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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Verizon customers in California now can put an end to unwanted calls from telemarketers and other unidentified callers. Their phones won't even ring with Verizon's new Call Intercept service.
Call Intercept works in conjunction with Caller ID to screen calls when the phone numbers don't appear on Caller ID units. The service blocks customers' incoming calls when callers fail to identify themselves and allows users to decide if they want to receive calls from callers who say who they are.
"Call Intercept is a silent watchdog," said Toby Frank, executive director of Call Management Services for Verizon. "If you're just sitting down to dinner, you'll be able to enjoy your meal without interruptions from unidentified callers. Call Intercept will keep the phone from ringing when it's a telemarketer calling and will let you know when there's a call from a friend you've been waiting to hear from."
This year, Verizon's Call Intercept has blocked more than 510 million unidentified calls nationwide. "That's 510 million times our customers were not disturbed. Their phones didn't even ring," said Frank.
Verizon's Call Intercept, the company's fastest growing new service, now has nearly one million subscribers in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
With Call Intercept, calls that appear as "anonymous," "private," "out of area" or "unavailable" on Caller ID units are intercepted before the phone rings. Callers hear a message informing them that the subscriber does not accept unidentified calls and requests that they identify themselves by name or organization. After callers record a message, Call Intercept rings the subscriber's phone, plays the message identifying the caller and provides several options for managing the call. The subscriber may accept or decline the call or send it to voice mail.
When Call Intercept rings to announce a caller, the subscriber hears a distinctive ring and "Call Intercept" appears on the Caller ID display. When the subscriber answers, the service identifies itself and plays the recorded name. The subscriber then has these options:
- To accept the call, the customer presses "1" and the call is connected.
- To decline the call, the customer presses "2" and the caller hears, "The person you are calling is not available. Thank you. Goodbye."
- To refuse a sales call, the subscriber presses "3" and the caller hears, "The person you are calling does not accept phone solicitations. Please add them to your do-not-call list. Thank you. Goodbye."
- Pressing "4" sends the call to Verizon's Home Voice Mail service and allows callers to leave a voice mail message for the person they are calling.
- Pressing "5" replays the caller's name.
Throughout the process, the caller remains on hold listening to music.
When a call is intercepted by Call Intercept the caller hears: "The number you are calling has Call Intercept, a service that requires callers whose telephone numbers do not appear on the Caller ID display to identify themselves before the call can continue. At the tone, please say your name or the company you represent. Then press the pound key." Callers who record their name then hear, "Thank you, please hold." The caller hears music while the subscriber receives the call.
Verizon's Call Intercept also allows subscribers to give a four-digit PIN (personal identification number) to family and friends so they can bypass the blocking feature when calling from a phone line that doesn't provide the phone number to Caller ID devices. Certain types of business lines, pay phones or lines with "per-line blocking" do not pass along the phone number or name to Caller ID devices. Verizon was the first company to provide this bypass feature.
To bypass the Call Intercept message, friends and family members enter the PIN during the Call Intercept greeting. The words "Priority Caller" will appear on the subscriber's Caller ID unit when the phone rings.
Call Intercept is $5 a month and can be ordered by calling Verizon at 800-483-4000. To use Call Intercept, customers also must subscribe to Caller ID with name, which is $7.95 a month. Call Intercept is $4 monthly if purchased with select Verizon packages.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.