By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We’ve all been there.  You’re just about to sit down to dinner and get interrupted by another annoying robocall.  But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, inventors have come up with a way to cut off the calls before you even pick up.

Wendy and Jim Damoulakis were annoyed by illegal telemarketing calls that used to constantly interrupt what they were doing. Wendy says, “I hate any intrusiveness into my life.”  The couple is on the Do Not Call list, but like so many of us their phone kept ringing.

The Federal Trade Commission openly admits they can’t stop all these illegal calls. So they held a contest last year looking for creative ways to solve the problem. The winner of the contest was Aaron Foss. His invention is called Nomorobo, as in no more robocalls.

Jim and Wendy signed up as soon as they heard about it.  Jim says, “I think this service is really a brilliantly simple and elegant solution to this problem.”

Customers must first check to see if their phone carrier is one of dozens now compatible with the service. If it is, you then sign up with your carrier for simultaneous ring.  That’s a feature which allows your phone to ring at home and at the Nomorobo servers at the exact same time.  According to Foss, “The service can detect high frequency calling patterns, so for instance of a robocaller is calling a thousand people in a span of minutes, that’s a red flag.”

That red flag means the call will be blocked.  Your home phone will still ring, but only once and then Nomorobo will hang up on the call.

For every blocked call, it’s a small victory at for Wendy and Jim. Wendy says, “it works and it keeps working.”  Outsmarting the robocallers, one ring at a time.

While there is no charge for residential landlines to use Nomorobo, business owners have to pay for the service. Among the carriers in our region that are compatible with Nomorobo are Comcast and Verizon digital voice and Vonage.

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