Author Topic: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!  (Read 6140 times)

tooqk4u22

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Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« on: March 06, 2014, 01:27:14 PM »
Over the last few weeks I have started getting several calls from different numbers - as many as 20 per day.  I ignore them.

Aside from it being extremely annoying, I just received an alert from my prepaid company that I am just about out of minutes for the month.

I checked my history and each call was registered as using one minute even though I didn't answer. 

My company doesn't have a call block option.  Also I registered the number with the Do Not Call, but I am sure that won't matter.

I don't want to change my number but may have no choice. Any ideas.


nereo

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 01:33:23 PM »
I don't want to change my number but may have no choice. Any ideas.
PIA as it may be, changing your number might be the fastest way to get results and avoid charges.

Then, to be a good citizen, call your local representative and complain.  Call your cell company too.

Spork

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 01:51:32 PM »
Technically I believe a cell phone is already a "do not call" ... so you're already dealing with folks that just don't care.  They're already playing against the rules.  More likely than not: they're faking their caller id as well.

I might try keeping notes on which calls it is and notifying your cell provider.  They can say no, but it's worth a shot.


I get about 1 call a week on my cell from "your credit card company" about "important information about your credit card."  Scam.  My card company knows what card I have.  I don't bother even talking to them to have them stop calling.  They don't care.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 02:16:29 PM »
Yeah, the DNC list isn't perfect, and lots of companies that use robocallers don't give a crap anyway if they're outside of the country or shady.

Not on my cell, but I've been getting robocalls for a few weeks and I finally changed my answering message to start with the disconnect tone (that boo wee boo "the number you have dialed is no longer in service) with about a second's pause before recording our actual "hey we're not here to take your call" part. From what I've read, that tone will make robocalls stop. I figured it was worth a try.

You might try recording it into the beginning of your voicemail and just not answering the phone if you don't recognize the number and seeing if that makes any difference. As I just did this yesterday, I don't know if it will work yet, but the interwebs claim it does most of the time.

I figured it was worth a shot as it's free and easy so I'll leave it that way for a while and see if it does any good.

http://lifehacker.com/182989/stop-telemarketers-with-disconnected-line-tones

Get the "Vacant" or "Intercept" tone here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_information_tones

« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 02:21:45 PM by Frankies Girl »

mlipps

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 03:38:01 PM »
What kind of phone do you have? I downloaded the Mr. number app for android and it's AWESOME at blocking calls & texts.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 12:49:38 PM »
Thanks for the replies. 

Regarding the Mr Number app or similar ones - if these are used do also solve the problem of using my minutes when the calls come in?

Of course the cynical side me now thinks that it is the creator of the blocker apps that is orchestrating the spam calls.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 01:24:01 PM »
Are you just letting the calls ring, or are you rejecting them? Selecting the reject option on your phone may indeed use up a minute of airtime.

What worked for me, was to setup a Google Voice number, and have that forward to my mobile. I can easily block certain numbers from ringing through (I believe it can now block spam calls automatically, just like gmail with email). If I got a lot of unsolicited calls directly to the mobile number, I could change it with virtually no hassle (just have to setup the new number in your Google Voice account).

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 01:33:53 PM »
Are you just letting the calls ring, or are you rejecting them? Selecting the reject option on your phone may indeed use up a minute of airtime.

What worked for me, was to setup a Google Voice number, and have that forward to my mobile. I can easily block certain numbers from ringing through (I believe it can now block spam calls automatically, just like gmail with email). If I got a lot of unsolicited calls directly to the mobile number, I could change it with virtually no hassle (just have to setup the new number in your Google Voice account).

+1

tooqk4u22

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 02:00:41 PM »
Are you just letting the calls ring, or are you rejecting them? Selecting the reject option on your phone may indeed use up a minute of airtime.

What worked for me, was to setup a Google Voice number, and have that forward to my mobile. I can easily block certain numbers from ringing through (I believe it can now block spam calls automatically, just like gmail with email). If I got a lot of unsolicited calls directly to the mobile number, I could change it with virtually no hassle (just have to setup the new number in your Google Voice account).

Mostly just let them ring, thats how I know they are dinging me for the minutes even if I am not answering.

