Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tech Column: Eliminate Robocalls Forever


by Bill Adler

Let's keep it simple: Here's how you can forever eliminate robocalls, calls from telemarketers (who call even though it's illegal), and candidates for Mayor (that never ends), as well as wrong numbers at 3 AM (hello, Ellen? No, this isn't Ellen!)

If you still have a landline, pay close attention, because you might want to make use of this powerful Internet telephone service, Viatalk. Viatalk is like Vonage, only it's less expensive, does more, and has customer service that's in an American time zone.

Viatalk, www.viatalk.com, has a great feature that I use at least once a week: Plug in any phone number you want to block and when you get another call from that number, the person calling (or the computer calling) hears "This number has is no longer in service." Even computers can recognize the tone that precedes this recording and may eliminate your number forever from their calling lists.

Viatalk actually lets you redirect calls in a number of different ways: You can forward calls from specific numbers to your cell phone or any other phone; you can ring multiple numbers at once; you can send all calls from a particular number to voicemail.

Viatalk will also alert you by text or email if you have a voicemail message. You can have your phones not ring during particular times of the day every day: Say no calls until 10AM on weekends. You can block your outgoing phone number's caller ID. All calls within the United States and Canada are free. You can designate a number to be called, such as your cell phone, if your Internet or electricity breaks and takes your phone out with it. You can view all their features at www.viatalk.com.

Other VOIPs (phone services that work through the Internet) offer many of these features. You may find a cheaper price by bundling your phone with Internet or cable television. I did. But I decided that I like the ability with Viatalk to say adios forever to particular phone numbers.

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Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft.  He tweets at @billadler.

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