Yesterday, a client had an interesting dilemma. They somehow have their two extensions listed as the forwarding number for Google Voice numbers, that unfortunately used to belong to a fast-food restaurant and a dime store chain. Their office manager was overwhelmed with a dozen or more calls a day for these old numbers, still listed in the online yellow pages. Here’s how we solved the problem.
Hi *****, ***** and *****,
As you may be aware, we are receiving bogus phone calls from Google numbers being redirected to our 2 phone lines. Confused callers have reported dialing the following two numbers, which today lead to a dress store and a disconnected message:
Based on Google’s recommendation for dealing with this type of issue under “Stop getting forwarded calls” on https://support.google.com/voice/answer/115089?hl=en&ref_topic=1708123,
I am making the following recommendation: Let’s take back our numbers!
“Stop getting forwarded calls: If you verified your personal number in error or as part of a scam, your number could be linked to someone else’s Google Voice account. To stop getting forwarded calls, reclaim your phone number by adding it as a linked number to a new or existing Google Voice account.”
***** and *****, ***** has chosen you two to help with this problem. Here’s the step-by-step:
- Login to voice.google.com with your ***** email
- Click “Get a Voice number” in the left menu
- Click “I want a new number”
- Important: on “Add a forwarding phone”
*****, type in ***-***-**** and ***** is ***-***-****
- Under Phone Type, choose Work
- Next Step: Reclaim a verified phone
- Choose “Call me now” and have ***** type in the two-digit code
- Name and message recordings are optional
- Under “Choose your number” in the “Area, zip code or city” field, type “*****”
- Pick a ***** number, click “Continue”
- You will see a “congratulations” modal and a number reminder
- Congrats, we are now in control of the Google numbers that correspond to our lines
As an aside, these numbers will show as your number if you ever use your computer to make a google voice or hangouts call, which I highly recommend. Anytime you need to call someone and you don’t necessarily want them to have your cell or can’t access a Precocity line, log in to voice.google.com where you can call or text from the number associated with your precocity email account.
Last, simply reply all to this message with your new number. That way if ***** continues to receive calls, she can call your two lines to check the integrity of our phone system. Let me know if you have any issues, as it is possible that you may receive the occasional voicemail or text in the form of an email from google voice. Please let me know as soon as both numbers have been changed so ***** and I can call to confirm. We will also repeat these steps if we find another ***** line.
We will continue to find unique ways to combat phone spam, thanks for your help today. By the way, based on the instructions I just gave you, I can now be reached on my personal Gmail voice line (forwarding to my cell) of 972-638-RICH.
The client notified me later that they had now received a call from a caller looking for a national retail chain office, but had called the actual number. We found an online misprint of a matching area code and phone number that explains that and will continue to investigate and work on ways to reduce misguided callers.
When asked what else the client could do, I added that wrong numbers are a cost of doing business if your company answers its phone, which I strongly encourage. One low-tech solution I recommended is Ruby Receptionists, who cost about $1-2/minute but can professionally and nicely answer all your calls and forward legitimate customers onto your main line.
I’ll close with an anecdote I shared with the client: Is there a way to stop them from calling?
Not really, not without burning the number. It’s a cost of doing business. When I was growing up, my phone number was 1 digit off from the local cable company. People would call in the middle of the night if their “movie” wasn’t working. You can imagine how a call like that might go at 3am.
As of today, “Filthy Rich” Wiliams can be reached at 972-638-RICH. Rich is a user experience developer and problem solver with an MBA in Marketing and a psychology background. He’s still scarred from the 3am phone calls as a teenager. Rich Williams uses high-tech and low-tech solutions to solve problems. His team developed the app a major retailer CEO uses to check sales numbers every morning and Capital One’s Auto Navigator and Home Mortgages and Refinancing user interfaces. And he took back one client’s phone numbers from scammers. Call (214) 945-3382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to your high tech and low tech questions.