The advance of technology has giving us a lot of options for controlling our mobile phone calls, but when it comes to landlines the pace hasn’t moved at all. I believe one thing most people can agree on is they hate receiving unsolicited phones calls. In my own experience with AT&T I learned that their call blocking feature wasn’t effective at all. Before I moved to Skype (users outside the U.S. see my post on Skype to protect your home number) I was able to solve this problem when I received an invite from Grand Central (now Goolge Voice). Google Voice gives you a ton of features for a free service, but the one I want to focus on is simply the ability of controlling who calls you (editors note: now you CAN block telemarketers). If you’re unfamiliar with Google Voice please view the two links below.

Google Voice Overview and Setup Instructions

Option #1

Change your current number and tell the phone company you would like the new number private, not just unlisted. If you only put the new number unlisted it won’t appear in the phone book, but it’s still available in other places. Now after you have setup your GV account only give out your GV number for everything, and I mean everything! This is the only way to keep your home number private. Now all your calls will be routed through Google Voice then ring your home phone. Allowing all your calls to go through GV means you have total control of who and how people reach you. You now can also block calls (see option #2 for filtering calls)

Option #2

Maybe you’re not ready to change your number just yet, but you would just like the annoying calls to go away. For this we can use Google Voice as a filter. If you’re not home during the day or anytime you’re out of the house simply forward your home number to your GV number (check with your provider for forwarding instructions). After you receive unsolicited calls they will appear in your GV inbox online. Now all you have to do is select the caller as spam. You will be given an option to play a message for the caller the next time they call that says “This number is no longer in service”, and just like that no more calls saying you won a trip to Vegas. If you know the unsolicited number that is calling you, you can also block the caller by adding the number as a contact and create the same setup in “Edit Google Voice Settings”. To avoid future annoying calls give out your Google Voice number to those who you may not trust with your land line.

This gives you two solid options for controlling your home phone. Most unsolicited calls are done by a computer before a person picks up the line. After calling you so many times and getting the “This number is no longer in service” from your Google Voice number the computer will drop your number from the system and with that mission accomplished! No more unwanted phone calls.