Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

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KNMLHD
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Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by KNMLHD »

TL/DR: Trying to help my folks who incessantly receive phone calls for medicare/social security/etc type of scammers. They've tried RoboKiller, but that still allows a single ring before squashing, and hasn't been as effective lately as scammers spoof local numbers.

Background:

One of my parents is battling dementia. It's to the point where the other parent has to do help the other with many basic tasks which can get stressful. Recently, they've had to leverage multiple services (home care, physical therapist, etc), so they have to keep an eye on who calls. Increasing use of spoofed local phone numbers seems to bypass or thwart some of the services like Robocall. So imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone because you don't know who it could be, and it's some "outfit" pushing some scam targeting seniors.

They do have a cell and land lines through local cable company... the problem seems more problematic with their landline, but they have no desire to get rid of it.

Any other/better options than RoboKiller?

I did do a quick search here and seems like most threads are > 6months old. Hoping there's something recent that will prove helpful.

There's a special place for these people... :annoyed
cacophony
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Maybe port the landline to Ooma? Ooma has pretty robust spam call blocking if you pay for the premier service (~$10/month). It's highly configurable via a web interface and includes the option of blocking known spammers, suspected spammers (via Nomorobo), manually blocking names or numbers, only allowing numbers from whitelist through, etc

Another option would be to port the landline to Google Voice and then configure an Obihai device (eg. Obihai OBi200) with that number. I hear Google has excellent spam blocking as well. The Google Voice option will be a bit more work to set up and you'll want to make sure to configure the ability to reach 911 as part of it.
motiv8ed
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by motiv8ed »

KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm TL/DR: Trying to help my folks who incessantly receive phone calls for medicare/social security/etc type of scammers. They've tried RoboKiller, but that still allows a single ring before squashing, and hasn't been as effective lately as scammers spoof local numbers.
I've used NoMoRoBo successfully for years, and it's free. It still rings once, though.


motiv8ed
cacophony
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

FWIW, I'm pretty sure the Nomorobo integration with Ooma does not ring the phone at all
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ResearchMed
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by ResearchMed »

Regarding the more general problem of "...imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone...", which is similar to changing/bathing a baby, is it possible to forward calls (the ones that do get through) to a small cell phone? Then the caregiver can more easily reach into a pocket to see if the call even needs any attention, etc.

RM
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motiv8ed
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by motiv8ed »

ResearchMed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:13 pm Regarding the more general problem of "...imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone...", which is similar to changing/bathing a baby, is it possible to forward calls (the ones that do get through) to a small cell phone? Then the caregiver can more easily reach into a pocket to see if the call even needs any attention, etc.

RM

...or a cordless handset on the landline...
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ResearchMed
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by ResearchMed »

motiv8ed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:14 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:13 pm Regarding the more general problem of "...imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone...", which is similar to changing/bathing a baby, is it possible to forward calls (the ones that do get through) to a small cell phone? Then the caregiver can more easily reach into a pocket to see if the call even needs any attention, etc.

RM

...or a cordless handset on the landline...
Right, but I haven't seen cordless handsets that are as small as the smaller cell phones... thinking here of "pocket space", etc.
If the phone is left across the room because it's too big for most pockets...
Are there really small cordless handsets these days? If so, that would also work fine.

And then there is the other issue of clothing: Women's clothing is less likely to have any pockets at all :annoyed

RM
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KNMLHD
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by KNMLHD »

motiv8ed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:14 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:13 pm Regarding the more general problem of "...imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone...", which is similar to changing/bathing a baby, is it possible to forward calls (the ones that do get through) to a small cell phone? Then the caregiver can more easily reach into a pocket to see if the call even needs any attention, etc.

RM

...or a cordless handset on the landline...
They do have it set up where if the land line rings, it rings the cell phone. The phones tied to the land line are part of a cordless system, that has a really really loud ring.

They keep the landline because they find it often easier to hear people than the cell.

So squashing the problematic call(s) would be ideal.
sport
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by sport »

Another possibility is an old-fashioned answering machine. With a machine, they do not have to answer any calls. They can return the calls that are real ones and ignore the rest. Many scammers do not even leave messages.
cacophony
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Another option for the landline is the Sentry Call Blocker 3.1, which requires any first time callers to hit "0". I've never used one but the reviews seem positive.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

ResearchMed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:20 pm
motiv8ed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:14 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:13 pm Regarding the more general problem of "...imagine, your trying to help get your spouse dressed and phone rings, you run to the phone...", which is similar to changing/bathing a baby, is it possible to forward calls (the ones that do get through) to a small cell phone? Then the caregiver can more easily reach into a pocket to see if the call even needs any attention, etc.

