Cell phones offer a great convenience and we wish all the services worked similarly to our landline. Depending on your mobile carrier, you may have comparable features. Usually, you don’t. There are some other options to assist when trying to block Caller ID or unwanted callers
Blocking Your Cell Phone Number from Being Sent
Like residential service, there are two ways you can block your cell number from being sent to another party. The first and more permanent solution is to request a line block from your cell carrier. This feature is offered by most carriers, sometimes for a monthly fee. If you then need to display your phone number for a specific call, you dial *82 and then the phone number.
The second way to block your phone number from displaying is on an individual call basis. This may be best when you're asking about a product or service and you don't want to provide your number. To block your phone number from being sent, press *67 and then the phone number you wish to call. One way I remember this is *OS for Off Screen.
Your number can't be blocked in all situations. For example, your cell number will be sent if you dial most emergency services. Also, if you're dialing toll-free prefixes such as 700, 800 and 900 your number is also sent. These systems rely on a technology called ANI .
Blocking Telemarketing Calls to Your Cell Phones
A big problem people face is getting unwanted calls. We can attest to how distracting calls can be during work hours. You're in the middle of the project and someone calls you trying to sell a service. One option US residents have is to register your personal cell phone number in the National Do Not Call Registry. Your registration is good for five years and should take effect 31 days after you register. To verify your number is in the Do Not Call Registry, dial 1-888-382-1222.
There is still is some confusion about who can still call you. The NDNCR will not stop all telemarketing calls. The FTC provides more information in a FAQ publication. The following groups are still allowed to call:
- Political organizations
- Charities (limitations on people calling on behalf of charities)
- Telephone surveyors so long as they don’t offer to sell anything
- Companies with which you have an existing business relationship
- Companies you agreed in writing to get their calls
Blocking Unwanted Callers
This is the weak link with cell phones. Most landline and broadband phone carriers offer call management packages that allow you to define who can call you. If you're not on the approved list, you have to go through a series of extra steps. This same functionality is rare with mobile carriers.
An area where the mobile carriers do offer help is with harassment. Most states have laws defining what is phone harassment or cyber stalking. Your carrier may prefer you file a police report before contacting them. Some may only proceed if a subpoena is issued.
Your phone may provide some built in options such as filtering based on the Caller ID. For example, some Nextel phones allow you to block Private Callers. You should check your phone’s owner manual for these options or find an online cell forum that has a group for your phone. A good resource is HowardForums.
If you have a Smartphone, you may have more options by using third party programs that can block calls. Some examples include MagiCall, which works on Windows Mobile and CallShield Pro, which works on Palm OS devices. The feature set can differ based on your carrier. A newer arrival for the Android market is from YouMail and can be found in the Google App store. Sometimes, your carrier or phone manufacturer may not want you to use such features. As example, it looks like iPhone users might have to jailbreak their phone to use an app.
Faking Caller ID Numbers
Caller ID, like many identification systems can be faked by people. There are services that offer to change your Caller ID and send fake information. This is known as Caller ID spoofing. Some of these systems may be able to bypass your software and get through. Although the practice isn't new, it is coming under scrutiny. According to a recent Wired article , the FCC has opened an investigation into these services.
Silencing the Unwanted Callers
You may not be able to stop the call, but you may be able to silence the ring. This requires that your phone allow you to assign ring tones to contacts. A good example is a tip I saw from the owner of a Samsung t809. He or she assigned a silent MP3 file as the default ring tone. For known contacts, the author assigned an audible ring tone. The result was the phone could only be heard when a known contact called. Your phone may have a built in silent ring tone.
While your cell phone may not work exactly as your landline, these steps can improve the situation. Hopefully, you can make your cell phone a productivity tool rather than a ringing annoyance.
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Last Updated (Saturday, 17 March 2012 11:11)