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A Whitelist for Phone Calls? 151

Posted by Cliff
from the i'd-settle-for-a-blacklist-on-my-cell-phone dept.
javacowboy asks: "I've been getting lots of strange phone calls lately. Most of the time, my phone would ring less than three times and then stop before I can answer. Then, a couple of nights ago, I got a call at 3am in the morning. It had stopped ringing by the time I woke up. *69 revealed a number with an area code of 632, which does not exist. I called the number, and the call would not complete past the area code. I want a product or service with which I can set up a -whitelist- of numbers that I allow to make my phone ring. Any number not on the list, or an unlisted phone number, tries to call me, and the phone doesn't ring at all. I would pay as much for this service as I would pay to have my number removed from the phone directory. Is something like this possible? If so, how would I do it?"
I'm getting fed up with: wrong numbers; callers hang up on me as soon as I speak into the phone; telemarketers; crank calls; late night calls; people I know that I no longer wish to speak to; etc. My telco charges $8 a month for call display, which is exorbitant. Still, a call display won't prevent my phone from ringing. A do not call list will not prevent my phone from ringing. Getting my phone number removed from the phone directory will not prevent wrong numbers. How can filter out the calls that I don't want to deal with?"
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A Whitelist for Phone Calls?

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  • by vonsneerderhooten (254776) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#19572781)
    I remember seeing a while ago a device that you can program with a passcode. If you know the passcode, it lets the call through, if not, it emits a fast-busy signal. Damned if i can find a link to it, though.
    • telezapper (Score:5, Informative)

      by phatvw (996438) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:10PM (#19572955)
      I think you're talking about the Telezapper [telezapper.com] A quick google search turned up a nice privacy page with useful, although fairly obvious recommendations: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs3-hrs2.htm [privacyrights.org]
      • by phatvw (996438)
        From the privacy page linked above: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs3-hrs2.htm [privacyrights.org]

        • "Another product on the market is an attachment to the telephone called an "inbound call blocker." It allows only those callers who enter a special numeric code onto their touchtone phone pad to ring through to your number. This device is highly effective in preventing unwanted calls. However, you must be certain to give the code to everyone you want to talk to. Even so, you could miss important calls from unexpected sources
      • "Privacy Manager" (Score:3, Informative)

        by oneiros27 (46144)
        From the article you linked to, the very last item mentioned is 'Privacy Manager'. My brother had it (or something remarkably similar ... he said it was from the phone company, not a device) for a few years, before he just went and got his number un-listed.

        The only time he ever had a problem was when he was waiting for a call from our step-father, who it seems had problems with his cell phone, and was trying to call from a pay phone, and kept getting blocked ... but he wasn't presented with the prompt to e
      • Re:telezapper (Score:4, Informative)

        by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @12:55AM (#19575195)
        Someone mod the parent down before too many slashdotters waste their money, the telezapper used to work -- but now it doesn't anymore. A few years back the automatic dialers relied on the standard telephone tones to know that a telephone had been disconnected, or busy, or whatever. The telezapper exploited that functionality by faking those tones whenever someone called. And the telezapper got so popular, that the makers of the automatic dialers stopped relying on those tones alone to know that a phone was disconnected, so now the telezapper is completely useless. Not only that, but the telezapper was also rarely used once purchased since *everyone* not just the telemarketers -- got to hear the annoying tone at the beginning of the call. Now, the people selling telezappers are just rip off artists, they know their products don't work -- so don't expect a refund.

        No, the real solution is to get caller id from your phone company (assuming you live in a State or a Country that allows it) and buy one of those devices that white lists the phone numbers you want to receive, and otherwise allows your callers to punch in a special code in case they're not white listed yet. That special code, you could give it out only to your friends, or you could simply leave it on your outgoing message -- since even leaving it as an outgoing message will probably screen out a good portion of automated telemarketers. And notice, I said buy a device, don't rent, do not lease it from your phone company, those things are dead cheap, and the phone company is just going to make a nice profit on the monthly fee.

