By Ari Driessen
Do you have your own personal stalker or an ex-boyfriend (or girlfriend) who just won’t accept that it’s O-V-E-R? Perhaps a persistent telemarketer? Sure, there does come a point when hitting the ‘ignore’ button on your phone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Well, depending on your carrier and cell phone model, there may be a solution that you can dial in.
Recently, I was getting harassed by a blocked number on AT&T. Since the number was blocked, I couldn’t provide the number to AT&T to block them from calling me. To my surprise, AT&T did not have a way of seeing which number was calling me. The robocalls became so frequent that I thought I would have to change the phone number I’ve had for 15 years. Luckily, I found out about an app that works on both iPhone and Android called TrapCall that allows you to unmask the number, and even block it if you want. The app was a lifesaver, as I was able to figure out which number was calling me, and then provide it to AT&T for them to block. TrapCall offers a free trial which will allow you to unmask the number you need, and then you can cancel. If you want to keep using it to blacklist numbers and take advantage of their other features, it’s just $4.99 per month. Sign up for TrapCall here.
AT&T: If you have AT&T Wireless, you’re in luck. Although this luck will come at the price of $4.99 per month, AT&T offers a service called Parental Controls that will allow you to limit “who the phone can call or text (incoming and outgoing) by blocking or allowing certain numbers.” After a month of subscribing to this service, your tireless caller will likely get the hint that that their calls won’t be going through anytime soon, and hopefully throw in the towel.
Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon: Sprint offers online call blocking if you login to your user portal on their website. Verizon will block up to 5 numbers for 90 days, but after that you will have to pay a small monthly fee. Currently, these providers do not offer the ability to block a specific number from calling. T-Mobile currently does not offer a native way to block numbers from calling or texting your mobile phone.
If your offender is a telemarketer, stop them in their tracks by registering with the National Do Not Call Registry. It is illegal for telemarketers to call you after you have been added to this list. Allow 31 days for your registration to take effect, and if the calls still don’t stop, file a complaint.
Depending on what cell phone model you have, there may be a built-in or downloadable option to limit incoming calls. Some Nokia devices, for example, are compatible with an application called BlackList. There are several options available for Windows Mobile devices as well. Try performing a quick google search for “[name of your device] + block calls”.
Your phone may be compatible with a free service called YouMail. With YouMail you can block unwated voicemail messages. “And you can do it with a very formal “This number is no longer in service…” type of message or something more errrr, personal – it’s up to you. The callers you ditch get the designated greeting you choose and are never given the option of leaving a voicemail message. And so the buzzing stops!”
You’ve tried politely and not-so-politely to tell the caller that their calls are not wanted, but to no avail. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. Try tricking your caller into believing that either you have blocked their number or that your line has been disconnected. Have a friend with a mature sounding voice record a new outgoing voicemail message for you. Try something to the effect of “Message W26: The number you are trying to reach has been disconnected. If you believe this message is in error, please hang up and try your call again later.”
Be sure to leave plenty of empty space after the recording so the caller will hang up before the voicemail “beeps.” If your message is convincing, chances are that after a couple tries the caller will give up.
It’s not a perfect solution, but if you can tolerate not getting incoming calls for a couple days, try forwarding all your calls to a different number. Send calls to a string of digits like “555″ so the caller will get an error message, or even send your calls to the Pizza Hut in Nowhere, Alaska. They might get the hint.
If all else fails, it may be time to face the music. If the caller doesn’t know your number, they can’t call you. Give your wireless carrier a call, explain the situation, and ask them for a new number. There’s a chance they may even take pity on you and wave the charges to change your number.