Nomorobo, as in “no more robo-calls,” is a monthly subscription service that blocks automated scam or telemarketing phone calls.
It allows useful notices, such as school closings and prescription reminders through, and obviously, regular phone calls.
But it’s still not able to block “neighbor spoofing” calls, unless it is allowed access to your smartphone contacts to block almost everything but those on your contact list and global white lsit. Nomorobo creator Aaron Foss said it blocks anything with your area code, and the same first numbers of your cell phone to limit spam calls.
“Neighbor spoofing” is when you receive a call from a number that is very similar to your own, and can look familiar or legitimate. When you answer the call, it’s either silence or an automated message. The call was generated randomly by someone using a web-based system, and is probably a legitimate number used by someone else.
A return call to this number will likely lead you to a confused, innocent party at that number.
Nomorobo was created by Foss, whose idea won the 2013 Robocall Challenge ran by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to shut down robocalls.
His system is a cloud-based solution that uses “simultaneous ringing,” which allows incoming calls to be routed to a second telephone line, reported the FTC in April 2013. In the Nomorobo solution, this second line would identify and hang up on illegal robocalls before they could ring through to the user.
Foss testified to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on combating robocalls in April 2018. He said that his system has stopped 650 million unwanted robocalls in the U.S., and is stopping 30 million every month. He said that the more people use the system, the more effective the system is overall.
“Who would have thought that a crazy contest entry in the FTC Robocall Challenge would lead to such an impact on society? Whenever I think about that, I’m incredibly happy and proud,” he said via email.
Today, the website boasts more than 1 billion calls stopped. The system is utilized by wireless providers, such as Xfinity, to block robocalls.
While the system blocks most robocalls from a database of 1.3 million known spam numbers, he reported that these “neighbor spoofing” calls have increased 10 times in one year.
This isn’t a concern for landline users but it’s irritating for smartphone users. With the Nomorobo app, these calls come across as “Robocaller (unblockable),” which according to the Nomorobo website, tricks most call blockers.
If you allow the Nomorobo app to use your contacts, it can block such calls, without blocking family and friends.
In the beginning, it was a landline protection plan, but today a mobile service is offered. Landlines are protected for free, while mobile phones are $1.99 per device, per month or $19.99 annually.
“It’s been amazing to have stopped one billion robocalls from scamming and annoying people,” Foss said. “We protect millions of people each and every day.”
How it works:
Nomorobo for landlines uses a feature known as “Simultaneous Ring.” When simultaneous ring is enabled, your phone will ring on more than one number at the same time. The first device to pick it up gets the call and the other phones stop ringing.
So, when the Nomorobo number is enabled as a simultaneous ring number it is the first number to screen the call. If it’s a legitimate call, the call goes through to your number. If the call is an illegal robocaller, Nomorobo intercepts the call and hangs up for you. Your phone will ring once letting you know that the robocall has been answered and stopped.
It will also work on smartphones, such as the iPhone 5s and newer, running iOS10 and up. It will also work on Android devices 4.1 and newer.