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New technology blocks unwanted robocalls

Nomorobo has blocked almost 150 million calls
Posted at 10:28 PM, Oct 19, 2016
Harassing, annoying, illegal calls.  Add to that election season and the political robocalls. As the I-Team discovered there's a company putting numbers on a blacklist to help people block them.
 
Nomorobo has already blocked almost 150 million of those annoying calls, even the political ones. Which in a battleground state like Wisconsin is a relief for some consumers.
 
It's the pre-recorded voice most of us dread. Robocalls are finding ways around the systems put in place to block them. Threats and scams flooding your phone.  It's estimated consumers lose $350 million each year falling for these rip-offs.
 
For Gilles Fouquart it got to be too much. He works out of his home in Waukesha. His landline is his business phone. Robocalls became a constant problem.  
 
"I'd be on the phone having a business conversation, and then I'd get the interruptions....consistently at least three to four a day," Fouquart said.
 
So Fouquart signed up for Nomorobo, for free, to block the calls. The technology uses a simultaneous ring feature. If it's a robocall the phone only rings once on Fouquart's end and then Nomorobo goes to work.
 
"It lets us see the calls that are coming into your house. If it's a robocall we answer it for you and hang up on them," said creator Aaron Foss.
 
Foss created Nomorobo in response to the Federal Trade Commission's Robocall Challenge, which he won.  
 
Right now Foss' blacklist database has more than 400,000 phone numbers.  These automated blasts hit up to 40,000 phones in the U.S. a day.
 
Foss testified before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee about the problem, telling lawmakers, "currently the Do Not Call Registry is completely ineffective against these illegal mass dialer robocallers."
 
This time of year political robocalls join the mix.  
 
"It is legal for the politicians to make the calls," Foss shared.  "It's also legal for consumers to say 'hey we're going to use Nomorobo to block it.' " 
 
Foss said he gets a lot of "thank you" emails during election season.  
 
"People are reporting to me they will sometimes get 10 to 15 political robocalls a day that Nomorobo catches." 
 
Nomorobo has more than 750,000 users. So far, only 57 want the political robocalls to come through. Nomorobo is free for most landlines; there is a charge for cell phones.
 
The technology does allow some robocalls, like school closings, prescription and doctor appointment reminders.  
 
RELATED LINKS
 
 
Tips on how to block robocalls on your cell phone: http://www.ctia.org/your-wireless-life/consumer-tips/blocking-robocalls

Federal Trade Commission on robocalls: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0025-robocalls