How to Reduce Spam Calls

Spam calls are totally out of control and the spammers frequently spoof (fake) their numbers on caller ID. They could be showing a number that is not in service or belongs to an unsuspecting person that is not involved. It has gotten to be a major problem because a lot of these calls are fraud. The IRS does not want your outstanding tax debt on a Green Dot or iTunes card. They also will not call – they will send a letter.

The Ooma phone service for home or business uses voice over internet (VoIP) and it is rather cheap compared to inexpensive compared to traditional phone service. The following information only applies to the home service. The hardware is $130 and quite easy to setup. You connect a single device to your network and follow the instructions. You can create a new number or port your current home phone number. The basic phone service is something like $3.50 per month, which may mostly be telecom federal taxes. However, you will want the Premier Package that costs $10 per month. This is because that includes a community blacklist to block spam. If a spammer gets through, log into your My Ooma account and add it to the blacklist. There are many other features in the Premier Package, but I really like the blacklist.

T-Mobile offers free spam caller protection that works at the network level. This free service can block the spammers or warn you of a spammer. Of course this will not work if the number is not in their system. This is why the spammers keep spoofing random numbers.

I use Truecaller on my work cell phone, but a lot of spam still gets through because they change their number so often. The basic free version of Truecaller does not appear to automatically update the blocklist and it is confusing on how to update it. I’m not too happy with the free version, but the paid version is way too expensive.

I have considered using an app that only allows calls from my contacts, which is known as a whitelist. Anyone not in my contacts would have to go to voicemail. This would be a problem on my work phone, but I’m getting close to doing it.

Lastly, I use Google Voice, which is a free [virtual] phone number you can use to text and get calls to multiple phones and computers/devices all at once. You simply answer on whatever device is handy. You may also make free calls in the US from your computer or cell phone. If you want to make calls from your cell phone using your Google Voice number and use only data (not your minutes), you can use the Hangouts Dialer app. I have the Google Voice app on my phone, but I have calls to Google Voice go directly to voicemail. I just use this number when signing up for accounts on websites or filling out most forms. If I think they may sell my info, I use Google Voice. Once I determine a business (like my bank) may be trustworthy, I will change my number to my true (traditional) number. I occasionally check my Google Voice messages to make sure there are not any important messages.

*The only drawback to Google Voice is some services that require a cell phone number will not allow Google Voice numbers. They will check the provider and know it is not a traditional cell phone.

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