The above idea is interesting - is there any lag/delay/failed calls with doing this.  Overall service is pretty good?

Does the caller ID still work so you who is calling?

tooqk4u22

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 06:44:44 AM »
What kind of phone do you have? I downloaded the Mr. number app for android and it's AWESOME at blocking calls & texts.

I downloaded MR Number, and it does work good but unfortunately the calls still get charged minutes even though they never make it to my phone. 

This sucks.

Daley

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 10:11:28 AM »
The above idea is interesting - is there any lag/delay/failed calls with doing this.  Overall service is pretty good?

Does the caller ID still work so you who is calling?

Google Voice call quality can fluctuate wildly. Basically, it's worth exactly the price you pay for it, and it's limited to US numbers only.

CID can still be passed through in setups like this. One interesting thing of note is that if you're willing to pay for the additional cost of a proper VoIP provider, if you select the right one, you can get all the same features of GV and more.

My first question to you is who is your current cellular provider? Are these robocallers leaving voicemail messages and are they charging you for voicemail time, even if you don't listen to them? The fact that they're clipping you for unanswered incoming is kinda jacked up.

Given the unanswered calls are killing your balance, I'm guessing you're not using a lot of mobile minutes in a month. I want to say you're US based, but a part of me is thinking you're Canadian... apologies for not remembering. If you're Stateside, a better and more reliable option than GV might be porting your cell number to VOIPo's cloud VOIP service: $3/month for 500 incoming minutes, SMS support, added FAX support, etc. The only thing you wouldn't be able to do is make calls back out with your current number on this setup showing up on other people's CID display when you call. There's ways around that, but they would add cost. Alternately, you could step up to enchantment with VOIPo and get the full-blown package with the same features for a little more than twice the price after taxes. That would also let you receive and make calls at home without wasting cell minutes and have at least some outbound calling show up as the proper CID number, and give you the option of setting up a softphone for use with the service if you're using a smartphone.

There's more convoluted VoIP tricks that could be applied, but honestly, the best solution to your problem reaches a bit beyond blocking robocallers by porting to a VoIP number... it's an effective way to gut the crap calls, but the real problem is the fact that you're being charged for unanswered incoming calls. Your best solution is to find an alternate carrier who isn't going to do that.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 01:56:07 PM »
The above idea is interesting - is there any lag/delay/failed calls with doing this.  Overall service is pretty good?

Does the caller ID still work so you who is calling?

Google Voice call quality can fluctuate wildly. Basically, it's worth exactly the price you pay for it, and it's limited to US numbers only.

CID can still be passed through in setups like this. One interesting thing of note is that if you're willing to pay for the additional cost of a proper VoIP provider, if you select the right one, you can get all the same features of GV and more.

My first question to you is who is your current cellular provider? Are these robocallers leaving voicemail messages and are they charging you for voicemail time, even if you don't listen to them? The fact that they're clipping you for unanswered incoming is kinda jacked up.

Given the unanswered calls are killing your balance, I'm guessing you're not using a lot of mobile minutes in a month.

you're being charged for unanswered incoming calls. Your best solution is to find an alternate carrier who isn't going to do that.

Using Virgin at $35/month for 300 minutes, unlimited text and unlimited data.  On any given month I don't ever approach 300 minutes, probably half that......that is until a few weeks ago when these errant calls started.

Yes the main issue is that I am not answering nor are they leaving messages and I still get hit with a 1 minute usage for every call.  I can't tell you if this is standard or not across the industry as people with unlimited plans would never check and aside from this robocall issue even those with limited plans like me wouldn't check for a single call or two.   But 10 calls a day pretty much uses up my minutes for the month.

Just today I have had 7 calls and confirmed online that they are showing up on my call history - thats how I know Mr Blocker isn't doing the trick.   The other thing is that the CID shows the number on my cell and Mr. Blocker but on the activity online shows as if I am calling myself (i.e. my own number and I called customer service to confirm this).


Daley

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 02:38:45 PM »
Using Virgin at $35/month for 300 minutes, unlimited text and unlimited data.  On any given month I don't ever approach 300 minutes, probably half that......that is until a few weeks ago when these errant calls started.