RM

...or a cordless handset on the landline...
Right, but I haven't seen cordless handsets that are as small as the smaller cell phones... thinking here of "pocket space", etc.
If the phone is left across the room because it's too big for most pockets...
Are there really small cordless handsets these days? If so, that would also work fine.

And then there is the other issue of clothing: Women's clothing is less likely to have any pockets at all :annoyed

RM
I feel your pain. There are cordless phones where you can bluetooth the call to a cellphone (and visa versa). But then you've got a cell phone that rings for the spammers calling the cell phone or the landline number. i think you can bluetooth a land line to a "headset" or "earpeice" as well... but then you have to "answer" the call to find out who is calling. :(

I use a cordless phone handset with a headset - I clip my handset to my clothing (because as you observed Women's clothing has useless pockets or no pockets). The handset comes with a clip.

I have told everyone who needs to get a hold of me - that when calling my landline - they should should atleast say "Hi! it's me! " on the answering machine - because that gives me time to get to the phone (or to decide to pick up - I don't have caller id). Most of the spammers hang up on the third ring (never get to the machine) or if they get to the machine - it's just silence or the mechanical voice telling me about the Spam they are offering. I can hear the phone ring and can hear who's talking to the answering machine and then decide to "pick up" if I hear a friendly voice. It sucks and I'm "screening my calls" but it works. The hardest thing to re-learn was to NOT rush for the phone or pick it up until I heard a friendly voice on my machine. :)


And yes, I hope there is a special place in heck for the spammers. :?
Point
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Point »

Ooma - We did this for our 97 year old. Works very well. We have a short contact list that can call through, the rest are routed to voice mail. Scammers are blocked automatically. We out a small UPS on the cable modem and router, and on the phone handset and ooma device.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

sport wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:36 pm Another possibility is an old-fashioned answering machine. With a machine, they do not have to answer any calls. They can return the calls that are real ones and ignore the rest. Many scammers do not even leave messages.
This is what I do with landline. I leave the ringer off unless I am expecting a call and sometimes not even then. I tell businesses to leave a message as this is my practice. If someone I want to talk to records a message while I am close to the phone I pick up the receiver and talk to them live.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by RickBoglehead »

sport wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:36 pm Another possibility is an old-fashioned answering machine. With a machine, they do not have to answer any calls. They can return the calls that are real ones and ignore the rest. Many scammers do not even leave messages.
This ^^^

I'm always amazed that people run and answer the phone. If I see a number that I don't recognize, I don't answer it. If they want to talk to me, they'll leave a voicemail. If they don't, I flag it as SPAM.

That said, my mother runs to the phone like it's raw hamburger and she's a dog... :D Literally RUNS. :oops:

We moved our landline to Google Voice, any unrecognized call goes to a dialog with Google asking them to explain why they are calling. They hang up, I flag as SPAM.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Turn your phone ringer off. Hook up an old fashioned answering machine. Turn down answering machine volume to zero. Let the machine take all calls. Check the answering machine for any calls when you feel like it.

Running to the phone is very 1950's. There's no reason to interrupt what you're doing to service someone who wants to talk to you. "Maybe it's an important call!". I'm sure it can wait a couple hours till you check the answering machine.

We made it easy when we had a bothersome relative constantly leaving long messages. We completely disconnected. We still have a phone number but nothing's plugged into the wall at all now.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Ron »

For our landline, we purchased this:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01 ... UTF8&psc=1

Works well for us.

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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by TexasPE »

Duplicate post
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by marc in merrimack »

cacophony wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:48 pm
Another option would be to port the landline to Google Voice and then configure an Obihai device (eg. Obihai OBi200) with that number. I hear Google has excellent spam blocking as well. The Google Voice option will be a bit more work to set up and you'll want to make sure to configure the ability to reach 911 as part of it.
I ported my landline to Google Voice not too long ago and I’m not impressed with their spam blocking at all.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Turn your phone ringer off. Hook up an old fashioned answering machine. Turn down answering machine volume to zero. Let the machine take all calls. Check the answering machine for any calls when you feel like it.

