Press-Republican

FYI...

October 23, 2012

What if you could permanently block telemarketers and debt collectors?

PrivacyStar, a new smartphone app, lets you block calls and report violations to the feds

I swear, sometimes bill collectors can be like the Mafia when it comes to tracking you down and making threats, and when you receive call after call, you wouldn’t be surprised if you woke up next to a bleeding horse head one morning.

Telemarketing calls can be even more annoying, because with bill collectors you probably suspect you’ll get a call at some point, but sales calls always seem to fall out of the clear blue sky and always seem to find you when you’re most relaxed, eating a meal, or spending time with family.

But a new smartphone app called PrivacyStar wants to help you in your battle against the invasive phone call, and with its varied and interesting list of features, the company looks to properly arm users against calls that bother us.

We spoke to the CEO of PrivacyStar, Jeff Stalnaker, to get an idea of just how the app will assist consumers in blocking debt collectors, telemarketers and the ever-growing problem of robocalls.

PrivacyStar also blocks text messages and has other unique features too.

“The most liked and used service is the ability to just easily block a phone number from calling you again,” said Stalnaker in an interview with ConsumerAffairs. “We also offer blocking text messages, we added that later at the request of our user base.”

File a complaint

Probably one of the coolest and most useful things about PrivacyStar, says Stalnaker, is the feature that allows users to immediately file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their smartphone.

Many times after an unwanted call is received, we get upset for a few moments; complain how annoying it is, then go back to what we were doing. The ability to send an immediate complaint could potentially put more pressure on the telemarketer or debt collector, Stalnaker explains.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Why it's basically impossible to delete those naked selfies you text

    If you're selling an old Android smartphone on an online auction site, you could be giving away rather more than you intend to, according to a recent investigation by anti-malware company Avast.

    July 21, 2014

  • Why does the Vatican need a bank?

    The Vatican Bank's history reads more like Dan Brown than the financial pages, but its worst -- and weirdest -- days may be behind it.

    July 18, 2014

  • Almost half of the world actually prefers instant coffee

    Americans' taste in coffee might be getting more high-end _with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers - but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: toward instant coffee.

    July 17, 2014

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can plants hear? Study finds that vibrations prompt some to boost their defenses

    They have no specialized structure to perceive sound as we do, but a new study has found that plants can discern the sound of predators through tiny vibrations of their leaves - and beef up their defenses in response.

    July 12, 2014

  • wheat1.jpg Backlash has begun against gluten-free dieters

    The swelling ranks of Americans adopting gluten-free diets have given rise to another hot trend: people calling the whole thing a bunch of baloney.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140516-recalls_1357_88cb85dbc81b724b4ae9c83db4426fd8.jpg Auto recalls break single-year US record with six months to go

    With six months left in 2014, automakers have already recalled more vehicles in the United States than in any other year on record.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • The science of shyness

    Shy people have quite a bit to contend with - not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To "shy away" from something implies avoidance; to "shy" can also mean to move suddenly in fright; to "be shy of" something can mean to come up short, or be insufficient.

    July 8, 2014

  • Wanna write a pop song? Here's a foolproof equation

    Pop songs (generally) stay in one key, are in 4/4 time, last between three and five minutes, are organized into chunks of four or eight bars, have a repeating chorus played two to four times, include the title sung at least three times, and feature short melodic fragments that repeat a lot to help everyone to remember them.

    July 7, 2014

  • Americans falling out of love with shopping malls

    Abandoned malls are hot: The Dead Malls Enthusiasts Facebook group boasts almost 14,000 members; a Google search of "dead malls" produces 5.7 million results; and the desolate interiors of these unused retailing meccas keep making cameos in thrillers and horror films.

    July 6, 2014