Phone spam

Dear Lazyweb, can anyone help?

Despite having long ago registered NOT to get spam phone calls, I get more of them than I do real calls.  It’s annoying enough when I’m sitting by the ‘phone (as I am when at the ‘puter – with which it shares a desk), but makes me positively angry when I run in from another room for it.  I’m getting to the point where I don’t bother to try with landline calls, except when I’m expecting them.

I tried asking BT about blocking spam numbers a while ago, but they say they can’t, or won’t.  SO I wonder, is there a ‘phone or other bit of kit I can buy, that’ll screen out incoming calls from any 08xx number (as well as withheld numbers – so I don’t have to trouble BT with them)?  I avoid answering those already, as they are reliably some-call-centre.

Posted on June 15, 2010, in spam, telephony. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Ditch your landline. Register a voip number. Use a voip phone. Should phone spam ever become a problem again, you now have the necessary power of control. You could then bother with playing with asterisk.

  2. I’ve often wondered how they get to us; we’re after all ex-directory!!! And that, these days seems to be a waste of time. I’ve got to the point that any phone calls during day time hours are not to be answered, but the devils seem to have caught on and we now occasionally get them in the evenings. Let me know if you find a remedy.

  3. Can’t really ditch the landline, as my ADSL rides on the back of it (though it’s slightly tempting to play with mobile broadband alone). But I guess it would be possible just to turn the phones off, and only connect for expected calls and outgoing calls.

  4. The enforcement of the ‘Telephone Preferences Service’ in the UK is beyond pathetic. It seemed to work, for a while – but that was back in the 90s, before the scum realised that lodging a complaint was simply too difficult for most people, and if they did manage it, all they had to do was refer it to their head office in the Cayman Islands for shredding.

    I don’t know if there’s any piece of equipment you can buy to stop it. There’s a thing called “Callblocker“, but it’s a bit inelegant.

    This is one area where the UK’s laws could do with some serious updating. I suspect carriers are legally obliged to connect calls to their subscribers, as long as they meet the basic technical requirements. Maybe a few loopholes need putting into that law, assuming the ITU will allow it. But of course it’s no good expecting BT to help you with that, it’s the last thing they want… you’d need to go directly to the politicians. Ofcom, or the Information Commissioner, might conceivably be helpful.

  5. Gordon (I think) on the DCGLUG list just sends the callers into a menu system via Asterisk, where they have to press buttons to place a regular call. If they claim to be a sales call (unlikely) it plays a message saying all household members are already answering sales calls and they will answer when they are available – indefinitely of course.

  6. Simon, nice idea in principle, but I think most of the spammers are ahead of the curve, playing you a recorded message rather than some nice Indian. Rather defeats the purpose of doing anything ‘interesting’ with them.

  7. Yeah, but that’s the beauty of sending them into a menu system. Even a very simple one (such as Callblocker provides – basically, it says “press 5 to continue”) will flummox a recorded message.

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