        And someone said it already, but I just want to repeat it in case some of you missed it. If you have a cell phone, check your manual to see what kind of built-in functionality it already has. Even the basic cell phones these days have some pretty decent scheduling functionality, ring tones or vibrations for different numbers (or categories of numbers), and automated forwarding of certain phone calls directly into voice mail.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:56PM (#19572785) Homepage Journal
    Looks like your mysterious 632 area code is really Manila [howardforums.com], probably an outsourced call center in the Philipines.

    Your topic is a Dupe [slashdot.org], but a simple google search turned up these guys [sentinelco...ations.com].
    • by Intron (870560)
      Might not be. In USA, T-1 attached PBXs are programmed with the caller ID information, so anyone with their own PBX can pretend to be any number they want.
  • by karnal (22275) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:57PM (#19572791)
    I have two solutions:

    1. If you're a geek, try to wrap your head around Asterisk - I'd have to think either it would have that functionality built in, and if not - wouldn't be too hard to tell it to pass whitelisted #s, but dump everything else to voicemail....

    2. I use Broadvoice at home, and when I don't want to be disturbed, I *77 the phone. *78 unblocks it (takes it out of Do Not Disturb) - of course, this doesn't help when it's late at night and I don't do the *77 ahead of time, but I can make sure I don't get awoken again.

    Both of these implementations almost require an internet connection. While you can purchase FXO modules for Asterisk, I've just not had the interest in making a go at it with a PSTN connection....

    Another alternative - only one phone in our whole house rings. I sleep rather well, so I probably wouldn't hear it if it rang at night...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Southpaw018 (793465) *
      Asterisk will handle this easily, but will only work if all phone in question are tied directly into it. For example, a cell phone won't be included in the solution. Just a note, since the submitter doesn't specify.
      • You could route the cell phone through Asterisk. (Incoming call connected to outgoing call to the cell phone, cell phone dials Asterisk to call out)
      • by karnal (22275)
        Actually, I think the submitter mentioned a fee for caller ID - I'm not sure that there's any cell service that actually charges for that, right?
        • The submitted mentioned the fee he pays the local phone company for his phone number to remain unlisted.
    • by darnok (650458) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @11:55PM (#19574889)
      > 1. If you're a geek, try to wrap your head around Asterisk - I'd have to think either it would have that
      > functionality built in, and if not - wouldn't be too hard to tell it to pass whitelisted #s, but dump everything
      > else to voicemail....

      Absolutely - I'm putting in an Asterisk box progressively over the last few nights to do all this and more. The rules aren't absolutely fixed in my head yet, but will be something like:
      - voicemail for everyone in the house; if someone calls, they can choose who they leave a message for
      - no calls after 10pm, unless it's from a whitelisted number (i.e. parents, friends)
      - no calls between 7pm-8:30pm, unless it's from a whitelisted number
      - *all* calls from numbers without caller ID go direct to voicemail (i.e. phone doesn't even ring), regardless of when the call comes in

      Asterisk basically gives you full-on routing capability for your incoming and outgoing calls. You can define rules based on caller ID, time of day, ... - pretty much any "property" of either incoming or outgoing calls.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I did this with asterisk earlier this year. When a call comes in, the number is checked against a mysql database to see if the number is whitelisted or blacklisted. Whitelisted calls go straight through, and blacklisted calls hear a message that their number is blacklisted and then asterisk hangs up. Greylisted calls go to a message that says telemarketer calls are not allowed, then proceeds to give the user the option of ringing through or leaving a message. Calls between 10pm and 9am get an 'after hou
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by walt-sjc (145127)
      If you are running asterisk and don't want to be disturbed at night, use time based routing. It's quite simple. Between 9pm and 7am, I have it setup so you have to press 5 to get through unless you are on the "family" whitelist. This allows emergencies to get through, and zero automated calls. I also require non-whitelisted calls to press 5 at all times. This has stopped all automated calls. The wording of the message strongly discourages non-personal calls from continuing. End result is that I have peace a
    • by josquint (193951)

      1. If you're a geek, try to wrap your head around Asterisk - I'd have to think either it would have that functionality built in, and if not - wouldn't be too hard to tell it to pass whitelisted #s, but dump everything else to voicemail....