Yes the main issue is that I am not answering nor are they leaving messages and I still get hit with a 1 minute usage for every call.  I can't tell you if this is standard or not across the industry as people with unlimited plans would never check and aside from this robocall issue even those with limited plans like me wouldn't check for a single call or two.   But 10 calls a day pretty much uses up my minutes for the month.

Just today I have had 7 calls and confirmed online that they are showing up on my call history - thats how I know Mr Blocker isn't doing the trick.   The other thing is that the CID shows the number on my cell and Mr. Blocker but on the activity online shows as if I am calling myself (i.e. my own number and I called customer service to confirm this).

The big problem with Mr. Number is that under default configuration, it does basically answer the calls and hangs up, which will knock you for a minute's usage so you're no better off than apparently having it go to voicemail. Interesting that you mention Virgin Mobile, I double checked their T&C, and you shouldn't be getting charged for unanswered incoming.

Quote
How We Calculate Your Charges

Regular Voice Calls: We round up partial minutes of use to the next full minute. Time starts when you press "Talk" or your Device connects to the network and stops when you press "End" or the network connection otherwise breaks. You're charged for all calls that connect, even to answering machines, voicemail, or voice transcription services. You won't be charged for unanswered calls or if you get a busy signal. For incoming calls answered, you're charged from the time shortly before the Device starts ringing until you press "End" or the network connection otherwise breaks. You're charged for the entire call based on the rate that applies to the time period in which the call starts. However, the types of charges actually deducted from your account balance will vary depending on your Service. Call time data displayed on your device may be inaccurate and may not be relied upon for determining charges to your account. Call time for a single call may be subject to a maximum duration and may be automatically terminated if the maximum duration is exceeded.

Using Mr. Number, the charges wouldn't be unexpected. What's unexpected is the charges without picking up prior to using it. This isn't normal billing behavior, and I've not heard of similar issues with Virgin Mobile before, nor can I find evidence of it. As far as I've known, seen and understood, all the providers on the guide's list - Virgin included - do not charge for unanswered incoming with this sort of thing. There's something screwy going on here, and I'm not sure what. What sticks out about the situation is that you started getting swamped with calls all of a sudden, and you're getting dinged for them, with the call logs pointing to yourself on call origin.

I'm guessing you're running Android, and I'm actually wondering if you perhaps picked up some malware around the time all this started up. Have you considered a factory wipe of the phone and starting fresh to see what happens? Most Android malware is built to financially exploit, and if your phone is actually calling out like it sounds like it may be doing, this might be malware running a traffic pumping scam with the ringback being used to create confusion when looking at your call logs. A good way to find out would be to look up the numbers and exchanges involved. I can't find any specific known malware that exactly behaves this way, but it's not unheard of or impossible. Now if call logs appear to actually be you calling yourself... that raises a few additional questions I'm not sure I can answer.

AV/malware removal tools for Android are about worthless, so the wipe and manually restore path might be your safest path. Try factory stock without restoring any of your apps and see what happens.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 02:43:24 PM by I.P. Daley »

tooqk4u22

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Re: Robocalls on Cell Phone - HELP!!!
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 09:07:16 AM »
Thanks IP. 

Wiped the phone but no luck.   I re-read the T&C below and I think on incoming calls it is a bit grey - see below for bolded lines, I think that is where they are getting me. I may have to change the number.

Quote
How We Calculate Your Charges

Regular Voice Calls: We round up partial minutes of use to the next full minute. Time starts when you press "Talk" or your Device connects to the network and stops when you press "End" or the network connection otherwise breaks. You're charged for all calls that connect, even to answering machines, voicemail, or voice transcription services. You won't be charged for unanswered calls or if you get a busy signal. For incoming calls answered, you're charged from the time shortly before the Device starts ringing until you press "End" or the network connection otherwise breaks. You're charged for the entire call based on the rate that applies to the time period in which the call starts. However, the types of charges actually deducted from your account balance will vary depending on your Service. Call time data displayed on your device may be inaccurate and may not be relied upon for determining charges to your account. Call time for a single call may be subject to a maximum duration and may be automatically terminated if the maximum duration is exceeded.