The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 December 2006

Who the **** are you?

The new AT&T, like the old AT&T, is woefully behind the times. After the seventh call in twenty-four hours from 866-801-8623 (whoever you are, go perform an unnatural act with a diseased goat, and don't call me back to tell me you've completed the task), I went looking for blocking services, and this is what they came up with:

Call Blocker is a service that prevents up to ten pre-selected local numbers from ringing through to your phone.

Hello? "Local numbers" aren't the issue here. I want a blocking service that can reject any number I can see in Caller ID, plus all "Out Of Area" numbers, and I'm willing to pay more than the $3 a month they're asking for their existing service. (The Privacy Manager service, which costs $4, will take care of the numbers with no Caller ID tags, but does nothing to callers who have a number listed, even if it's bogus.)

I suppose what I want is a passworded phone: you dial in, you're asked for a PIN or something, and if I've assigned you one, you get through; otherwise, you get dead air. But I'll happily accept a dumber system that simply blocks 8XX toll-free numbers.

Posted at 12:00 PM to Dyssynergy

Alternatives from the site below.

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, like emergency services.

Several vendors sell such call screening devices. Check the web site of Privacy Corps ( or call (888) 633-5777. Other sources include Command Communications (, at (800) 288-3491; and Avinta ( at (800) 227-1782. No endorsements are implied.

Posted by: Tim at 12:19 PM on 30 December 2006

Muchas gracias.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:23 PM on 30 December 2006

Oh, here is the scoop on the number:

Looks like Bank of America is a strong possibility.

Posted by: Tim at 12:34 PM on 30 December 2006

I saw that, and indeed contributed a report to them. (And they rang once more after the initial post, while I was in the shower.)

I have just now ordered Privacy Corps' pricey-but-intriguing Caller ID Manager. I may just set it to block 800 numbers and such, since there isn't anyone local (at the moment) I feel compelled to shut out.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:47 PM on 30 December 2006

Am I going to need a PIN now to get a trivia answer?

Posted by: wamprat at 7:50 PM on 30 December 2006

Um, "there isn't anyone local (at the moment) I feel compelled to shut out".

You needn't worry.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:02 PM on 30 December 2006