      Been trying to wrap my head around it, but all I have are POTS phones. I know an IA92 intel modem should connect the Asterisk box to standard phone line, but what about my standad analog phones? I hate try to find business-like desk phones and replace my nice cordless

      • by karnal (22275)
        An FXS adapter (100$ usb?) for Asterix will allow you to connect your server/workstation up to your analog phones, and provide dialtone/ringing.
  • Missed calls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Propaganda13 (312548) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:59PM (#19572807)
    Whitelists will prevent
    1. your stranded grandma from calling you
    2. friends calling from their friends house
    3. that cute girl you just met
    4. various official phone calls that you really needed to receive

    Luckily, whitelists will still allow your mom to call from upstairs when dinner is ready.
    • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:12PM (#19572985)
      > Whitelists will prevent
      > 1. your stranded grandma from calling you

      Why she can't call your mum is beyond me! Why is granny your problem?

      > 2. friends calling from their friends house

      Geeks don't have friends, remember. They have online acquaintances who use IM or
      VoIP these days. Worst-case they might email you.

      > 3. that cute girl you just met

      Calls from girls? You're mistaking us for people who actually know how to talk
      to girls!

      > 4. various official phone calls that you really needed to receive

      When was the last time you were required to receive a phone call? If it's that
      important they kick in your door and confiscate your computer equipment using
      rent-a-cops looking for any music at all.

      > Luckily, whitelists will still allow your mom to call from upstairs when dinner is ready.

      Damn, the one person I dont' want to call. Mum just doesn't make enough geek food
      like pizza and she confiscated all my twisties. How am I supposed to write code with
      broccoli and mash as the fuel?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by honkycat (249849)

        Calls from girls? You're mistaking us for people who actually know how to talk to girls!
        No, parent was right. In the unlikely event that one of these things they call "girls" *does* call, it is absolutely vital that the call get through. The odds of it happening twice in a lifetime are so astronomical as to be the stuff of fiction.
        • I must admit that one of these things called "girls" did call me twice. Turns out they were both wrong numbers, so that doesn't really count.
        • by laffer1 (701823)
          If you do meet a 'girl', she may just email you anyway. When I met my wife, we just exchanged AOL screen names. (Yes, I used that awful service in the 90s) No need for one of those pesky phones. I didn't even know her number for the first month.
        • by dwater (72834)
          > The odds of it happening twice in a lifetime are so astronomical as to be the stuff of fiction.

          By 'astronomical', you mean 'infinitesimal', right?

          Otherwise, why bother with the first one, if the second one is so certain?
          Actually, it would seem that the second one is so likely, it's almost like it doesn't really matter if the first one happens at all...er, hrm. Sounds like something Douglas Adams would've thought up.

          Wait. Is this one of those USian say-the-opposite-of-what-I-mean things? ...like, "I ain
          • by honkycat (249849)
            Well, given that probabilities can't exceed 1, I think it's safe to assume I'm referring to the reciprocal of an astronomically large number. Think of it like the astronomical(ly small) gas pressure in intergalactic space.
        • by Fulkkari (603331)

          No, parent was right. In the unlikely event that one of these things they call "girls" *does* call, it is absolutely vital that the call get through. The odds of it happening twice in a lifetime are so astronomical as to be the stuff of fiction.

          If the call gets trough, that still leaves us with the problem how to talk to the girl, doesn't it?