There's a problem with "just return calls" . The OP said his parents are dealing with a variety of healthcare situations and providers. I have a friend in this situation. If she does manage to get a call back from a doctor's office or other service provider and if she 'misses' the call and it goes to voice mail - they will leave a message and ask her to call them back.

It becomes a vicious circle. She calls, waits on hold, may get sent to voice mail "leave a message and we'll call you back" - she leaves a message and a call back number. If they call - and she doesn't pick up/get the live person - they leave a message asking her to call back. She calls, waits on hold, may get sent to voice mail "leave a message and we'll call you back" and around and around it goes.

Sometimes when she calls and waits on hold - if she waits long enough - 30 mins and hour? she'll get to the person she needs to talk to - but that person may need to call her back with info maybe later today maybe not. If she misses the call back - she is told to "call them back" - and she's back to the Call and wait on hold and then if she gets a human - go back thru all the fuss to get the info OR to find out that the person she needs to talk to isn't there.... and it goes around again.

Accessing healthcare is NOT for the feint of heart and is probably a full time job.

So, I'm guessing the OP wants to have the phone ring AND be able to screen the calls so they can pick up the ones they need to take. It's almost like a "personal assistant" is needed. I'm guessing someone should be writing an App (or a Siri or Alexa ) who can screen calls for you. I would think an app would be able to accomplish this - determine NOT from the phone number of the call - but rather the person on the other end of the call - if it's a spammer or not. At least that would get rid of all the "robot voiced" calls and would make the human on the other end of the spammer call have to work alittle harder to get past the call screeener.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by wander »

Pick it up, listen and then hang up.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Kagord »

marc in merrimack wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 7:49 pm
cacophony wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:48 pm
Another option would be to port the landline to Google Voice and then configure an Obihai device (eg. Obihai OBi200) with that number. I hear Google has excellent spam blocking as well. The Google Voice option will be a bit more work to set up and you'll want to make sure to configure the ability to reach 911 as part of it.
I ported my landline to Google Voice not too long ago and I’m not impressed with their spam blocking at all.
You can go in legacy settings, and only allow phone calls to be forwarded that match your contacts, everybody else gets voicemail.

To do this, select "Legacy Google Voice" from the upper left main menu (3 bars) on the Google Voice web page. Under the Groups tab in the Callers section, set "All Contacts" to forward to your device, and "Anonymous Callers" to forward to None. This forces anonymous calls to voicemail, when I do get a valid voicemail, I add the contact.

In this respect, GV is superior IMHO, with this config, I can assure you that you will never receive a phone ring from someone you don't know.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by BedHead2020 »

We got Ooma, spent a little bit of time putting our closest friends, relatives, businesses, physicians, etc. in the Ooma address book. Then we set the highest restriction level on the Ooma settings: if the caller is not in our address book then our phone doesn’t even ring. It’s still possible for callers to leave a voicemail, which is immediately emailed to us. That way, the rare important call that’s not from someone in our address book still reaches us via an emailed voicemail.

This is an awesomely effective way to not get a single unwelcome call.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Nicolas »

Don’t you want to quash the phone calls — not squash them?

From Miriam-Webster online.

Definition of quash (Entry 1 of 2)
transitive verb
: to suppress or extinguish summarily and completely
quash a rebellion

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quash

Definition of squash (Entry 1 of 4)
transitive verb
1 : to press or beat into a pulp or a flat mass : CRUSH
2 : PUT DOWN, SUPPRESS
squash a revolt
intransitive verb
1 : to flatten out under pressure or impact
2 : to proceed with a splashing or squelching sound
squash through the mud
3 : SQUEEZE, PRESS

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squash
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Luckywon »

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Last edited by Luckywon on Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
cacophony
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Northern Flicker wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:36 pm Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
To quote original post:
KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm ... the problem seems more problematic with their landline
Prahasaurus
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Prahasaurus »

RickBoglehead wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 5:11 pm
sport wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:36 pm Another possibility is an old-fashioned answering machine. With a machine, they do not have to answer any calls. They can return the calls that are real ones and ignore the rest. Many scammers do not even leave messages.
This ^^^

I'm always amazed that people run and answer the phone. If I see a number that I don't recognize, I don't answer it. If they want to talk to me, they'll leave a voicemail. If they don't, I flag it as SPAM.

