Sick of robocalls? 'Nomorobo' provides solution

If you have a phone, you get robocalls. They're disruptive, annoying, and there's nothing you can do to make them stop.

These pre-recorded robocalls pitch everything from extended auto warranties to debt reduction services. Many of them are deceptive. Most are illegal.

Which raises the question -- why aren't phone companies doing something about these unwanted telemarketing calls?

Federal prosecutors try to go after the people placing these calls, but they're often in foreign countries and they're very good at hiding their tracks.

Filtering technology does exist to tackle this growing problem. It's available in Canada, but so far phone companies in the U.S. have failed to deploy it.

Canadians who get their phone service from primus telecommunications can take advantage of a free service called "telemarketing guard."

It's been available since 2007. The system recognizes likely telemarketing calls, including robocalls, and stops them before they're completed. Customers love the service and say it dramatically reduces unwanted sales calls.

Telecom companies in this country say they are concerned about the growth of robocalls and understand customer frustration, but they question whether filtering technology would really work.

Companies also say their hands are tied by regulations that prohibit them from blocking calls.

Here's the good news.

A software designer from Long Island, Aaron Foss, figured out another way to block robo-calls. He calls his service "Nomorobo."

Earlier this year, Foss won the Federal Trade Commissions "Robo-call Challenge."

Foss says he plans to offer the basic Nomorobo service for free, before the end of the summer.

If you've received what you believe to be an illegal robocall, file a complaint with the FTC. If the robocall came to a mobile device, you should also report it to the FCC.

More Information:
Why aren't phone companies doing more to block robocalls?

Herb Weisbaum is The ConsumerMan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or visit The ConsumerMan website.