Tips to keep robocalls off your home phone

Posted at 8:10 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 22:10:46-05

It's the number one complaint you let me know about: unwanted phone calls.

Whether from illegal robocall, annoying telemarketers, or plain old scammers--our phones are inundated with useless phone calls.

So, what can you do about it?

The Do Not Call list is all but worthless, so we decided to have viewers and colleagues test out some call-blockers for a couple of weeks.

On Wednesday we tested blocking apps for cell phones

Thursday, we're taking a look at landlines.

With help from WFTS, our sister station in Tampa, we were able to get results for two call blocking devices.

Maeve Dehetre owns a small business and uses her landline to conduct business.

She says robocalls were getting in the way of that.

"We were so fed up we just took the ringer off the phones," Maeve explains. "All of them. Didn't leave one single phone ringing."

Maeve signed up to test NoMoRobo.

I let you know it won the Federal Trade Commission's call blocking software contest back in 2013.

It works with internet based phone services (VOIP) by detecting robocalls and blocking them before you get a second ring.

Earlier this year Pcmag.comcalled NoMoRobo "free, easy to sign up with, and works as promised." 

After using it for two weeks Maeve agrees. She says the calls have drastically reduced.

"It's just ideal," she says. "As a matter of fact I tell everybody I see on the street about it."

Another small business owner, Hunter Gambro, had the same problem.

"They won't just call once. They'll call five minutes later and you think it's an important call."

Hunter says he's tried just about everything to get rid of them.

'I've registered my number through the government, through Verizon and tried to go unlisted," he says.

Nothing has worked.

So Hunter tried the Digitone Call Blocker Plus.

It looks like an old school caller id box.

But you can choose specific phone numbers, and area codes to block.

Digitone doesn't allow the phone to ring when a robocall does comes through.

Consumer Reports says it’s worth the $110 it costs.

Hunter thinks so too.

"It worked perfectly I haven't had any problems since," he says.

Traditional phone companies have cited Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fear of violating rules as reason for not allowing comprehensive call blocking technology like NoMoRobo on their networks.

However this summer the FCC clarified those rules and now says "we are giving the green light for robocall-blocking technology, declaring that these market-based solutions can be offered without violating our call-completion rules. The FCC wants to make it clear: telephone companies can - and in fact should - offer consumers robocall-blocking tools."

It's a decision that should pave the way for all landline providers to offer call blocking services to customers.  So make sure to ask your provider when it will be available for you.

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