Consumer Assistance Program : University of Vermont

University of Vermont

Consumer Hotline:  Toll Free In VT (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183

Call_Blocking

BLOCK UNWANTED CALLS   


Illegal scams and telemarketing calls, including recorded “robocalls”, are the #1 complaint received at the Vermont Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program and other state and federal consumer protection agencies.  
 
If you are receiving these unwanted calls, there are a number of call blocking options available that you may want to consider. This is an emerging technology, and each method of call blocking has advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to review them carefully before deciding if one is right for you.  Most device blockers currently require phone service Caller ID to be established.  In addition to the devices listed below, you may also contact your telephone provider to learn whether it will block unwanted calls, how many numbers can be blocked, and whether there is a fee for that service. Check the Customer Information Guide at the front of your phonebook for this information.

CHITTENDEN COUNTY SCAM CALL-BLOCKING PROJECT

CAP has obtained a grant* to provide 115 free call-blocking devices to seniors for installation on a land-line telephone. 50 devices have been reserved for seniors in Chittenden County**. The remaining 65 will be distributed to seniors throughout the state Priority will be given to low-income seniors.   

Our goal is to determine if these devices will be effective in reducing the number of live and recorded scam telephone calls and illegal telemarketing calls.  And, hopefully decrease the anxiety and annoyance caused by receipt of these calls! The device is free, there is no cost for the installation and particpants will keep the device.    

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

You may be eligible if: 

  • You are a senior living in the state of Vermont who is receiving unwanted scam or illegal telemarketing calls
  • You have a landline telephone that has Caller-ID service
  • You will complete a short pre-installation survey about the number of scam and illegal telemarketing calls that you currently receive
  • Three months after installation, you will complete a 2nd short survey on the effectiveness of the device in blocking unwanted calls.   

To apply to obtain a free call-blocking device, contact Danielle Shaw at 802-656-3572 or by email at danielle.shaw@vermont.gov.     

 
*The grant was provided by The State Center, a NYS non-profit corporation that supports consumer protection work by state attorneys general. 

** In-person installation is limited to Chittenden County seniors, as the project is being operated by existing Consumer Assistance Program staff who are located in Chittenden County. This will allow us to allocate the maximum amount of the grant towards the purchase of call-blocking devices. Seniors outside of Chittenden County must be able to pick up their device in-person at the Consumer Assistance Program office in Burlington, as there is not funding for postage.


OTHER CALL BLOCKING OPTIONS

PLEASE NOTE:  THE LIST BELOW IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES.   THE VERMONT ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE DOES NOT ENDORSE ANY PRODUCT OR SERVICE. PRICES MAY VARY. 

Helpful Term Definitions

  • Whitelist – A list manually programmed by the consumer for the phone to recognize and accept “safe” numbers.
  • Blacklist – Software with a preloaded list of thousands of spam numbers.
  • VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol, such as Skype, Vonage, Magic Jack.   VoIP technology uses the internet to provide communications services rather than via the public switched telephone network.  
  • SMS – short message service or text message (i.e. text messages).
  • iOS – iPhone Operating System.

Devices for landline telephones:    

  • Digitone Call Blocker Plus: Uses black and white lisCt technology. Blocked calls are silenced. - $93.
  • CPR Call Blocker V5000 or V202:  Uses black list technology.  User can block calls as they come in and program numbers to block. - $99.
  • HQTelecom.com Landline Call Blocker: Requires user to block numbers manually by pressing a “block” button as calls come in. - $59.
  • Sentry Dual Mode Call Blocker: Callers must prove they are legitimate by listening to a recorded message and pressing “0” when prompted. The message is recorded in a British accent, which may cause some callers to think they have reached a wrong number. - $59.
  • CPR Call Blocker Protect: Uses whitelist only- so will block every call not on the list. - $50-75.
  • Telezapper TZ 900: Uses a special tone that tells predictive dialing computers that a number is disconnected. - $40.
  • T-Lock Call Blocker Version 5: Requires Caller ID to be activated. Can block incoming and outgoing phone numbers and calls without an ID. Stores the last 100 incoming and 50 outgoing calls.  - $39.
  • Pro Call Blocker Version N2: Can block entire area codes and prefixes. Blocks incoming and outgoing phone calls and calls without an ID. Stores incoming and outgoing call records. Requires password to remove blocked numbers from list. - $43.

Call-blocking apps for wireless phones:  

  • Robokiller: Winner of the Federal Trade Commission’s  2015 “Robocalls –Humanity Stikes Back” contest.   Calls are  analyzed  for audio clues that identify whether the caller is a robocall.  – Free beta format for smartphones, specifically iPhones, with an Android platform app in development.   http://www.robokiller.com/
  • Check your app store for other available technologies.
See also The Wireless Association’s web-site for information on options for limiting robocalls received by your wireless phone. 

Call-blocking services for VoIP lines (like Skype, Vonage, Magic Jack, Google Voice and similar):   

  • Nomorobo: Won the Federal Trade Commission’s 2013 "Robocall Challenge", the first public contest to develop a robocall blocker. Intercepts and compares incoming calls against black and white lists. Free for VoIP Landlines. https://www.nomorobo.com

Last modified June 20 2017 01:30 PM

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