      • I generally just answer everything that comes from my local area code. If it doesn't or isn't of a small group of people I expect to call long distance I don't answer it. Would be nice to be able "whitelist" by area code. Most of the time the girl you just met will have a local number, if not do you really want a long distance relationship?? (Well if it means no commitment booty call??.. maybe)
    • If the system doesn't allow the phone to ring, but accepts a voice message, then most of the time, it's not a problem. If "stranded grandma" has a phobia of leaving a voice messages, then she f**king needs to get over it.
    • by JanneM (7445)
      I do have a whitelist on my mobile phone (the only phone I have), for both mail and calls. Nifty thing is, if a number or email is in my addressbook, it'll automatically be on the whitelist. So anybody I've exchanged contact info with can reach me, no problem. I would like the phone to whitelist any number I've called as well; perhaps in the next one.

      1. your stranded grandma from calling you

      Where she's stranded, no phone calls will go through. If I get a call from my grandmother it's time to call Max von Sy
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by tigersha (151319)
        >> 3. that cute girl you just met

        > I'm married.

        Then you DEFINITELY want that call to forwarded to another number!
    • Whitelists will prevent
      1. your stranded grandma from calling you
      2. friends calling from their friends house
      3. that cute girl you just met
      4. various official phone calls that you really needed to receive

      Luckily, whitelists will still allow your mom to call from upstairs when dinner is ready.


      I use a programmable fax switch. A cold call goes to the answering machine. A fax tone goes to the fax. A dialed 22 at the answering machine rings the phone on port 3. My friends and family know to buzz me if the mach
    • by dmayle (200765)

      What he needs is not just whitelisting, but greylisting. If he sets up and asterisk server with a default pass through on his whitelist, everyone else gets a recorded message asking them to press a button before ringing through to the house, and he can even force to voice mail for his non-whitelisted numbers at unreasonable hours. If he 's really concerned about someone needing to call him in the middle of the night, he gives out a passcode that people he knows can use to bypass the menu even in the middl

    • by Alioth (221270)
      Whitelists don't have to be that restrictive. I doubt this guy's getting annoying calls from the same area code - so allow any call from your area code to ring the phone. That solves the stranded granny, friends calling from a friends house, the cute girl an 99.9% of the official calls.
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      Whitelists allow certain calls to go directly through. Non-whitelisted calls get additional processing which may or may not allow the call to go through depending on a number of variables.
  • Stop telling your one night stands your phone number.

    • I can't even get one one night stand, you insensitive clod!
    • Exchanging numbers at clubs is now considered normal.
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        No, I ment if he stops scorning women then he'll stop receiving fury at 3am.

        • Who says the 3am calls have to be full of fury? The person you origionally replied to was talking about calls from women not getting through your whitelist because they weren't added to it.

          Maybe I'm not the standard geek, but I've gotten a whole lot of calls at weird hours that were more interesting than they were furious. Of course, I was usually out at the time and the calls were coming to my cell. If I'm asleep, I turn off the ringer. =]

          However, I have to admit that getting called by drunk people who
    • by malraid (592373)
      "Phone number? No I don't have one, and I don't have a last name either. My parent's were very postmodern, so they didn't give me a last name" ... Works everytime !!!
  • Use Asterisk (Score:3, Informative)

    by ResQuad (243184) * <slashdot@@@konsoletek...com> on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:02PM (#19572855) Homepage
    The scripting for the extensions.conf file is more than powerful enough to have a CallerID based whitelist, heck, you can even have it database powered. You can have the Asterisk PBX do what ever you want. How about:
    Step 1: Phone call comes in, Asterisk picks up
    Step 2: If the CallerID is whitelisted, ring internal phone.
    Step 3: If the CallerID is blank/unknown, prompt for CallerID or send to voicemail.
    Step 4: If the CallerID is black listed - do whatever you want (perma-onhold, disconnect, fast busy, etc)

    Its not hard, really. It would only take a few minutes to setup once you have asterisk running.
    • by BobPaul (710574) *
      It's quite easy in theory, but setting up Asterisk is no cakewalk. Although I guess I've never tried any those easy install asterisk distributions.
  • Grand Central (Score:5, Informative)

    by EMeta (860558) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:04PM (#19572879)
    The NYT had a very interesting article about Grandcentral.com, which I believe would whitelist and much more, if you sign up for them, which at the time, I believe was free. Here's the article. [nytimes.com]
  • I need something like this as well, but there are plenty of situations where I might need to get a call from a number I've never encountered. E.g., sometimes my wife forgets her phone (or it runs out of batteries) and ends up calling me from a friend's phone.

