP provider -->  PBX --> ATA --> analog phone

Hope this is all making sense.
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by:Roachy1979
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Just to add to Aleqharts description, an ATA is a networked device that basically means that a normal analogue phone can connect to an IP based phone system.  I use the Linksys PAP2T which is easy to configure and really stable.  

SIP is the protocol used to talk to a Voice Over IP provider, or for your phones or softphones to talk to your provider or PBX.

A softphone is just a piece of software that can be installed on a PC/Mac/Linux box that you use with a headset (think along the lines of Skype).  It emulates a physical handset so you can dial numbers - it connects to either a VoIP provider or a VoIP PBX.

As for buying a boxed solution......an appliance is an expensive way of doing things if you're just wanting simple functionality and a limited number of seats.....derivatives of the Asterisk project (such as Trixbox/Asterisk@Home) are basically appliances that you need a dedicated PC to install to....but that's your only cost....saving the cost of an appliance.
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by:Roachy1979
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And if you have a voice over ip service through Vonage then this should work well with Trixbox....

See...http://www.asterisk-vonage.com/
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by:Dick_A_Barrett
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NOTE TO ALEGHART:  I've checked with Vonage and their technical support guys insist they are not compatable with Asterisk.  I believe they are and the tech guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  I called Broadvoice and they, at least knew what I was talking about.  I am going to change my provider to Broadvoice and expect the transition to take about 2 weeks.  Since this could be considerred a referral for them, if you will email me your phone number I will so indicate on the sign up form which will  give you a $25.00 credit after I have been a subscriber for 3 months.  Assuming this is not a violation of any EE policy, why don't you email me ( - email delete by Modularity, EE Moderator) your Broadband phone number and I will see that you get credit for the referral.

Dick Barrett
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by:aleghart
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Dick:
Best you don't put your e-mail address here.  Don't forget, it gets indexed, stored, scanned, pulverized and re-used in perpetuity.  :)

I'm going to flag this so a moderator can remove the info.

How ironic...you're trying to stop the telemarketers, but end up with twice the spam!  :)
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by:Dick_A_Barrett
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Thanks for looking out for me.

Dick
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Author Closing Comment

by:Dick_A_Barrett
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Based on the amount of information each of you provided, it's a shame I can't award 500 points to each of you.  I appreciate your help and once the Broadvoice Service is activated, I will be posting again for additional help with the configuration of Asterisk.  Best wishes to you both.

Dick Barrett
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by:Roachy1979
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Good luck with this Dick, and post in the Asterisk zone if you get stuck at all :)  There are some very knowledgeable people lurking around there... :)
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