Thursday, March 24, 2016

An even better way to stop robocalls?

An even better way to stop robocalls?  I've written here several times about our Sentry 2, the best call blocking device I'd ever tried.  A few weeks ago I read about an alternative to having your own call blocking device: a free service called Nomorobo.  We've been using it now for three weeks, and I have only positive things to report:
  • It really is completely free.  They never even asked for a credit card.
  • It's a blacklist-based system - it looks up the number calling you, and if it's in their (apparently huge) database, it gets blocked.  If the caller is not on the blacklist (and presumably your friends, family, and local people are not), they get through without any trouble.
  • You don't have to do anything to maintain it.  With the Sentry 2, I spent some time every week adding numbers to block and numbers to allow.  With Nomorobo, I do nothing.  I like nothing :)
Here's what it's like to use the service.  Whenever someone calls you (including any robocalls), your phone rings as usual.  If it's a robocall, the phone rings just once: after that, Nomorobo blocks it and you're done.  If the phone rings more than once, it's a real call.  That's it.  That's the complete operating instructions.

We've had just one robocall slip through since starting our use of Nomorobo. That was a political call for Bernie Sanders (boy did they pick the wrong household for that!).  Our neighbors reported getting dozens of robocalls in the days leading up to our primaries this Tuesday.  Nomorobo blocked all but one of them.

At the same time, now we have zero problems with people getting through that we want to get through.  The Sentry 2 greets callers it doesn't know with a deliberately intimidating message, so if a store calls us and we don't have their number programmed in, they get that message.  Now they just hear the phone ring, as though we had no call blocking at all.

Summary: winner!


  1. We've been using NoMoRobo for some time now and have had a similar experience. It was indispensable during primary season!

    It was my understanding that NoMoRobo isn't so much a blacklist system as a detector of predictive dialing. This is good, since the spammers can fake their numbers, perhaps changing with every call. Instead, NoMoRobo looks at all of the calls ringing at a given time and blocks the ones that are all coming from the same number at the same time. That whacks the predictive dialer calls while letting individual calls go through. This does allow a few calls to leak through if the caller is dialing one number at a time, but I can live with that.

    It does make me wonder who is answering the polls, though.

  2. Ha! Who's answering the polls, indeed! Maybe that's the explanation for why the polls have such a poor track record these days - it's all Nomorobo's fault!!

  3. Unfortunately NoMoRobo doesn't work with Cox digital phone lines or mobile. I pretty much stopped using our Cox phone. Loving Project Fi and almost certain that Google has some nice spam filtering build in.