    I get junk fax calls sometimes between 3-5am on my cell phone (beep ... beep ... for a couple of minutes and hangup). They either have no caller id, an invalid phone number, or a phone number that the phone company doesn't think exists.
  • Don't have a phone. Well to be more realistic don't have a land line. I rarely get wrong number calls and never get telemarketing calls, but that's because I do not have a land line of any sort. Because of the rate structure in the US of cell calls it is illegal for you to receive unsolicited marketing calls on a cell phone.

    The other solution, as a friend of mine has taken on, is to switch to texting for anything you can.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Akaihiryuu (786040)
      On my cell phone, I set custom rings for everyone in my address book. I can turn off the default ring on my phone by setting it to "alarm only". Anyone in my address book will still ring, anything else is silent. I just use this setting when I don't want to be disturbed. The only time I answer an unrecognized phone number is when I'm expecting to possibly get calls, for example right now when I'm looking for a job in another state. If it really is important, and I don't answer it because it's an unreco
  • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:07PM (#19572915)
    Marriot Hotel. Lots of wrong numbers which isn't a problem. The one time it was a problem was when some teachers group had some sort of convention there.
    Their people printed our number on their fliers. Most of the folks were nice when we told them they had the wrong number, but a few got really pissed and insisted that they had the right number. I really wanted to say after they "insisted" rudely for a few times, "OK, you got me! This really is the Marriot and because I, Joe Schmoo, gave you a hard time, you can have the presidential suite and a bottle of Dom every night - free of charge. Here's your confirmation #." And then I would then let them go.

    My wife vetoed that. Sign....

    • My wife vetoed that. Sign....

      I've called my wife a lot of nasty things in the past, but never a *sign*. That's just wrong. Take that back.
    • by BobPaul (710574) *
      We had the same thing with the local hospital, though I forget which department. The best part was our number had an 8 at the end an the hospital's was a 9 -- easily confused in the cheap phonebook font, especially by the elderly, who would often insist we were the hospital. We promptly requested a new number...
      • by deniable (76198)
        We got issued the number of a former hospital. We had the number for ten years and were still getting referrals for, IIRC, mostly breast-screenings.
    • by deniable (76198)
      I had my work direct line (diverted to mobile after hours, never again) listed in the paper for a no-experience, good pay, lots of travel, sales job.

      About 10% of the 'applicants' failed the simple test of:
      Sorry, this is the wrong number, try nnnn-nnnn.
      Yes, the paper has the wrong number. No, I don't know about the job.
      I don't know about pay.
      I can't re-schedule your interview.
  • by Yuan-Lung (582630) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:07PM (#19572917)
    I want a product or service with which I can set up a -whitelist- of numbers that I allow to make my phone ring. Any number not on the list, or an unlisted phone number, tries to call me, and the phone doesn't ring at all.


    Many modern phones already have this feature, in the form of custom ring. Just set the numbers in your contact list that you would like to whitelist to have a ring, and set the default ring to silent.

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Southpaw018 (793465) *
      Damn, and I already posted in this thread and can't mod you up. I never would have thought of something that simple or elegant (if they're using a cell phone).
    • by coldcell (714061)
      That would seem helpful, though many people have some form of answer-phone/voicemail system, and (as someone who also suffers from TFA's problem) many of the cold callers, or even automated robot callers still get through. I'm getting sick and tired of deleting 5+ messages a day that simply hang up, or record a robot speech into my answerphone from people I don't know/want to deal with!

      For the record, I do usually set the 5+ phones in our house to silent when watching a movie, and only a couple on the lowe

    • Anyone know how to get a silent ringtone on a t-mobile phone?

