Did Heather call you on the telephone today about credit card interest rates? Or Elizabeth about the Resort Rewards Center? Or your local Google or Amazon representative? Or the IRS? People with telephones get many, many calls – sometimes several a day – from annoying spam callers like these.
These calls are placed by machines called robocallers or robobots. The federal government set up a service called the Do Not Call Registry, which is supposed to screen out calls. But the Do Not Call Registry uses antiquated technology and just plain doesn’t work.
What to do? How can people stop these nasty intruders?
Here are the steps I take to minimize the annoyance factor of these robocalls. Note: these steps don’t stop the robocall plague, they just reduce the annoyance factor to a minimum. I’d rather rely on these self help steps than rely on the Do Not Call Registry catching up in the technological race.
FOR LANDLINE PHONES:
- Buy an answering machine. Cost: from about $10 on up. See the list below.
- Set the answering machine to answer calls after two rings.
- Create an outgoing message that says simply: “Please leave a message after the tone.”
- Set the speaker volume of your answering machine to low (just barely audible) so you don’t have to be annoyed by the messages.
- It has been my experience that many robocallers hang up when my answering machine plays the outgoing message, in which case Mission Accomplished!
- Some robocallers do try to leave messages. If that’s the case, if you hear a robocall message lift up your phone receiver and put it back down. This stops the message.
- If you’re not near the phone and can’t stop the message midstream, you have set the volume to barely audible, so you are minimally bothered.
- Of course, if the message is from someone you want to speak with, you can pick up the phone receiver as you normally do.
Here is a selection of the most popular answering machines: