I recently posted about the new “call blocker” that I built using an existing PC, an $8 modem, and some $25 software from Beiley Software.

After a few months with this idea in place, I just want to add how happy I am with the results. Beiley Software makes a program called Audio Caller ID – I think it’s original intended purpose was to announce incoming calls and it does that well.

What I use it for is to block calls from unwanted numbers, and Lord knows how many of those we all get.

One feature that I have grown particularly fond of is the ability to block numbers using wild card characters. In looking at my call logs, I notice lots of calls from some phone Spammers using a range of numbers like these actual entries

TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3126 11:01 AM : 3/25/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3127 3:53 PM : 3/24/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3125 3:42 PM : 3/23/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3126 7:13 PM : 3/21/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3125 2:22 PM : 3/19/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3124 11:39 AM : 3/18/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3127 11:20 AM : 3/16/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3127 9:08 AM : 3/12/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3124 9:30 AM : 3/10/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3126 12:02 PM : 3/9/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3126 12:02 PM : 3/9/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3125 1:25 PM : 3/3/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3125 1:25 PM : 3/3/2012
TOLL FREE CALL (855) 632-3127 4:14 PM : 2/29/2012

or

8178723314 (817) 872-3314 6:34 PM : 3/8/2012
8178723315 (817) 872-3315 6:04 PM : 3/5/2012
8178723316 (817) 872-3316 10:16 AM : 3/3/2012
8178723317 (817) 872-3317 6:53 PM : 2/29/2012
8178723372 (817) 872-3372 7:32 PM : 2/28/2012
8178723342 (817) 872-3342 5:29 PM : 2/27/2012
8178723348 (817) 872-3348 6:00 PM : 2/23/2012
8178723341 (817) 872-3341 5:05 PM : 2/8/2012

Once you see a pattern, you can use a wild card to block a range of numbers, so I made just two entries in the block calls setup screen of the Audio Caller ID software, that look like this

<any name> 85563231XX
<any name> 81787233XX

Those two entries will block any of the calls from the above numbers – plus some that they may or may not have tried to use yet.

There are a few things I wish the program would do for me – mostly because I am lazy I guess – like automatically block calls with invalid area codes or invalid numbers.

During the political season, we get a lot of calls from faked numbers like 000-000-0000, or say the 202-644-XXXX exchange which does not exist – 202 is the valid area code for Washington, D.C. but the 644 exchange is not valid within that area code.

Some common faked numbers would be easily blocked – like those with invalid area codes. They should be easy enough to handle without a lot of data. Exchanges within areas code change more often and would be harder to block without some major maintenance to the program data files and/or a lookup via some online resource.

All in all, I am very pleased with this setup – it takes some due diligence on my part to actually “block numbers” and I’m always one step behind the phone Spammers. But that fits with my protocol – I think everyone can call me once, but if they don’t leave a message, then I research the number on Google, and add it to my blocked call list.

The program is running on a PC that was always on (and used a lot) anyway – so having this program running in the system tray was not a big issue. The Audio Caller ID software from Beiley Software has made our lives much easier – no more empty/hang up messages cluttering our answering system, no more going through the caller ID data to see if someone we want to talk to called.

I recommend this approach to anyone who is tired of all the unwanted phone calls.

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