Get back control of your landline, and banish those spam phone calls

illustration of woman and phone

Remember the good old days, when the home phone rang and you thought “Oooh, I wonder who that is?” and walked with a curious smile to the phone?

  • Well nowadays I suspect that most of us (when the landline rings) have an expression more akin to the lady in the picture above.

Why? Well looking through my recent list of incoming calls, I see that a huge proportion (probably as many as a third) are spam (sales, PPI, ‘surveys’ etc.). I’ve always “done the right things”. We’re registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). I’ve always carefully ticked the box “I do not wish to be contacted…” (or recently often made sure that I did NOT tick the box “I wish to be contacted by third-party…”) and yet somehow they all get my telephone number.

The solution? Well, assuming you are based in the UK, then it’s remarkably easy – it’s truecall. Essentially you purchase a box (£99, plus it’s worth the yearly £20 subscription after the first year which gives you access to the website) which you plug into your phone line. It intercepts each call and:

  • If the call is in your address book (i.e. it is one of your friends/family) then it lets the call through immediately
  • If the call is not in your address book then it automatically answers the phone. It asks the person to say their name. This confuses most ‘automated’ computer systems, which (in my experience) means that almost no spam callers get through. In fact, I can only recall one ‘spam’ call getting through to me in the past year – incredible considering I estimate that we get 3 or so per day!

Yes, Roger, but how difficult is it to use” I hear you say. It’s a doddle. You can easily add your friends and family to its address book via its website. I won’t go into detail (all the instructions/information is on their website) but enough to say that (after the first couple of weeks when you spend a little time adding all the trusted people who call you) you will find that you perform almost no ongoing maintenance on it. We have had ours for almost 3years, and it is remarkable the transformation that it has made to our house. No longer do I get that ‘sinking feeling’ when the phone rings.

The only thing that surprises me is how few people know about Truecall. None of my friends/family use it, and (however much I evangelise about it) none of them show any signs of getting one… and yet many/most of them moan about spam phone calls. Even a recent article by The Guardian failed to mention it (instead they test a far inferior product from BT).

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, I have no connection to the company whatsoever (just a very satisfied customer).

All I need now is to find a decent Android app which does the same thing as Truecall, because they have now started phoning my mobile…

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