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Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it

So with a recent bash of "Spam" calls coming from random out-of-province and out-of-country caller ID's, claiming to be CRA, etc, I've become annoyed that if I choose to not answer or decline those calls, they are transferred to my voicemail, which then exacerbates the problem because I then get a voicemail notification and have to go delete that as well...

 

I have an entertaining solution using one of the "conditional" call forwarding options. Smiley Very Happy

 

The 'conditional' options usually default to your voicemail access/deposit number, which is 3065804001 in Saskatchewan. For a n updated list of known Public Mobile (Telus) voicemail access/deposit numbers across Canada, see this thread:

https://productioncommunity.publicmobile.ca/t5/Discussions/Updated-list-of-Voicemail-Access-Numbers/...

 

I found that the "Busy" conditional forward is enacted when you choose to "Decline" a call. This is an easily apparent option on my Android phone, but requires a non-obvious double-tap of a side button (I think) on an iPhone (I'd love it if someone could confirm exact steps for me). If you set this conditional call forward to go to some disconnected number, FAX machine, company automated attendant, or your local pizza parlour, you may find the spam calls slow down as your number becomes flagged as 'not active' or 'business' and it keeps them away from your voicemail box. Unlike 'unconditional' call forwarding, you also have a chance to screen the call, so this forward will only happen if you actively decline it. If your phone is off, or you let it ring through unanswered, it will go to voicemail like usual.

 

The steps:

 

First 'query' what the existing "busy/declined" conditional forwarding number is set to, and write it down for future reference: *#67#

Set "Call forward busy": dial *67*xxxyyyzzzz# - the letters being the number of your choice to forward to.

 

If you have nation-wide calling, you have all of Canada to start googling and pick a fun forwarding number from. Maybe there's a company that just happens to have part of your name announced in their autoattendent... Smiley Tongue "Thank-you for calling Jeffrey Automotive..."

 

The other options are:

*xx*xxx# Activate
#xx# deactivate & retain
*xx# reactivate to retained
##xx# deactivate and forget
*#xx# query status

 

xx being:

004 all variable

21 unconditional

67 when busy

61 No answer

62 unreachable

 

Would love to hear any good stories if anyone also implements this!

will13am
Oracle

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it

@Nezgar , that's an interesting option to fight back. What I have done is to call them back and engage them in conversation.  They want to waste my time, I will waste theirs.  By the way those special codes are no longer needed to change forwarding options.  In the forwarding settings in the phone dialer, all forwarding options are shown with the currently set number.  Select and edit.

Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it


@will13am wrote:

@Nezgar , that's an interesting option to fight back. What I have done is to call them back and engage them in conversation.


I've found thats a powerless option for the robocall type calls, and there's not even a human to annoy. It's just a computer blanket calling many numbers to classify if a human answers or not. Rather send that straight to a 'This number is not connected' - that might do more to "get off the list"

 


@will13am wrote:

By the way those special codes are no longer needed to change forwarding options.  In the forwarding settings in the phone dialer, all forwarding options are shown with the currently set number.  Select and edit.


Right. I forgot to mention that. I've found sometimes the phone cannot 'read' out the existing settings that way though, maybe because under the hood it's rapid-firing all four of those query commands, and there's a network failure or something occasionally. On my Android phone, those options are also buried 4 menus deep, and you can't change anything until it's done querying the existing settings. The direct codes can also be conveniently added to phone book entries for quick access, and assigning to speed dials. (Most useful to set and unset the "unconditional" call forwarding)

 

Cheers!

z10user4
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it

 @Nezgar: Interesting find with the "Busy" mode on a Decline.

Related to the topic: For those on the $10 or $15 plans, the unconditional will consume minutes. The others like this busy mode don't seem to consume minutes.

Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it


@z10user4 wrote:

Related to the topic: For those on the $10 or $15 plans, the unconditional will consume minutes. The others like this busy mode don't seem to consume minutes.


