Mr. Number: Your 1st Line of Defense against Bill Collector Harassment

Over the past two weeks I did product reviews on Google Voice and Magic Jack. Two of my favorite services when it comes to taking back control of your phone and stopping bill collector harassment. Now I want to tell you about a neat and easy to operate Android app called Mr. Number.

Mr. Number has a simple interface but its features are very robust. This free app allows you to block both phone and text messages. When a call comes through that you have identified as someone you do not want to speak to, Mr. Number will automatically answer and hang up on the caller or send the caller straight to voicemail, depending on which option you choose.

I have tried just about every free call filter in the Google Play store and even a couple of paid ones, but Mr. Number beats them all hands down and it’s not even close! So if you’re tired of being harassed by unwanted callers, download Mr. Number today and watch your worries disappear.


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Magic Jack: The Best “As Seen on TV” Product That Money Can Buy!

Magic Jack is the best “As Seen on TV” product that money can buy. I’ve tried most of them but they’ve all failed me in some way, shape or fashion. Magic Jack was my last attempt to find something that actually lived up to its name and boy, did it!

Last week I blogged about how I used my Sprint cell phone service with Google Voice integration along with Magic Jack’s Internet phone service (VOIP) in order to assist me with screening incoming calls from bill collectors. The two products / services combined equals some of the strongest defense you could ever muster against stopping bill collector harassment while saving money at the same time.

Now, I must admit that I am a sucker for most "As Seen on TV" products that I later find out don’t work as good as advertised, but for some reason, after all the cheesy commercials, testimonials and hundreds of customer reviews for Magic Jack online, I felt it was worth giving it a go. I had a need, plus the price was right.

I opted for “Magic Jack Plus” because after the initial setup, there is no need to have a computer to make the device functional, plus I didn’t like the idea of the regular Magic Jack’s need to have the device plugged into my laptops side USB port 24/7. For a desktop PC this is not as big a deal as you can just plug Magic Jack into an available USB port on the back of your computer for out of sight, out of mind operation. Please note that a "Router" is required for usage without a computer. Otherwise, Magic Jack must be plugged into a computer at all times in order to function.

I ordered it online for $39.95 and when you consider that normal home phone service through the phone company costs anywhere from $27 to $45 a month for basic service, depending on the service provider and the city and state you live in, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this amounts to huge savings per year.

However, as I stated in last week’s article entitled: “Google Voice: Take Back Control of your Phone,” I have very poor cell service in my area and by very poor I mean “none” unless you count walking outside, standing in the backyard about 10 feet in front of the detached garage which is the only way I can get any type of cell service on the property. That is, as long as I stand in one spot, facing one direction while holding one leg up in the air! Not so bad in the summer but it’s definitely not the ideal situation for subzero temperatures during the winter.

Magic Jack is a “set it and forget it device.” Yep, I said it! Once I configure Google Voice, I then forward all incoming calls from my cell phone to my Vtech cordless home phone with Magic Jack and this allows me to make and receive calls from inside my house with my home phone, thereby bypassing my cell phones poor reception in my service area. My Sprint cell number stayed the same while incoming callers had no idea that I was not speaking on my cell.

Now, I must tell you that Magic Jack does have its occasional service hiccups. The calls are for the most part crystal clear but there are the occasional drops in service that seem to come from nowhere but this is very rare. When it happens, I just call the person back. No big deal. There is also a built in timer that will automatically disconnect the call after exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes with no warning whatsoever. Again, I just call the person right back and it’s no harm, no foul. Can this be annoying at times? Sure, but for the yearly savings it’s worth the occasional inconvenience.

Other than the initial purchase price of $39.95, the only other expense is a yearly fee of $29.95 at the time of this writing, which is considerably less than you’d pay for a full year of standard phone service through your local phone company. I don’t know about you but that’s a no brainer in my mind.

My “Magic Jack Plus” device is plugged into the wall behind the sofa and no one knows I’m using it unless I tell them. It comes with free caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, plus many more features including the ability to change your Magic Jack phone number at any time for just $10. This could come in handy should a bill collector ever get a hold of your phone number. You can choose any area code you like but for me it just made sense to use a local area code and number so that friends and family can reach me without having to dial long distance.

Magic Jack also has a cell phone app but I haven’t had much luck getting it to work as reliably as the PC version so I uninstalled it from my android device. Several reviews indicate that others have had better luck, so I know that it works for some. Magic Jack also has plans for a newer, wireless version but as of this writing it is not currently available.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever seen Magic Jack commercials and wondered if it really worked like they advertise on television, trust me, it works and you’d be hard pressed to find another device that gives you more bang for your buck in this economy or any other for that matter!