      I've looked into the normal SMS format (basically prefix the content of the message with a "port number" that defines what kind of data follows) but apparently t-mobile screws with incoming messages and puts a header on them, causing the port number to be treated like normal text.

      While I would reluctantly pay a few bucks for a truly silent ringtone, I don't want to use one of those 3rd party services that will sell you ringtones because I don't tr
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Are you talking about a cell phone? If so, why does your provider have anything to do with it? Personally, I use mp3s as my ring tones, and making a silent ring tone is as simple as making a silent mp3.
    • Fuck that. Most modern cellphones you can set up to block calls from people who aren't in your address book.

    • How about a cell phone that will let you make certain numbers vibrate and the rest not ring or vibrate at all?

      That's what I really want. I never use ringtones. My phone is always on vibrate.

      • by Yuan-Lung (582630)
        I am using a hiptop2 [www.fido.ca], which when set to vibrate, vibrates based on the selected ringtone. So when a silent tone is selected, it won't vibrate at all.
  • Asterisk [asterisk.org] can do this rather trivially as part of the dial plans. Get yourself a TDM22B [digium.com] or some other similar card and you can set up anything you want to happen when a number calls in. From forwarding to another number to answering and then hanging up, to answering and asking for a passcode in order to make your phones ring, you can do it with an Asterisk set up.

    Maybe try Trixbox [trixbox.org] for an easy to use, all in one setup of the same. Pop in the Trixbox CD and it auto-installs.

    I have a configuration that

  • Super Simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @07:14PM (#19573027) Journal
    I'm not sure how this made it to the front page.

    The easiest solution:
    Go down to your local big box store & check out the various cordless phones. You'll find the ones with fancier base stations will allow you to deal with incoming calls however you like.

    After the person has called. You just setup that # not to ring, to go directly to voicemail or if the phone supports it, it'll just hang up.

    You don't even have to give up your corded phones & buy extra handsets.
    • by plierhead (570797)
      Your idea is probably one tenth of the cost, certainly one hundredth of the effort and most likely ten times as reliable as using Asterisk as some other posters have suggested....

      Therefore your geek credentials are hereby revoked.
  • "I got a call at 3am in the morning"

    As opposed to 3am at night?
    • by belmolis (702863)

      For normal geeks, 3 a.m. IS at night. The only people for whom 3 a.m. is in the morning are monks and marines.

  • You could setup an Asterisks PBX (free open source, based on Linux), use VoIP to save money, have all the features you need and a lot more, and if you have a spare PC lying around for this (an old one is plenty of power), it'll cost you a lot less in the long run than paying a monthly fee. Plus, it'll be really cool: music on hold (music YOU like :), different mailboxes, nice voicemail system, ability to use cool phones if you want to (like those Cisco phones w/ the color displays), etc. If you can afford
  • My phone line doesn't allow calls from people I don't want calling. If you're not from my area code, and you don't have CLI in the whitelist, you can only make my phone ring if you know the correct PIN. Otherwise, sorry.

    If you are a telemarketer or other phone spammer who has annoyed me in the past, you might get worse treatment. Depending on my mood, or based on your CLI, I might have the phone network tell you that my line isn't in service. Or I might consign you to "virtual ring" hell, where you will hea
    • by sparks (7204) *
      I should add that all these call treatments are handled by the network; I don't manually decide what to do with each call when it comes in; I have programmed these behaviours in advance.
  • Not sure if a cellular phone is acceptable for your situation or not, but one of my favorite features is "custom ringtones" based on caller-ID.
    If you set the main ringer to silent, and custom audibles for your friends, should work no problem!

