ConsumerWatch

(CBS SF) — Lots of people on the National Do Not Call Registry complain they still receive unwanted calls from Robocallers and telemarketers. Here are a few easy tools to cut down on annoying calls in 2015.

FOR LANDLINES:

Call Blockers: Viewer Laura Miller emailed the ConsumerWatch team about her Sentry Call Blocker, a device she bought on Amazon. The device automatically answers Miller’s home phone before it rings and plays a recorded message: “If you’re a telemarketer or a solicitor of any purpose, please hang up right now.” It only allows calls to ring through to Miller’s phone if the caller can press the number 1, something a robocaller can’t do. The device costs about $40 and Miller says it’s successfully stopped all telemarketing calls. Other companies make call blockers as well.

Anonymous Call Rejection: This is a free service available from most phone companies. Anonymous call rejection is a landline calling feature which screens out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information — a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline, though different phone services may have different procedures to set it up.

Verizon: http://www.verizon.com/support/residential/phone/homephone/calling+features/anonymous+call+rejection/questions+and+answers/96511.htm

Comcast: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/phone/rejecting-anonymous-calls

Nomorobo: Developed by Long Islander Aaron Foss, Nomorobo is the winner of the FTC’s Robocall Challenge. The free service screens out illegal robocallers and telemarketers, but only works if you get your phone service through your cable provider. https://www.nomorobo.com

FOR CELL PHONES:

Call Screening Apps: Apps like Privacy Star screen calls and provide information about the caller, helping you decide if it’s worth answering your phone. Privacy Star, for example, rates calls Green, Yellow or Red based on their calling history. A green call is from someone in your contact list, a yellow call is from someone who is not on your contact list, and a red call is from a number that has a history of complaints or a history of making a great number of phone calls — suggesting that they are likely a telemarketer. Most call screening apps charge a monthly fee. http://www.privacystar.com

More Information: The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to file complaints when they do receive illegal robocalls or calls from telemarketers. Even if the agency doesn’t take action against that particular caller, many call screening apps use the data to help identify telemarketers.

To file a complaint with the FTC: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

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