On Do Not Call Registry but your phone still rings? Here’s why.


The sound comes like a bullhorn in Paul Roark’s tranquil farm.

Half siren, half warning alert, the ringtone on his phone is intended to alarm; he sets it for any phone number he doesn’t recognize.

Constant calls from telemarketers, robocallers or scam artists prompted the tone.

“I'd get probably 20 calls a day,” Roark said.

Even when he’d go to bed, his phone ring would throughout the night.

Roark was at the point that so many Americans have also reached: the calls had to stop. The question is, how?

What to do if you’re mildly annoyed

After the News4 I-Team exposed how an industry has been built that sells your personal information while acknowledging that the numbers are likely on the

Do Not Call Registry

, we started investigating the best ways to stop the calls.

We found if you’re mildly annoyed, then go cheap.

Both AT&T and Verizon offer free apps to identify calls so you know if a telemarketer is calling.

T-Mobile and Sprint offer low-cost monthly services to do the same.

So which cell phone company performed the best?

According to an independent study conducted by an app-testing company, T-Mobile’s system identified the most calls, from spams to scams.

What to do if you’re especially annoyed

Roark can sympathize with you if you’ve reached that stage.

He didn’t just want to know when a telemarketer was calling, he wanted them silenced.

Roark decided to pay for an app.

But no independent study has been commissioned to study apps with or without a price tag.

News4 viewers emailed in their favorites, preferring Nomorobo ($1.99 a month), Truecaller (free), Hiya (free) and Robokiller (starting at .99 a month).

Roark ended up with Robokiller and reports that life is a “whole lot better” since purchasing the app, which blocks numbers earmarked as telemarketers or robocalls.

The nuclear-annoyed point

If you've reached this point, you may be tempted to go the extreme level: program your phone to only accept calls that are on your contact list.

But the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, which advocates on behalf of consumers, warns that you will also miss calls from your doctor and pharmacy.

“You shouldn’t shut yourself off from the world, you should just educate yourself the best you can about it and what's out there,” said spokesman Kevin Walters.

But Walters understands the frustrations because in 2017 Tennessee residents registered the 11th highest complaints to the FTC, with Davidson County lodging the most consumer complaints.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance also issued these suggestions how to stop calls and how to report DO NOT CALL violators to the FTC.

So if what you truly want is revenge, the News4 I-Team found you may want to consider Robokiller.

Not only does it block the calls, you can also send the calls to what’s called “answer bots.”

There are pre-recorded messages that makes the telemarketer or scammer believe they are talking to someone.

For a good laugh, check out how it works https://www.robokiller.com/#radio

At the very least, you’ll find some joy in knowing you’ve done your part to ruin their call.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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