No-Ring Calls on Voicemail? Telemarketers!

Telemarketers now have a direct line to your voicemail. Called ringless technology, this “voice spam” can be even more annoying than ringing robo callers.


So you’re already listed in the Do Not Call Registry, but those pesky telemarketers still find you? You know the ones…calling to hock vacation timeshares, banish your debt, warn “the IRS” demands payment, scream “you-just-won-a-free-cruiseand on and on and on…

Yes, telemarketers have your phone number (and cell number), and they’re popularizing ringless technology to stuff your voicemail with solicitations. These callers skirt current telemarketing laws, claiming ringless technology is not technically a “call” since your phone does not ring. Thus, the Do-Not-Call opt-out you should have in place does not apply.

So ringless telemarketer messages don’t seem to be illegal, though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may change that. (Read public comments to the FCC about this issue here.)

Some consumers might prefer ringless technology, seeing it as a better alternative than answering the many robocalls that plague them. However, just one telemarketer can stuff a voice mailbox so full that important messages are shoved out. Unlike the spam filters you probably use for blocking written emails, there is no universal filter for unwanted voicemails or “voice spam.”

Right now, you have few options to foil ringless technology:

  • Apps labeled as call blockers (free or subscription)
  • Phone service provider built-in features 
  • A Google Voice number alias 
  • Just delete, don’t answer (and definitely don’t reply)
  1. Cellphone apps that block calls come in two flavors: those that access your contact list and those that don’t. Definitely read the privacy policy before installing, and realize that blocked calls transfer to voicemail anyway. For example, Hiya is free but wants to access your contacts. A spinoff from the “Whitepages” online phone directory, Hiya’s stated purpose is to offer spam protection and caller ID to stop spam and text calls. The Nomorobo app, which won the 2015 Federal Trade Commission’s contest to stop robocalls, is by subscription. Nomorobo’s database (of about 500,000 spammers) constantly updates but may not catch calls without caller ID and may not be supported by your phone service provider.
  2. Your phone provider options might allow call blocking for a limited number of callers, a parent control feature to block certain calls/texts, or a robust spam filter. There is likely a fee per month or number of callers blocked, and you probably enter the numbers to be blocked.
  3. Google Voice does provide spam filtering via a database of known spammers so numbers Google recognizes as spam cannot send you calls, texts and voicemails. You can port your existing phone number or sign up for a new one. Fees may apply, so check Google Voice how-to here.
  4. Delete or don’t answer may be the most economical option, unless you must deal with a full voice mailbox often.

Of course, you should add your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry, if you haven’t already.

Why can’t telemarketing robo calls be stopped by the FCC? Two main reasons:

  1. Robo callers dial millions (maybe billions) of phones daily, often from untraceable, masked numbers.
  2. The lion’s share of callers originate overseas, where U.S. laws do not apply. So the FCC must rely on third-party solutions and support of other organizations with advanced technology to identify phone spoofing, according to

Do you think telemarketers need access to leave you a message?

Just hang up to avoid robo callers


2 Responses to “No-Ring Calls on Voicemail? Telemarketers!”

  1. therichmiser

    Strangely enough, it is my Google Voice number that gets the most spam calls, despite my enabling the spam filter. I suspect it’s because the number has been recycled a greater number of times than my real number, which is from an area code that is not as popular.

    Anyways this new technology is insane, I hope it gets banned!



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