Dealing with Spam Phone Calls
In our last article, we looked at how to avoid spam email. While junk email is annoying, junk phone calls are positively obnoxious. You may have already signed up on the do not call list, but there are other things you can do to stop unwanted telephone calls:
Stop telemarketers from ever calling
The first thing to do is sign up on the national do not call registry . There are several loopholes to this registry so it won’t stop the calls, but it will slow them down.
The next obvious step is to not give people your phone number. When a store asks for your phone number, just don’t give it to them.
Get a second number for spam phone calls
The other step you can take is similar to the multiple email system discussed in our last article. You can get a second phone number for free at google.com/voice. You can use this second phone number just like you would your email address you use for spam, by giving the number out to people you don’t really want to talk to. I give my google voice number out to all of my credit card companies because I know that they sell my information to third parties who I don’t want really want to talk to.
On a rare occasion that my credit card company calls me for a legitimate reason, that is not a problem. The call goes straight to voice mail. Google then transcribes the voice mail for me and emails me the transcript. I can then read the email and decide whether it is important enough to for me to call them back or not. If I am expecting a phone call from somebody I gave my Google Voice number to, it is easy to set up call forwarding so when somebody calls that number it will ring to whatever phone I want to. After my problem is taken care of, I can easily turn call forwarding back off.
Other good reasons to have a Google Voice number
Besides eliminating telemarketer calls, there are other good reasons to have Google Voice. It allows you to send text messages from a computer or tablet instead of your cell phone, and it allows you to make free phone calls over the internet either from your computer or over a smart phone.
The best reason though is that it transcribes your voicemail for you and emails you the transcript. It normally takes me a couple of minutes to call into my voicemail, enter my password, go through the options menu, and listen to the message. If I don’t have a pen around me I will have to call back later and waste another couple of minutes listening to the message again so I can write the phone number down. With Google Voice, I can read through the email in a few seconds, and if a phone number is left on the message, all I have to do is tap the number and my smart phone calls it automatically.