That said, my mother runs to the phone like it's raw hamburger and she's a dog... :D Literally RUNS. :oops:

We moved our landline to Google Voice, any unrecognized call goes to a dialog with Google asking them to explain why they are calling. They hang up, I flag as SPAM.
Landlines are so 1986, but ok, if they insist on keeping one, an answering machine is the way to go. There is never an issue with returning a call the next day. If there is an emergency, family knows how to reach you. And I assume they have at least one mobile phone?

All of my important calls come to my mobile phone. Ok, actually all of my calls, as I haven't had a landline in a decade... But even with the mobile phone, I never answer numbers I don't recognize.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Bubba24 »

AT&T cordless phones have an excellent call blocker function that has stopped spam calls from any ringing for six months now in my case.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Prahasaurus wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:45 am Landlines are so 1986, but ok, if they insist on keeping one, an answering machine is the way to go.
It may be older tech but it's still a far better call experience. For one the latency is about 1/10th that of the typical cell plan, which makes the entire conversation way more natural. Plus the handset is more comfortable to hold for long conversations.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

Prahasaurus wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:45 am Landlines are so 1986, but ok, if they insist on keeping one, an answering machine is the way to go.
Was that a typo? Landlines are so 1886.
Last edited by Northern Flicker on Sat May 08, 2021 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by LadyGeek »

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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Latestarter »

I will look into the devices recommended in this thread. For a few years Nomorobo worked well on my landline - sometimes catching the call after a single ring - but now it's basically useless. Spammers spoof a different number every time, most of them local, and Nomorobo lets them all through. I double-checked that my number was still listed with them and then wrote to the company, eliciting only irrelevant advice.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:36 am
Northern Flicker wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:36 pm Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
To quote original post:
KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm ... the problem seems more problematic with their landline
Does Ooma offer call blocking for landlines? It appears to be a VOIP service, so it would be a change in service either way.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 1:21 pm
cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:36 am
Northern Flicker wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:36 pm Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
To quote original post:
KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm ... the problem seems more problematic with their landline
Does Ooma offer call blocking for landlines? It appears to be a VOIP service, so it would be a change in service either way.
Ooma is a replacement for a landline. You port your landline number to the Ooma service and plug your old landline phone into the Ooma. It behaves exactly like a landline (except latency increased) with a physical answering machine, though at a much lower cost with a lot more features via the optional web interface. So it is a service change, but from a user's perspective they keep their landline.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by coalcracker »

KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:30 pm
They keep the landline because they find it often easier to hear people than the cell.
Have they tried earbuds? The difference is night and day for me. It’s easier for the person on the other end to hear as well.

Modern smart phones are an incredible invention, but terrible for actually talking on the phone.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 1:42 pm
Northern Flicker wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 1:21 pm
cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:36 am
Northern Flicker wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:36 pm Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
To quote original post:
KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm ... the problem seems more problematic with their landline
Does Ooma offer call blocking for landlines? It appears to be a VOIP service, so it would be a change in service either way.
Ooma is a replacement for a landline. You port your landline number to the Ooma service and plug your old landline phone into the Ooma. It behaves exactly like a landline (except latency increased) with a physical answering machine, though at a much lower cost with a lot more features via the optional web interface. So it is a service change, but from a user's perspective they keep their landline.
And plug the Ooma into what? The OP said they have a cell phone, landline and answering machine. Do we know if they have broadband internet service?
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 3:42 pm
cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 1:42 pm
Northern Flicker wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 1:21 pm
cacophony wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:36 am
Northern Flicker wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 10:36 pm Why do you need Ooma? With an iPhone you can set "Silence unknown callers" and the only calls that will ring your phone are ones in your contacts or phone numbers from outbound calls in your recent calls list. I'd guess that androids also have that capability, but maybe not.
To quote original post:
KNMLHD wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:29 pm ... the problem seems more problematic with their landline
Does Ooma offer call blocking for landlines? It appears to be a VOIP service, so it would be a change in service either way.
Ooma is a replacement for a landline. You port your landline number to the Ooma service and plug your old landline phone into the Ooma. It behaves exactly like a landline (except latency increased) with a physical answering machine, though at a much lower cost with a lot more features via the optional web interface. So it is a service change, but from a user's perspective they keep their landline.
And plug the Ooma into what? The OP said they have a cell phone, landline and answering machine. Do we know if they have broadband internet service?
I assumed they had internet service of some kind. But yes, without internet Ooma would not work.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by InMyDreams »

I have google internet and associated with it, a google VOIP "landline".

