In Sunday's column on how to thwart robocalls, we talked with Aaron Foss, a New York software entrepreneur who's developed a solution he calls "NoMoRobo." The software, which uses standard phone features, is expected to become available to consumers - free - in early September.
Here are some additional anti-robocall suggestions from readers and the Federal Trade Commission: Paul Schiffmacher of Southern California said he gets lots of calls from solar panel installers or contractors or home remodeling contractors. When he sees an unknown number on his phone's Caller I.D., he has a standard procedure: Pick up the phone and say nothing. The robocaller, hearing no voice contact, will automatically hang up. Schiffmacher said he doesn't have to waste time on the phone and believes it helps prevents callbacks from the same number.
As mentioned in the story, a number of consumers have volunteered their anti-robocall solutions to the FTC, which has them online in a video. "These tips might not work for everyone, but the good news is that they're working for some people," said FTC consumer spokeswoman Kati Daffan. Also, the FTC reminds consumers that when a legitimate telemarketer (yes, there are some) dials your phone, he or she must promptly provide the following: The company name, the purpose of the call (ie. they're selling something, not simply making a "courtesy call"), a description of what they're selling and any restrictions to the goods being sold. It's known as the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Another way to reduce the number of telemarketing calls is to place your phone numbers (cell and home phones) on the National Do Not Call Registry. It does not prohibit calls from political groups, charities and telephone surveyors. To register, call (888) 382-1222 or go online.