Thursday, April 19, 2012

Handling Telemarketers and Spammers

This post is for those of you who have your cell phone service through Sprint.

Since I first contracted with Sprint for cell phone services in April 2010, I have had problems with spam texts and with telemarketing phone calls. Part of the problem is that the person who previously had my number clearly gave it out a lot. At any rate, I registered my cell phone number with the Do Not Call web site and even filed online complaints, yet I still received calls and texts a couple of times a week. I even called Sprint and had them block incoming texts from people or entities not on my "list." That solution worked for a while, although as a result I also stopped receiving mobile coupons. Blocking numbers was even less successful because the telemarketers would simply obtain new phone numbers. On my old Android, I was able to create a contact named "Blocked Number"; every time a new number popped up, I would add the number to that contact. I sent callers using those numbers directly to voicemail.

Now I have an iPhone, and sending numbers automatically to voicemail is a feature the iPhone does not have. I still created my "Blocked Number" contact and set a specific ringtone for it, but just hearing the ringtone angered. In the last week, I have started receiving as many as five calls a day from (971) 220-1003 (an Oregon number; when I first answered the phone, I thought perhaps a relative was calling). I was actually semi-cordial to the first caller; I explained to him that I am on the do not call list and that he should remove my number from the list. He hung up on me, and I heard from him again the next day (and I will admit that I was not as nice the second time). I really would like to blow a whistle into the phone, but I'm not sure that's the Christian thing to do. Still, these calls and texts offer me nothing but negativity, something I don't need in my life. (My word of the year for 2012 is calm.)

Fortunately, I discovered an easier way to handle these telemarketers and spammers instead of calling Sprint every couple of days to add a new blocked number. If you are on the Sprint network, you can text the message "Block 5555555555" to 9999. You will receive a (free) Sprint message in response indicating that the number has been blocked from texting you (you will not be able to text that number either). (Note: Just in case I wasn't obvious, insert the phone number with the area code in place of the 5555555555.)

You can block calls using your Sprint account online. After you log in on Sprint's web site, click on "My Preferences." Under "Limits and Permissions," click on "Block voice." Click on the phone you want to block calls to. Click on "Block only the following phone numbers for inbound and outbound calls." Type the phone number with the area code (no hyphens!) in the box, and click "Add number." Then click "Save." The number will be blocked.

As you can see, you can also block data and wireless web. If you prefer to block texts using the Internet rather than using the text method I described above, you can do that as well.

Getting rid of the calls and texts from telemarketers and spammers is going to make me a much happier person. I am always happy to get rid of unnecessary annoyances.

If you have Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or some other cellular service, you may want to contact your carrier to see if they have similar ways for you to block calls and texts from telemarketers and spammers.


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