I turned on the google scam filter when I first started the service - marvelous.

BUT - in the last year or so, I've been receiving a whole bunch of calls - robos or not. Hmmph.

So I turned on google's call screen - user is asked to leave their name, it rings thru to the house, name is given to whoever answers the phone, and if you want to talk to the person, you press '1'. Works GREAT, none of the scammers try to work thru it, but even if you can do it on your phone, the press-one requirement might frustrate your family member with dementia. Or could that be a good thing?
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dratkinson
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by dratkinson »

Kitchen. I use a landline wall phone/answering machine that has an outgoing message which contains:
--Special Information tri-Tone (SIT*) that says this number has been disconnected. (Defeats most robocallers.)
--My greeting asking caller to leave their message + call back information.

Phone/answering machine ringer volume set low and speaker volume just loud enough to be screened from home office.

* The SIT tri-tone causes most (not all) robocalls to hang up (no message left).
See "Intercept" tone: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_information_tone

I recorded Intercept tri-tone onto smartphone. I created answering machine message by:
--playing back tri-tone
--speaking my outgoing message


Home office. Phone ringer volume is set to low.

Bedrooms. All phone ringers have been turned off so sleep is not disturbed.


When sleeping, I never hear any calls.

When awake, I can hear phones ring (kitchen + home office) and screen calls. Occasionally I need to check/delete robocalls that ignore the SIT tri-tone.


OP. If cordless phone base/answering machine + several cordless handsets were added to relative's landline, caregivers would have a convenient way to answer calls that passed screening. No need to run to phone, or answer unknown caller.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
marc in merrimack
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by marc in merrimack »

Kagord wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 12:37 pm
marc in merrimack wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 7:49 pm
cacophony wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 3:48 pm
Another option would be to port the landline to Google Voice and then configure an Obihai device (eg. Obihai OBi200) with that number. I hear Google has excellent spam blocking as well. The Google Voice option will be a bit more work to set up and you'll want to make sure to configure the ability to reach 911 as part of it.
I ported my landline to Google Voice not too long ago and I’m not impressed with their spam blocking at all.
You can go in legacy settings, and only allow phone calls to be forwarded that match your contacts, everybody else gets voicemail.

To do this, select "Legacy Google Voice" from the upper left main menu (3 bars) on the Google Voice web page. Under the Groups tab in the Callers section, set "All Contacts" to forward to your device, and "Anonymous Callers" to forward to None. This forces anonymous calls to voicemail, when I do get a valid voicemail, I add the contact.

In this respect, GV is superior IMHO, with this config, I can assure you that you will never receive a phone ring from someone you don't know.
Thanks for the details on this. I had really expected that Google Voice would have some sort of intelligent spam identification and filtering like Verizon does. But I’ll try screening using my contact list and see how that goes.
Northern Flicker
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

If a phone can filter/send to voice mail calls from a particular area code, then get a cell phone with area code and phone number in an area from which you do not expect calls, and route calls from that area code directly to voice mail. I believe that would eliminate most of them.
My postings are my opinion, and never should be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any particular investment.
cacophony
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by cacophony »

Northern Flicker wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 3:00 am If a phone can filter/send to voice mail calls from a particular area code, then get a cell phone with area code and phone number in an area from which you do not expect calls, and route calls from that area code directly to voice mail. I believe that would eliminate most of them.
Most spam calls just use spoofed numbers that can be anything. They do often spoof a number that is similar to the number they're calling on the theory that you're more likely to think it's somebody you must know. But looking at my call logs, the majority of spam calls that I get are from different area codes.
SR7
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by SR7 »

Given it’s mostly a land line issue, make sure important people/companies have their cell number and put an old fashioned answering machine on the land line. When busy, turn down the volume and check the messages when you are free. Spammers rarely leave messages. Also don’t be a slave to a ringing phone. If you are busy, then you are busy. We all understand that.