    Which brings up another good question, in that i have a cellular phone the size of a pile of credit cards, with all these awesome features. but every cordless phone on the shelf looks like the same basic piece of shit they have been since the 80s. sure, maybe a color di
  • Non Tech solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sirknz (955428)
    Why not just leave the phone of the hook or unplug it from the wall overnight?
    • by Pope (17780)
      Leaving it off the hook is bad, and makes the phone go beep-beep-beep-beep all night long. I just switch the ringer off.
  • GrandCentral.com (Score:2, Informative)

    by biohack (955639)

    I am using a web-based service that, among other features, helps to control which calls will ring my phone(s): GrandCentral [grandcentral.com]. It allows to define several groups of white-listed numbers with separate response behavior (ring, send to voicemail, etc.) and also includes a couple of different screening options. For dealing with known telemarketers they even offer to play a "number not in service" message, but most auto-dialers can't get past the call screening anyway. It's a free service while in beta, but they p

  • I was surprised to learn that some towns in my area (verifiably, I'm sure they all do it) have, as part of their emergency response plan (think disaster response, not car-accident type stuff), to call every phone number in the exchange with a recorded message saying "GET THE HELL (IN YOUR CELLAR/OUT OF DODGE/OFF MY LAWN)", that kind of thing, and that they'd used it in the case of a disastrous flood.

    So, if you block your phone with a device, that probably won't work. I have to think that any of the serv
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      if you only apply the filter to calls from outside your area code that shouldn't be a problem. if they are in your area code you can drive down and raise hell.
      • by xrayspx (13127)
        Doing an inclusive whitelist and including the area code would be fine I guess if you're in like 802 or 207, but if you're in 617 or 212, it might suck. But yeah, should work as long as the local automated dialer thing the emergency services use sends correct CID info. I get a lot of stuff from my local area code (firefighters, cops) that I'd just as soon block.

        But yeah, good point, if it's granular enough for the user to allow specific phone numbers, it should be easy to do 617*
  • At the risk of being modded redundant...I have done this for years...and it is not that tough...but it can be mildly frustrating for friends.

    My last two mobile phones have allowed me to transfer someone directly to voice mail if the number from which they are calling is not in the phone's address book. This works well for me because I do not have a home phone...and I have a fairly complete address book.

    So after years of use how does it fair? Great for me...less so for others...but they deal. When they a
  • The software that speakeasy uses for VOIP has a selective acceptance feature. You can enter phone numbers or digit patterns for the whitelist.

    Kinda pricey for VOIP, though.
  • Check out GrandCentral.com. They allow you to blacklist, whitelist, set up different voicemail greetings for different people, and whatnot.

    My favorite feature is that you can transfer calls between any of your phones. So, if I'm on my cell and the battery is about to die, I just hit * and all my other phones (home, work, etc) start ringing. I pick up whatever phone is closest and I'm back to talking.
  • Andy Rooney, CBS Newsman
    Tips for Handling Telemarketers & JUNK MAIL

    Three Little Words That Work !!
    (1) The three little words are: "Hold On, Please..."

    Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of
    hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more
    time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

    Then when you eventually hear the phone company's "beep-beep-beep" tone,
    you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has
    efficiently complete
  • If you are in the USA there's no reason to be getting telemarketing calls. donotcall.gov will take care of that.

  • I have one of these [privacycorps.com]. They work great. Granted it works on a blacklist instead of a whitelist, but the blacklist gets populated pretty quickly and I've found that I don't need to add entries very often at all. You can hook up an answering machine, and any "blocked" calls can get sent directly to the answering machine without ever ringing the phone. You can block with wildcards, so entire area codes, certain prefixes, ranges, etc.. It's really very nice. I paid like $100 for mine.
  • Change your default ringtone on your cellphone to silent. If it doesn't support it directly, get a silent mp3 file or whatever your phone supports. Then change the ringtone for your whitelist numbers to something audible.
  • I did it with a simple bash script and a modem.

    http://www.liddicott.com/~sam/?p=26 [liddicott.com]

    Sam
  • We got one of these a few months ago and I think it will do everything to original poster wanted. You can set white and black lists of IDs, then set the device so that it'll allow everything, or only those on thr whitelist, or only block those on the blacklist; with an option for special handling of calls which don't show an ID, and for dealing with a block of numbers from the same area.

    Adding IDs can be as simple as waiting for them to call you and pressing a button.

    You can also set a quiet time where all

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