Whenever the phone rings, Barbara and I use Dorothy Parker's line, "What fresh hell is this?"
We wait for the answering machine to screen.
I've considered picking it up, listening, saying nothing and either then hanging up or
putting it, say, on top of the clothes dryer in the laundry room, and retrieving it later. Sort of an attempt at revenge for the unwa(rra)nted intrusion. We are on the do-not-call list but that may not be much of a deterrent?
DNC has no affect as they are robo-calls and just dialed. Seem to realize when an answering machine picks up as they usually hang up straight away.
We always hang up quick if there is silence ( as the robo computer switches the caller on). Sometimes, if I am at my computer with the radio on, I place the phone in front of the speaker, they can get a bit of WUMB folk or 'GBH classical.
We're thinking of getting rid of our land line altogether just to stop those incessant calls. Trouble is that cell reception up where we live is a bit spotty.
I don't use my cell phone too often, but it rang while I was up vetting Pond Mt. Was about the rates of my credit card or one of those robos. Even cell phones don't protect you. And this was just after I fail d to call Peter but had no service.
A woman in my class yesterday had a good approach - waited for the real person to come on and start the spiel, then asks forcefully - What's your name? Because my husband is a US Marshall and they are trying to get you f....kers! And slammed the phone down. Won't stop them but made her feel good, esp. with the continuing telling of the tale.
I told the sham Treasury people (threatening arrest for not paying back taxes) that they had been found and government officials were coming as we spoke. I think playing fearful, engaging in some conversation, giving a false credit card # etc etc & finally "letting loose" might work for me, once anyway.
A work colleague uses VOIP for something like $10/month along with the cell phone. We don't have very good cell coverage, esp inside the house. I've thought about exploring VOIP (keeping same phone # I believe) but don't act. We pay Fair Point some $60/month (so some $720/yr).
We have the same problem in Sweden with unwanted calls. Not so much on the land line any more but there you can usually hear the buzz in the background and tell before anyone even opens their mouth... I always say no even before they start telling how much I really want their products - sometimes quite rude.
On my cell phone I never answer an unknown number that is not in my contact list. Once they stop ringing I check it up in a directory which usually gives the result that they are listed as "unsolicited phone sales businesses" - I then block the number from future calls since that is an alternative available in my phone.
We didn't get junk calls on the cell phones for a long time but then started getting calls from various numbers in the 347- area code, Manhattan*. We don't pick up. And caller ID on the home phone lets us see who might be calling...if we don't recognize the number it rolls to the answering machine/voice mail, and if there's no message, then it was junk. If I do happen to pick up and don't hear a voice right away I don't say hello but just hang up.
*There was a news story a couple of months ago about a large number of cell phones stolen from a Walmart or similar and I figure they're being used for scams.