You know how it goes. You get home from a long day at work and, just as you sit down for your evening meal, the home phone rings. If you’ve got caller ID then you’ll either see a withheld number or an international number flashing up. The next thing you’ll hear is a small delay whilst the auto-dialer at the other end transfers the call to a massive call-centre. Someone, from somewhere, will start talking to you and will probably say something like..
- Have you had a trip or fall in the last 5 years?
- Hello, I’m calling about your car accident and the £6,000 you’re entitled to.
- You can make a PPI claim right now, all we need is your bank name.
- Just donate £3 a month to charity.
Worse of all, you could have a pre-recorded message speaking to you, or even a computerised voice telling you about some accident you never actually had. Then you’ll be asked to press a button to speak to someone, even though you never asked for the call in the first place.
If it’s not that, then it’s those confusing – sometimes dangerous calls where you’re called by “Microsoft” about a “virus on your computer”. You might even have someone trying to “advise you about your finances” or some “government scheme”. It’s a minefield, and your trust tends to get knocked a bit, especially if you get many of these cold-calls. In the end, after asking nicely to be “taken off the list” (and having them ignore you), you just end up slamming the phone down or ignoring any call that shows up as “Withheld”.
Oh no… wait though. Wait.. it gets even worse. The cold callers know that people can ignore withheld numbers. They know that people can start ignoring numbers from major cities too. So they now start calling you from local numbers that you “trust”. They’re all VoIP numbers of course, but on your phone display you’ll see a number from your own area and you’ll think that it could be a local business or a friend perhaps. You’ll answer it automatically and.. DOAH!!
This little box is the CPR Call Blocker. It’s available from QVC for £38.50 with a £3.95 P&P charge. The first important thing I should say – you absolutely must have caller ID on your line. Here in the UK we have the insane situation where landline providers mostly charge for this service, even though most mobile providers do it for nothing. Bonkers, but there we go. Costs for this range from around £1 per month to £2 or more with some providers (why, I don’t know). Some, if you’re lucky, do it for free.
The CPR Call Blocker needs the ID of the number that is calling you, else it’ll just block everything. First, though, the setup. It’s easy. Depending on what country you’re in, you might need to plug the cables into slightly different holes, but in short it’s just a matter of unplugging the cable from the back of your “main” phone and then plugging it into this CPR Call Blocker. Then, on the other side you plug in a supplied cable from the CPR Call Blocker to your phone to complete the circuit.
Here’s a little video overview..
The box itself has quite a few tricks but you don’t necessarily need to know what all of them are. To start with, the device is pre-programmed with more than 200 numbers which are judged to be “known nuisance callers”. These are all baked in there, so you’ll immediately get less calls just by installing it.
On top, a “Block Now” button. Just whack this when you receive an unwanted call and it’ll hang up. Not only that but the number is added to the list of nuisance callers, so it’ll get blocked if they try calling again. Up to 1000 unwanted callers can get blocked this way.
Ah, I know what you’re going to say. What if you answered it on your DECT cordless phone and you’re right next to the blocker? Well, don’t worry – just hit *2# and it’ll do the same.
There’s a few more of these special programming codes and, although you don’t need to know them, it does extend the functionality quite a bit. You can add numbers you’d like to block manually, remove them or reset back to the factory defaults.
For me, I wanted to block all international numbers and all withheld numbers. This is just a matter of entering 7*# and it’ll activate. This really cuts down the amount of junk calls I get, and the thing really works. I can test it simply by using my mobile, entering “141” to withhold my number and then dialing my home number. The result? I simply get disconnected. Not a ring. Nothing. Brilliant.
Private numbers, unknown numbers, international numbers or “fake” numbers that start with lots of 0’s can be blocked too. You can even block entire area codes.
Overall, this is a great little gadget. Well worth it. I would like to see them develop it further, perhaps connecting it to my WiFi somehow and sharing all those numbers I block into a central database online. Then it could build a list of nuisance callers with the aid of all the people using it.
Get the CPR Call Blocker from QVC.