Nomorobo: Block Robocalls For Good

robot-hand

Robocalls are annoying, and they seemingly can’t be stopped, no matter how many do-not-call lists you join, no matter how polite you are. Part of this is the fact that, even though telemarketers can’t legally call your cell phone, con artists don’t care about the law. So, when Rachel or Kelly or Christie from Card Services comes along, there’s a new weapon: Nomorobo. A tool for those who aren’t using the best Business VOIP providers and still kept thinking “Which Best Business VoIP Provider is Right For Me“.

Fighting Robots With Robots

The brainchild of Aaron Foss, and the winner of the FTC’s Robocall Challenge, Nomorobo essentially puts a robotic doorman between your phone and phone numbers trying to reach you by using simultaneous ringing. If your friends are calling, no problem, they go right through. Anybody else, though, has to make with the answers.

Robocall? Roboanswer.

First, Nomorobo compares the call to an ever-growing and changing blacklist. If the number is on the blacklist, Nomorobo blocks the call and the scammers can go cry about it. If the number is showing suspicious activity, like dialing numbers sequentially, or making a call every thirty seconds, Nomorobo swings into action and answers the robocall with a robovoice.

Essentially, it becomes a Captcha system; you’re asked to enter in some numbers to prove you’re a real person, and, if you can do that, your call gets put through. If you can’t, well, tough noogies.

Not Perfect, However

fracking-robocalls

The only drawback is that the service requires simultaneous ringing, which you can’t necessarily get depending on your provider. It’s easy enough with VoIP or landlines, but cellular connections may or may not have the service depending on which one you have.

That said, though, this is probably, for now, the most effective tool to stop robocalls, and it’s hard to see why Nomorobo, which is free for consumers and being sold to businesses, won’t have its system bought and installed by cellular providers. After all, they’d rather you burn your minutes talking to somebody you actually want to listen to.

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Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.

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8 Comments

  1. Comcast advertises this as a free service, but it won’t let me set up my landline. I tried it numerous times but the test set up rings, I answer it after 3 times, and the message says it is now protected. But on the computer screen, it says it is not. Their help line says to contact Comcast Technical Support. I already wasted enough time on this- that’s the last thing I want to do is spend another hour on the phone with Comcast@

  2. NoMoRobo works great at blocking robocalls, so long as those robocalls come from anyone other than Cardholder Services. Calls from the infamous Cardholder Services scam go right through NoMoRobo without being blocked. It is absolutely amazing how effective NoMoRobo can be against the robocallers that they want to block – so amazing that you just have to wonder why it is that Cardholder Services calls get through every day without fail. Does Cardholder Services have some magic technology that beats NoMoRobo’s filters or could the answer be much simpler? If the call centers making the Cardholder Services calls really did have some magic technology wouldn’t they be selling their service to other companies. I can’t say that NoMoRobo is working with Cardholder Services instead of blocking them, but I will say that all complaints pointing out that Cardholder Services robocalls consistently get through have been deleted from NoMoRobo’s Facebook page and the complainers have been blocked from posting on the page. NoMoRobo’s Facebook team tells people reporting problems that they need to contact the support email address, but all you get if you email their support address is an automatic reply telling you they are too busy to bother responding.

  3. Suzi is right — NoMoRobo works very well — against everyone EXCEPT Cardholders Services (probably the single most prolific and most annoying robocaller in the nation!) I strongly doubt Cardholder Services is using any different technology, they just keep changing the spoofed ID on their calls. If that’s all it takes to completely defeat the geniuses at NoMoRobo, then the service is a sham.

  4. You might look into Nomorobo again. It seems that they can no longer simu ring the “Cardmember services” scam robocall. I have repeatedly given Nomorobo the same scammer number and caller id, and Nomo seems to either be ignoring it, given up, or just doesn’t care anymore. Sorry Nomorobo, you seem to be failing.

  5. I looked at this service. Their privacy/ToS says they will treat your info on their website correctly. However, I find it odd that they say nothing about your phone call records. The way this service works, they effectively can log all your incoming phone call details. NoMoRobo has nothing (that I could find) that says if they are abiding by the same personal information privacy rules for your phone records. What will they use that info for? Will they resell your phone call history? What do they do to protect your phone history? etc.

  6. My landline provider doesn’t support simultaneous ringing so this is no help to me. Their site won’t reveal which providers actually do support it, so there’s no way to know which provider to switch to. Has anyone actually found a provider that supports it and if so, which one is it?

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