As a side note for those with more time and energy. I try and get on the spammers bad list, rather than put them on my bad list. When I realise it’s a spammer, I feign interest, lead them on a bit, then suddenly “remember” I have something on the stove. Back in 1 second. Then put the phone down (but don’t hang up) and make yourself a leisurely cup of tea/coffee. They are never on the line when I get back. Do that a few times and the number of spam calls you receive suddenly drop.
I studied Physics not Finance, so best to ignore anything I say about money.
TN_Boy
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by TN_Boy »

LittleMaggieMae wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 8:46 pm
Turn your phone ringer off. Hook up an old fashioned answering machine. Turn down answering machine volume to zero. Let the machine take all calls. Check the answering machine for any calls when you feel like it.

There's a problem with "just return calls" . The OP said his parents are dealing with a variety of healthcare situations and providers. I have a friend in this situation. If she does manage to get a call back from a doctor's office or other service provider and if she 'misses' the call and it goes to voice mail - they will leave a message and ask her to call them back.

It becomes a vicious circle. She calls, waits on hold, may get sent to voice mail "leave a message and we'll call you back" - she leaves a message and a call back number. If they call - and she doesn't pick up/get the live person - they leave a message asking her to call back. She calls, waits on hold, may get sent to voice mail "leave a message and we'll call you back" and around and around it goes.

Sometimes when she calls and waits on hold - if she waits long enough - 30 mins and hour? she'll get to the person she needs to talk to - but that person may need to call her back with info maybe later today maybe not. If she misses the call back - she is told to "call them back" - and she's back to the Call and wait on hold and then if she gets a human - go back thru all the fuss to get the info OR to find out that the person she needs to talk to isn't there.... and it goes around again.

Accessing healthcare is NOT for the feint of heart and is probably a full time job.

So, I'm guessing the OP wants to have the phone ring AND be able to screen the calls so they can pick up the ones they need to take. It's almost like a "personal assistant" is needed. I'm guessing someone should be writing an App (or a Siri or Alexa ) who can screen calls for you. I would think an app would be able to accomplish this - determine NOT from the phone number of the call - but rather the person on the other end of the call - if it's a spammer or not. At least that would get rid of all the "robot voiced" calls and would make the human on the other end of the spammer call have to work alittle harder to get past the call screeener.
Yes. I can tell many of the responders have not been in this situation -- lots of calls from health care providers plus lots of spam calls. It is maddening.

As LittleMaggieMae says, ignoring the calls can lead to literally days of phone tag (ignore a call late in the afternoon and it may be a while before you succeed in getting back to that person). A busy medical provider calls, it rolls to voicemail, then you call back and ...... YOU get voicemail and have to leave a message. Yes, the office number is in my contacts and I'll pick those up. Except, sometimes providers call from personal cell phones (and may even block caller id .....). Or your relative is in a facility and you might get a call from a random CNA from their cell phone. Or relative in hospital ... might get a call from one of many Dr/Nurse cell phones as they check in on your relative at an unpredictable time.

I.e. it turns out to be impossible to have every valid caller in your contact list AND you WILL be getting calls that you want/need to take. That's why people answer the phone. I am one of those people who can sit and listen to a phone ring and not pick it up (much less run over to it). Or, I used to. But in some situations .... you need to take the call.

I was never able to solve this problem. Except by taking the call. Along with the one to five spam calls I was getting per day.
Northern Flicker
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Northern Flicker »

cacophony wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 3:34 am
Northern Flicker wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 3:00 am If a phone can filter/send to voice mail calls from a particular area code, then get a cell phone with area code and phone number in an area from which you do not expect calls, and route calls from that area code directly to voice mail. I believe that would eliminate most of them.
Most spam calls just use spoofed numbers that can be anything. They do often spoof a number that is similar to the number they're calling on the theory that you're more likely to think it's somebody you must know. But looking at my call logs, the majority of spam calls that I get are from different area codes.
For me it's about 50% spoofed from my area code and prefix, 20% from a different area code in my area, 20% from "toll-free" and nat'l area codes, and 10% from other area codes in my state. The strategy would eliminate 80% of the calls, but would be a hassle for me to implement. A problem would be if enough people did this, spammers would just spoof random area codes.

