Is There a Device to Block Selected Incoming Numbers

Is there a home/home office telecom device, eg. answering machine, caller id unit, etc, that allows you to program in particular numbers to be blocked or to receive a custom message? I would like all other calls to go through as is.


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The telcos (Traditional Bell at least) offers a blocking service. You have to get *60 turned on by telco, then you can do what you are asking -- theoretically -- and get rid of the nuisances. I say _theoretically_ since SBC at least claims as often as not 'that call cannot be blocked', i.e. outside of LATA, or people who send bogus numbers for caller ID. Once you ask telco to turn on *60 you can enter numbers you do not wish to hear from any further, and that person gets a recorded intercept saying 'the party you are calling is not accepting calls at this time.' You can also 'block last call recieved, whether or not you know the number,' by dialing (I think) '01' at the internal prompt, even if the caller deliberatly withheld their number via *67. You can hear a recitation of the numbers on your blocked list as part of the *60 process also, and to protect the privacy of those persons who used *67 when calling you, the recitation refers to them as 'private entries' .

You can also get 'block the blockers' service from telco using *77 and when someone does do *67 when calling you, _they_ get a recorded message that they have to unblock delivery of their ID and dial the call again. So, if you sign up for both these features, (*60 and *77) you get rid of most or all the pests. But, one caveat with certain telcos, like SBC Southwestern Bell, they don't go out of their way to make this work correctly. With some of these telcos, calls which are out of LATA cannot be blocked, and calls where the caller gives you a bogus string for ID cannot be blocked. And of course, if the caller moves from one payphone to another, he _will_ get through to you. Now in years past, when Illinois Bell existed and had this service, you _could_ block out of LATA calls, and maybe you could not, if the place originating the phone call had an old fashioned switch. But you could at least 'ping' it first and see if it would work or not (from out of LATA). Locally, it would come back immediatly and say okay; but if out of LATA it would go away for a few seconds and then come back and say okay but sometimes your request would time out and you would back an answer saying "cannot be added right now, try again in a few minutes" or else it would just say "cannot be added" (period.) But SBC won't deal with any out of LATA that I know of. So maybe this service from your telco will help you eliminate many of the pests. PAT]

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Jim Kennedy
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