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-cruise” and 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Robo callers dial millions (maybe billions) of phones daily, often from untraceable, masked numbers.
- 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 http://www.robokiller.com
Do you think telemarketers need access to leave you a message?