I believe spoofing caller ID is illegal, so I assume most originate out of the country. Telecom companies could probably address the issue of caller ID spoofing.
My postings are my opinion, and never should be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any particular investment.
mpnret
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by mpnret »

TN_Boy wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 10:28 am Yes. I can tell many of the responders have not been in this situation -- lots of calls from health care providers plus lots of spam calls. It is maddening.

As LittleMaggieMae says, ignoring the calls can lead to literally days of phone tag (ignore a call late in the afternoon and it may be a while before you succeed in getting back to that person). A busy medical provider calls, it rolls to voicemail, then you call back and ...... YOU get voicemail and have to leave a message. Yes, the office number is in my contacts and I'll pick those up. Except, sometimes providers call from personal cell phones (and may even block caller id .....). Or your relative is in a facility and you might get a call from a random CNA from their cell phone. Or relative in hospital ... might get a call from one of many Dr/Nurse cell phones as they check in on your relative at an unpredictable time.

I.e. it turns out to be impossible to have every valid caller in your contact list AND you WILL be getting calls that you want/need to take. That's why people answer the phone. I am one of those people who can sit and listen to a phone ring and not pick it up (much less run over to it). Or, I used to. But in some situations .... you need to take the call.

I was never able to solve this problem. Except by taking the call. Along with the one to five spam calls I was getting per day.
I've been at this many years now on both the cell and landline (Ooma) and likewise was never able to completely solve the problem. My current and best solution is to only let contacts through and keep my contacts constantly updated. If I am expecting a call from an unknown number I may turn off block unknown caller for a day or so, however it mostly remains on. I do run the risk of occasionally missing a call but at least it goes to voicemail so nothing is really lost
For years on Ooma I tried Nomorobo along with many of their call blocking features. I tried call blocking by number, by name, sometimes using wildcards to block names beginning with a certain prefix, suffix, or containing a certain combination of letters, blocked entire area codes or states, even blocked my own number being I will never call myself and for some reason spammers will spoof it. Blocked all of Washington DC being lots of spammers spoof government locations. On the iPhone I tried numerous apps along with the built in call blocking. Spoofing has really changed the game. Nothing works as well as only letting contacts through.
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by littlebird »

sport wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 4:36 pm Another possibility is an old-fashioned answering machine. With a machine, they do not have to answer any calls. They can return the calls that are real ones and ignore the rest. Many scammers do not even leave messages.
That’s how I deal with it. I have several extension landline phones. I turned off all the ringers, so now my first notice of an incoming call is hearing my own outgoing message from across the room, or wherever. Most scammers hang up during my outgoing message. The caregivers will learn to give you enough time to get to the phone. If not, you call back as soon as you spring free
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by BolderBoy »

Several months ago I replaced my elderly AT&T cordless phone with a Panasonic cordless phone sold by Costco ($70 I think). It has a myriad of call blocking options, blocking 1st ring, requiring a caller to enter a numerical code of your choice on their first call, whitelisting common, desired callers, etc.

Plus a zillion other options that can be set up. Comes with base/handset + 4 extension handsets. Options can be set from any extension handset. Built-in answering system. Consumes very little power (<1 watt). Operates in the 900mHz band I think.

Essentially I get zero unwanted calls anymore.

(for the quaint posters who said landlines are so 1986 & 1886, I don't have a cell phone)
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mpnret
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by mpnret »

BolderBoy wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 3:25 pm Several months ago I replaced my elderly AT&T cordless phone with a Panasonic cordless phone sold by Costco ($70 I think). It has a myriad of call blocking options, blocking 1st ring, requiring a caller to enter a numerical code of your choice on their first call, whitelisting common, desired callers, etc.

Plus a zillion other options that can be set up. Comes with base/handset + 4 extension handsets. Options can be set from any extension handset. Built-in answering system. Consumes very little power (<1 watt). Operates in the 900mHz band I think.

Essentially I get zero unwanted calls anymore.

(for the quaint posters who said landlines are so 1986 & 1886, I don't have a cell phone)
Am I understanding this correctly? You now have to give any first time caller a numerical code to get through.
Mr.BB
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Re: Best options for squashing scammer phone calls?

Post by Mr.BB »

Not sure if this is possible but can the phone be programmed only to accept the phone numbers that you program in to it, so it automatically blocks all other calls (aside from 911?) Maybe it is something you can check with your phone service provider.
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