Lots of us get annoying unwanted calls on our home phones from blocked numbers. But the situation — as frustrating as it is — isn’t hopeless.
One option many landline consumers can turn to to stop the insanity is to activate a feature called Anonymous Call Rejection.
The way Anonymous Call Rejection works if your carrier allows it is that you press *77 on your home phone (1177 on a rotary dial phone), turning on a feature that intercepts calls from numbers that choose not to reveal their caller ID information.
Before we get much further, we should that you shouldn’t press *77 from a mobile phone. Not only does it not work, but you may end up sending the authorities to your location. But we’ll get into that in a bit.
In this article we’ll discuss how to turn *77 on and off, as well as how it works with each of the major carriers.
How to turn on Anonymous Call Rejection on your landline
- On your home phone, lift the receiver and listen for the dial tone.
- Press *77 and listen for a confirmation tone. That’s how you know that the feature is working.
When you press *77 and an anonymous caller tries to reach you, two things happen: On your end, your phone won’t ring. On the other end, anonymous callers who pressed *67 to mask their number will hear an automated voice informing them that their call can’t go through.
It’s good to note that even when *77 is activated, some calls can indeed still get though. There are at least three kinds of calls that you’ll still receive on your home phone:
- Operator-assisted calls
- Calls that come up as Unknown or Unavailable
- Calls that are listed as Out-of-Area
Anonymous Call Rejection stays on your phone until you turn it off. Here’s how to do that:
How to turn off Anonymous Call Rejection on your landline
- On your landline, lift the receiver and listen for the dial tone.
- Press *87 and listen for a confirmation tone. When you hear it, the feature has been deactivated.
How *77 works with Xfinity, AT&T and Verizon home phone service
- Xfinity: Dial *77 and callers who block the display of their name and number will hear an automated recording that you’re not accepting blocked calls. The message instructs them to unblock their Caller ID and call again.
- Verizon: To set up Anonymous Call Rejection, sign in to your My Verizon account and select: Account Manager > Calling Features > Incoming Call Block > Reject All Anonymous Calls > Activate Incoming Call Block.
- AT&T: Open the Customer Portal online and click the Inbound Features tab. If Anonymous Call Rejection is enabled, to the right of it, under Action, click the Edit icon. Click yes or no and save.
- T-Mobile and Sprint: Neither offer the service.
Does *77 stop spam calls on your cell phone?
A lot of people have pressed *77 from their cell phones thinking that it can stop unwanted calls, but that’s not the case.
Pressing *77 won’t stop anonymous calls on your cell phone. In fact, in some areas of the United States, pressing *77 on your mobile phone will connect you to either the police or public safety officials.
Here’s what the Massachusetts State Police tweeted in February after a surge in mobile users pressed *77:
DO NOT dial *77 from your cellular device in Massachusetts in an attempt to block spam calls…it will not work! Dialing *77 in MA generates calls into the State 911 Department's Framingham 911 center that will not translate properly through the 911 system.
— MA State 911 (@MAstate911) February 7, 2019
Depending on the cell phone carrier, pressing *77 will either result in a “call could not be completed” prompt or you’ll be mistakenly calling the authorities.
If you’re looking for ways to block unwanted calls on your cell phone, click here.