TAMPA, Fla. -- Caller ID users now can block unwanted calls from telemarketers and other callers whose numbers
don't appear on Caller ID units. Call Intercept, a new service available to Verizon's Florida customers, will screen
their incoming calls when callers fail to identify themselves and allow users to decide if they want to receive calls
from others who do announce themselves.
"This product has the power of a junkyard dog, guarding customers' privacy and helping control incoming calls,"
said Jill Wagner, vice president of Consumer Marketing for Verizon. "If you're just sitting down to dinner, you
won't get those unidentified solicitation calls. Call Intercept will let you know whether a call is from a telemarketer
or a friend you've been waiting to hear from."
Since last fall, Verizon has introduced the service in New York, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia,
Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Additional markets will be added in coming months.
With Call Intercept, calls that do not provide a valid telephone number which typically appear as "anonymous,"
"private," "out of area" or "unavailable" on Caller ID units will be intercepted before the
phone rings. Callers hear a message informing them that the subscriber does not accept unidentified calls and asking
them to say who they are. Call Intercept then 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 the call to voice
"Call Intercept is a great product for customers who receive a lot of 'anonymous' or 'out of area' calls or who gave
up on Caller ID because some incoming calls were unidentified," Wagner said. "We expect Call Intercept will be
extremely popular because people are tired of phone calls interrupting their privacy and peace at home."
Verizon's Call Intercept also allows subscribers to give a four-digit PIN (personal identification number) to family and
friends to bypass the blocking feature when they're calling from a phone line that doesn't provide information 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 is the first company to provide this bypass feature.
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.
Callers who encounter Call Intercept hear: "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 then hears music while the subscriber
receives the call.
To activate the bypass feature, friends and family members simply enter the PIN at any time during the initial Call
Intercept greeting. The words "Priority Caller" will appear on the subscriber's Caller ID unit.
Call Intercept is $5 a month. 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 125 million access line
equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the
world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's
global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on
Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.