Ah that's interesting. I would have thought that it wouldn't apply to the $15 plan, with unlimited incoming. But then I guess the unconditional call forward then converts it to an outbound call, using your minutes. I guess this is how the system works so that someone leaving you voicemail doesn't consume your minutes.

 

The workaround would then be to set your intended "unconditional" forward using the variable call forward unreachable, and then put your phone in airplane mode for the duration. Smiley Tongue

z10user4
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it


@Nezgar wrote:

@z10user4 wrote:

Related to the topic: For those on the $10 or $15 plans, the unconditional will consume minutes. The others like this busy mode don't seem to consume minutes.


Ah that's interesting. I would have thought that it wouldn't apply to the $15 plan, with unlimited incoming. But then I guess the unconditional call forward then converts it to an outbound call, using your minutes. I guess this is how the system works so that someone leaving you voicemail doesn't consume your minutes.

 

The workaround would then be to set your intended "unconditional" forward using the variable call forward unreachable, and then put your phone in airplane mode for the duration. Smiley Tongue


I think all calls that drop to voicemail for whatever reason use forwarding like an outbound call as evidenced by them appearing in the call log. It's just that the conditional ones don't consume minutes.

Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it

So following up, here's a few test & fun numbers I've collected you can set your call forward "Busy" to when you decline a call. You can't forward to US numbers (even with the $50 plan that includes calling to the USA) but you can forward to US toll-free numbers accessible from Canada:

 

800 437 7950 Thankyou for calling MCI's ANI verification System
800 223 1104 Please enter your password
416 477 0034 ANAC-repeats
418 380 0099 ANAC- French (quebec city)
855 343 2255 ANAC (Press 1 for English)
877 521-2311 Caller ID readback
800 288 2020 Welcome to AT&T. Calls recorded for Quality. ANI.

800 867 5309 The number you have dialed has been disabled

800 373 3411 Free 411
613 745 1576 NRC Telephone Talking Clock

416 395 5400 Toronto Public Library Dial-a-Story

 

000-000-0000 - Will play the calling parties "number not in service" / "number cannot be completed as dialed" message. This is probably the best defence against automated spam callers, as it is most likely to be logged as an invalid or unassigned number in their system...

 

And last but not least.....

NSFW:

877-794-7883
800-328-7448 (800-EAT-S***)

800-250-9562 Man Embarassed

 

Anyone else have any more to contribute? Man Very Happy

Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it


@z10user4 wrote:
I think all calls that drop to voicemail for whatever reason use forwarding like an outbound call as evidenced by them appearing in the call log. It's just that the conditional ones don't consume minutes

I just tested call with "unconditional" call forwarding tonight with a  $15 plan that was activated in September. (using *21*xxxyyyzzzz#) The forwarded call does show as an outgoing call in the usage history, but did not deduct from the available 100 minutes.

 

So maybe this "newer" $15 plan includes unlimited call forwarding, but an older one did not. I read there used to be a $15 plan that did not include unlimited uncoming calls

cellphoneuser1
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it

I wouldn't send it to a working number. That's not fair to them.  Just forward to a garbage number with a missing digit.

Nezgar
Mayor / Maire

Re: Fun with Conditional Call forwarding, and reduce SPAM calls while you're at it


@cellphoneuser1 wrote:

I wouldn't send it to a working number. That's not fair to them.  Just forward to a garbage number with a missing digit.


Of course don't send it to a line that a real human answers and would be annoyed. Toll free numbers would inherently cost somebody, so yeah thats probably not terribly ethical if done excessively.

 

However forwarding to a Canadian number that's answered by an automated system (generally) inconveniences and costs no one...

 

But yes, best is setting an invalid number, or some number that presents a recorded message without "connecting" the call is best - e.g. payphones:

 

416 299 6099 "The number you are calling cannot receive incoming calls."

306 337 0005 or 306 545 8171 "At the customers request, the number you have dialed is equipped for outgoing calls only."

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