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In this video produced by the General Services Administration, Kati Daffan, a Federal Trade Commission attorney, shares five strategies consumers are using right now to fight illegal robocalls.  We appreciate the hundreds of people who sent in tips in response to the FTC’s Robocall Challenge, with special thanks to the authors of these submissions: Call Blocking with Disconnected Tone; Jeff H.; Jimmy’s Virtual Phone Service; Land Line Telephone; Tone Out Robo Calls; and Using the Special Information Tone for Disconnected Numbers.

Transcript

SAY THE WORD ROBOCALLS, AND PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY START TALKING ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD DO TO STOP THEM.

I AM KATI DAFFAN, AN ATTORNEY AT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.

AS PART OF THE FTCS ROBOCALL CHALLENGE, WE GOT TERRIFIC IDEAS FOR TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS. WE ALSO GOT SOME REALLY GREAT PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE REDUCING ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS DAY BY DAY. LISTEN TO THESE.

ASK YOUR CARRIER WHAT SERVICES IT OFFERS. SOME TELEPHONE SERVICE PROVIDERS ALLOW THEIR CUSTOMERS TO BLOCK CALLS FROM MULTIPLE PHONE NUMBERS. THEY MAY CHARGE FOR THAT SERVICE.

ALSO, SOME PEOPLE TOLD US THAT CERTAIN VOICE OVER INTERNET PROVIDER OR VOIP SERVICES REDUCE CALLS THEY DONT WANT.

ONE CONSUMER SAID HE USES VOIP HARDWARE THAT ALLOWS HIM TO TAG ANY INCOMING NUMBER AS UNWANTED AND THEN PLAY A DISCONNECTED TONE TO THE CALLER. AFTER HE APPLIES THIS TO AN UNWANTED CALLER, HE SAYS THERES USUALLY NO SECOND CALL.

CHECK OUT DEVICES FOR YOUR LANDLINE. SEARCH INTERNET SHOPPING SITES FOR CALL BLOCKER. YOU WILL FIND A VARIETY OF PRODUCTS AND REVIEWS.

A WOMAN SAID SHE USES A SPECIAL PHONE THAT CAUSES ROBOCALLERS SOFTWARE TO DROP HER NUMBER OFF THE CALL LIST. THIS NOT ONLY REDUCED THE NUMBER OF ROBOCALLS SHE GOT, BUT EVENTUALLY STOPPED THEM ALTOGETHER.

EXPERIMENT WITH SPECIAL INFORMATION TONES. YOU KNOW THOSE THREE-NOTE SPECIAL INFORMATION TONES THAT SIGNAL A NON-WORKING NUMBER? THEY SOUND LIKE THIS.

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.

SOME PEOPLE TOLD US THEY PUT THIS TONE AT THE BEGINNING OF THEIR VOICEMAIL OR ANSWERING MACHINE MESSAGE, AND IT RESULTED IN FEWER CALLS.

INVESTIGATE APPS FOR YOUR SMART PHONE. CALL-BLOCKING PRODUCTS AND REVIEWS ARE AVAILABLE AT YOUR APP STORE.

PEOPLE TOLD US THEYRE PAYING FOR APPS THAT WORK TO BLOCK ROBOCALLS ON THEIR CELL PHONES, AND THAT THERE ARE SOME FREE APPS THAT HAVE DECENT REVIEWS, TOO.

USE A VIRTUAL PHONE LINE WITH CALL SCREENING OPTIONS. ONE CONSUMER, CLEARLY SOMEONE WHO IS COMFORTABLE WITH TECHNOLOGY, SAID HE GOT A VIRTUAL PHONE LINE AND THEN FORWARDED THE CALLS FROM THAT LINE TO HIS ACTUAL PHONE. HE GIVES HIS VIRTUAL NUMBER TO EVERYONE AND KEEPS THE OTHER PHONE NUMBER TO HIMSELF.

SO, IF YOURE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND YOU KNOW HOW TO SET UP CALL FORWARDING AND SCREENING, THIS CAN BE A USEFUL AND FREE SOLUTION TO BLOCK ILLEGAL ROBOCALLS.

THESE TIPS MIGHT NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE, BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THEYRE WORKING FOR SOME PEOPLE.

WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU? SHARE YOUR ROBOCALL TIPS WITH OTHER CONSUMERS ON THE FTC's FACEBOOK PAGE AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH FEDERALTRADECOMMISSION.

THIS IS KATI DAFFAN FOR THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.

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Transcript - Files