Ringless Voicemail Marketing

I just read a NY Times article about “Ringless Voicemail Technology” that lets marketers spam your voicemail box with robo-like sales messages, and it seems to be really catching on. Apparently it’s done by sending the messages directly to the voicemail server, bypassing the phone call, so your phone never rings. The spammers think that this gets them around the legal restrictions on robo calling (not that it does much good). FORTUNATELY, I have not yet received any of these types of spam voicemails. Am I just lucky, or is this something that RW is handling differently than typical cell providers? This would be real cool if RW’s voicemail would be immune to such spam attacks.

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Thanks for mentioning this. Phone Spamming is very annoying indeed. The new Android 7 does have the option to block callers.

I doubt this is a legal loop hole to get around the federal do not call list. Most Spammers are off shore and don’t bother with the list anyway. They will never use the same number twice. The calls I get come from numbers from AZ, LA, CA, GA, TN, WA, FL…and the list goes on. The big Spam message is about line of credit and auto warranty. I suppose there are enough folks out there that will fall for this and this just encourages these Spammers to keep on calling. If people would educate themselves and stop falling for this nonsense then these Spammers would be out of business.

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It’s to avoid the both blocking and the Do-Not-Call list. Many politicians are in favor of it.

Under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission, which has been asked to review ringless voicemail, the proposal would free telemarketers from restrictions that prevent them from robo-calling people’s cellphones without first getting their permission.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/05/25/republicans-want-to-let-robocalls-spam-your-voicemail

I’ve been using Hiya to block spam, but this can’t be blocked by software.

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Android 7 comes with Hiya and I use it too. That’s a shame: [quote=“emperordahc, post:3, topic:9052”]
Under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission, which has been asked to review ringless voicemail, the proposal would free telemarketers from restrictions that prevent them from robo-calling people’s cellphones without first getting their permission.
[/quote]

I had my landline disconnected to stop Spam calls. Now I get several every week from the same scammers, just using different numbers.

I really don’t care, as far as I’m concerned telemarketing is an intrusion. Robo calls are obnoxious. My only solution is to put a ringtone on my phone that I really like a lot, when a Spammer/Robo/Scammer calls I let it ring and enjoy the ringtone. Then I block them. :wink: Now they don’t annoy me anymore and I look forward to hearing my ringtone!

Android 7 may come with Hiya, on certain model phones (like Samsung) who has chosen to implement Hiya, but Android does not come with Hiya. On Pixel/Nexus devices, Google Dialer provides Spam blocking, on other manufacturers, other technologies are present, on many, none at all. Hiya is a 3rd party product that has nothing to do with Android version and isn’t a base part of Android.

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That’s too bad, because it’s a neat feature.

Hi @davidw!

Interesting. I tried using a service to place a Voicemail drop to a RW number and I was unable to get it to work. I got a message basically saying that since the RW number I was calling was a landline, they couldn’t do it. This may be one of the few times that RW’s numbers being classified as landline numbers works out to our advantage!

mb2x

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We’ve veered off topic here, but I’m against manufacturers making a choice of 3rd party apps and forcing me to use them.

There are a million products in this area, including TrueCaller, Hiya, MrNumber, Should I Answer, etc in this area and I’d like to be able to choose myself, not have the phone maker choose who gets my data and what blocking list I use. When the manufacturer includes nothing, I get to choose and can install Hiya if that’s what I like, nothing (I get nearly 0 spam calls on my phone and would rather not share all my calling with a 3rd party to block the 1-2 calls I get every few months) if that’s what I like, or any alternative I choose.

I just got my first “ringless voicemail” spam. I knew it’d happen sooner or later. Are there any apps that block this?? (hey you techie brainiacs, invent one, this is your $$ ticket!)

Blame this on the RNC (the fundraising arm of the GOP) which is petitioning the FCC to allow RVM under the pretext of “free speech”. Folks, we are about to be bombarded by spam going straight to VM with no way to stop it. The only option I see is disabling VM entirely. If I see someone I know called I can call them back.

I have Moto X 1st gen (hey, it still works for me!). Can anyone help on how to stop ringless VM and or disable VM entirely??

Unfortunately, the answer to both of your questions is no.

Since the call never hits the phone, there is no app that can stop it and Republic doesn’t offer a way to disable voicemail.

Hi @vl1,

As I understand it the RNC isn’t the entity that petitioned the FCC to exempt ringless voicemail from robocalling prohibitions. Rather that petition was filed by something called All About The Message, LLC. The RNC (and others), then backed that petition (kind of like a friend of the court brief). In any event the petition to exempt ringless voice mail was withdrawn without FCC action:

The larger issue you’re experiencing (whether ringless voicemail is involved or not) is political candidates and organizations are already exempt from many robocall restrictions. Robocalls made to landline numbers by political candidates and organizations are permitted even when one’s number is listed with the national do not call registry.

But you may be saying, my Republic number isn’t a landline. Well, according to the FCC, it is. Republic numbers are classified as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Republic’s use of VoIP is part of the nature of it’s blended WiFi/cell service. Per the FCC, VoIP numbers are landlines (wireline is the more correct telecom industry term). There is nothing Republic can do to change this regulatory classification.

Since the petition to allow ringless voicemail was withdrawn without action from the FCC, it’s unclear (to me) that’s what’s happening. That said, if it is indeed what’s happening, there is no known way to stop it. It might be worth giving a call blocking app a shot, in case they are actually ringing your phone. I like this one:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.greythinker.punchback.donotdisturb

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As I said, didn’t know the petition was withdrawn. I’ve got multiple call blockers, for different reasons. I have Extreme call Blocker, but because i have a 1st gen Moto X I have an older version of Android, which prevents ECB from updating the FCC robo list. So I use Hiya Mr. number, and True Caller to identify calls, TC to block known spam, and ECB for the blacklist. Mostly though not always works. If I’m on a call and a robocaller comes in TC often sends it to VM, but I’m aware the call is coming in. This was the first time something went straight to VM, for me – others have had this issue for a while.

One of these days I will get a new phone, but the one I have meets my needs and getting one just to be able to update the FCC list is silly.

RW and the community is awesome. Wish the rest of the world responded as quickly and as clearly as you!!

Thanks.

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