How to Stop Solicitation Calls on a Voice Over IP Phone
By Andy Walton
Solicitation and telemarketing calls can be a significant problem for your business, causing distraction and wasted time to you and your colleagues. Many VoIP providers allow you to block certain numbers, helping you to prevent regular repeat offenders from calling back. Alternatively, you could invest in a robocall blocker to automatically block calls from automated numbers. You could also sign up to the National Do Not Call Registry, making it illegal for some telemarketers to call you.
Blocking the caller's number is probably the simplest way to stop incoming solicitation calls. Most VoIP providers allow you to configure call blocking either through your VoIP software or by contacting your provider to have the block placed directly. However, blocking a single number in this way is only useful if you know the number of the person who is calling you. If the organization sending you solicitation calls keeps their number hidden then regular number blocking is of little use.
Call filtering is effectively a more advanced version of number blocking. With call filtering, calls are filtered according to specific rules, such as whether the incoming number is already in your VoIP address book. This allows you to create whitelists of numbers, where only numbers that meet certain criteria can call in to you. However, call filtering can also create its own problems, such as when clients or colleagues call in to the office on a number that the system doesn't recognize.
National Do Not Call Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry allows you to opt out of receiving most telemarketing calls. Once you add your number to the registry, telemarketers have 31 days to stop calling you. After this time period, companies can face heavy fines if they call you on the number you registered. You should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if you suspect that companies are violating the registry's terms. However, charities, political organizations and companies that you have a pre-existing business relationship with can still call you, even if you add your number to the list.
A robocall blocker is useful if you regularly receive solicitation calls placed by an automated dialling machine. Robocall blockers are able to detect whether or not a call has been generated manually or automatically and cut calls off accordingly. For example, Nomorobo analyzes incoming phone activity for specific patterns common to autodiallers. If the service suspects that a call might be automated but isn't sure, it picks up on the caller and asks them to input a PIN number.
Take Sensible Precautions
You can cut down on the number of solicitation calls you receive by modifying your own behaviour. For example, do not pick up the phone if you suspect an incoming call is a solicitation call, as this confirms to the company doing the soliciting that your number is live. If you do pick up the phone to a solicitation call, calmly tell the operator that you are not interested and then hang up the phone. In addition, consider reporting repeat offenders to your VoIP provider, as they may be able to help you.
Andy Walton has been a technology writer since 2009, specializing in networking and mobile communications. He was previously an IT technician and product manager. Walton is based in Leicester, England, and holds a bachelor's degree in information systems from the University of Leeds.