It’s the No. 1 complaint that people like you make every year to the Federal Communications Commission. You know the drill. Your phone rings at the worst possible moment, when you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, or when you’re expecting a client to call, or while you’re waiting for your doctor to call with test results.
Your life is disrupted and put off track by an average 13 robocalls every month, although you probably receive many more than that.
Robocalls are those annoying, automated, computerized phone calls from telemarketers and scammers.
You won’t believe robocallers’ latest tactics. Listen to Komando on Demand for Kim’s take.
Incredibly, there are more than 4 billion — with a “b” — robocalls made in the United States every month, according to NBC News.
What’s more incredible is that there are that many calls, despite the FCC’s National Do Not Call Registry, where you can list your landline and cellphone numbers to block unwanted calls and texts.
Yet, those calls keep coming in and, in fact, they’re on the rise. There’s good news here, which is that we have a straightforward and free solution to block unwanted telephone calls.
Anonymous Call Rejection
You like straightforward solutions to your tech problems, and so do we. One solution is called anonymous call rejection. It’s something phone carriers have adopted to help you block unwanted robocalls.
Try this on your landline. Make sure your caller ID is activated.
Dial *77. You should hear three beeps, which means that calls that come through as Private, Blocked or Anonymous will not come through.
Suddenly, you’ll be receiving far fewer unwanted phone calls than you are now. You can turn off this feature by dialing *87.
Note: In some jurisdictions, dialing *77 on your mobile phone may connect you with law enforcement. Check with local or state law enforcement before trying *77.
Anonymous Call Rejection may differ with your carrier
You’ll find that almost every phone carrier for your home phone has the anonymous call rejection available, and for most of them, it’s activated by dialing *77 and turns off with *87. But it may be different for your phone carrier.
If so, the simplest solution to finding out how to set up anonymous call rejection is to call your cable provider, if you’re using their phone service, and ask them how to set it up.
If you use Cox, CenturyLink or Comcast’s Xfinity, for example, you’ll use *77 and *87. There’s a good chance your TV service uses this same setup on their phone service.
It’s a bit trickier to set up anonymous call rejection on your smartphone but set aside a few minutes to do it and you’ll be set. Here’s what the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association suggests you do.
1. Setup a call blocking app like PrivacyStar or Nomorobo on for your iPhone or Android smartphone
2. Add your smartphone numbers to the Do Not Call list
3. File a complaint with the FCC or Federal Trade Commission
Future help to stop robocalls
The federal government may soon provide more solutions to stop all robocalls. A bill called the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act was reintroduced to Congress in February 2019.
Here’s how The Hill describes it. “The bill would allow consumers to opt out of robocalls at any point, ban more kinds of robocalls, require all calls to have caller ID information before they can be put through and lengthen the statute of limitations from one to four years when it comes to punishing those who violation robocall prohibitions.”
How to stop robocalls and telemarketing calls for good
There is a simple solution to block robocalls and it’s free on your home phone and $1.99 a month on your smartphone. All you need to do is sign up for this service that will block robocalls that you don’t want while letting calls that you do want to get through.