Aren’t telemarketer and robocalls annoying? They are one the most complained-about nuisances of the modern world. On a more sinister note, they are also a major way elders get ripped off through a variety of scams.
What if there was a way to block unwanted calls? Well, maybe there is. Some new services and devices may just help you and the elders you care about be free of nasty telemarketers. 2 of these options work with landlines, and 1 works with cellphones.
The first service I researched is called Nomorobo(www.nomorobo.com), the winner of the FTC’s Robocall Challenge. The company’s website proclaims the service is “easy, flexible, and free.” Indeed, “free” is one of the main pros for this service. It does appear to be flexible, allowing phone reminders for things such as prescription reminders and doctor appointments to go through. It also seems to be easy to use. One big drawback though, is that it uses a certain kind of technology that may not be available on a specific phone carrier’s system. You can check it for yourself by entering your information on the website.
The second option for a landline is a clever device called the Digitone Call Blocker (www.digitone.com). It gets 4.5 stars in its reviews on Amazon.com (although it was listed as out of stock as I write this) and people seem to love how well it works, including the ability to block entire area codes and choose a VIP list of people whose calls are allowed to be completed. It also seems to work on all landlines. A couple of cons to weigh, however, are its price ($99.95 plus shipping) and the requirement to have caller id. It also appeared to be somewhat complicated to program and set up, so you may have to ask a tech-savvy friend or family member to help install it. Nevertheless, I think it would be worth the price and hassle factor to reduce the risk to elders from telemarketers.
The third option is for cellphones. This service is called Trapcall (www.trapcall.com), and it works with both smartphones and so-called “dumb phones,” those without apps. Per the live chat I had with a rep called “Bryan,” it unmasks calls with “unknown” numbers, but not if the number is “spoofed” to look like a different number. What Bryan told me is that a person could then add the spoofed number to their blacklist via the Trapcall website (for dumb phones) or through the mobile app for smartphones. Their basic plans start at $4.95 per month if paid monthly, or $3.95 per month if paying for a year in advance.
Please keep in mind when checking out any of these services or devices that there isn’t a “magic bullet” solution, and you can always rely on the old standby:
Hang up on them.
Thanks for reading,