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Google Voice: Take Back Control Of Your Phone!

Are you tired of telemarketers and bill collectors ringing your phone at all hours of the day and night? Well, if you have a smartphone with Sprint as your cell phone service you’re in luck because they have united with Google to bring you Sprint with Google Voice integration. Just download the Google Voice software to your computer and smartphone, choose preferences to fit your needs and now you’re in complete control of all incoming calls.

Note: You don’t have to have Sprint to use Google Voice... it just simplifies things if you do.

Google Voice is loaded with great features such as the ability to have your cell phone number forwarded to an unlimited number of home, cell or business phones and have them all ring at the same time! This works great if you are in an area that has limited or no cell phone service such as in my home, where my cell will ring inside my home but if I answer I won’t be able to hear the caller, nor will the caller be able to hear me.

By having Google Voice forward calls from my cell to my Vtech wireless home phone that I use with "Magic Jack," whenever my cell rings, my home phone rings and I can pick up the phone and carry on a normal conversation just as if I were on my cell phone and the caller never knows the difference. An added benefit is that talking on my home phone is much more comfortable than talking on my cell for long conversations.

Google Voice offers all kinds of neat features such as the ability to screen callers by pressing 1 on your phone to listen to the caller’s name to decide if you want to answer or not. You can press 2 and send the caller straight to voicemail. Press 4 to record the call. Press * to answer the call on the fly while screening your voicemail. All of this is done behind the scenes while all the caller hears is the phone ringing just like any other outgoing call.

If those features are not enough to keep bill collectors off your back, how about the ability to block unwanted callers so that the next time someone calls from the same number they will hear: “The number you have reached is no longer in service…please check the number and try your call again.” For companies that use auto-dialers, sometimes this message will trigger an automatic removal of your phone number from their computer’s database!

I should also mention that as a Sprint smartphone customer there is no need to change your cell number. For those who don’t have Sprint as a carrier service, no worries. Google Voice is available to you too. In this case, you will need to get a separate Google Voice number but you will still be able to enjoy most of the same features that you would have if you had Sprint.

I can go on and on about what Google Voice has to offer but I think you get the picture. Below is a list of just a few of the features offered but the best one of all is that Google Voice is free!
  • Block Unwanted Callers
  • Conference Calls
  • Do Not Disturb Feature
  • FREE Google Voice Number
  • International Calling
  • Free Voice-mail
  • Port Your Number
  • Call Screening
  • SMS to email notification
  • Transfer Calls Between Phones
  • Visual Voice-mail
  • And So Much More!!
 Related Topic: Collections Most Wanted

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The Surprising Reason Why Debt Collectors Sue

You might be surprised to find out that with all the threats of lawsuits by debt collectors that the majority of lawsuits for unpaid debts under $2000 never come to fruition. The primary reason for this is cost.

Lawyers suing on behalf of the original creditor or a collection agency is in business to make money just like everyone else. They generally will not sue for amounts under $2000 because of the time and money involved in filing a case on a debt that is generally by this time, either barred by the statute of limitations (SOL) or is shaky at best.

The statute of limitations for debt is determined by the type of debt and also by the state where the debt was originated. In California for example, the SOL on credit card debt is 4 years after the last payment was made before delinquency. This means that once this time has passed, the debtor is no longer legally obligated to ever pay back the debt.

With that being said, there is no law against a lawyer suing over the debt anyway. Now, he or she will never win a judgment in the case as long as you respond, but they will sometimes file it with the courts in an attempt to scare you into settling on the debt to keep you from going to court knowing full well that the case would be immediately dismissed by the judge if they actually presented it.

Scandalous, right? Lawyers even have a nickname for it. It’s called “sue for settlement.” It’s just another form of scare tactics they use because they count on people not knowing their rights and they exploit that fact. The whole purpose of suing you is to get you to settle and pay something on a debt that you otherwise would legally have no obligation to pay.

If you simply answer the summons, more times than not, the lawsuit will be dismissed. If you do not answer the summons, the suing attorney can be granted a default judgment based on the fact that you never bothered to respond. Let me repeat. You MUST answer the summons even though the debt is beyond the statute of limitations. If you do not answer, the attorney suing on behalf of the plaintiff WILL be granted a default judgment and then it’s bye-bye money!

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