Personal, Expanded, and Community Blacklists

Sometimes there are people you just don't want to hear from. Whether you're sick of telemarketers or want to block certain individuals from reaching you by phone, Ooma's blacklist features can help. With community blacklists to block out known nuisances, and individual blacklists to help protect your privacy from specific callers, you have total control over when your phone rings -- and more importantly, when it doesn't.

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What are blacklists? How do they work?

Blacklists are lists of phone numbers that you would prefer didn't reach you. Ooma offers three types of blacklists: Personal, Expanded, and Community.

Personal blacklist
The Personal blacklist is your list of phone numbers that you simply don't want to hear from. You can add and remove numbers from the Personal blacklist whenever you'd like, for whatever reason you'd like. Any number that is currently on your Personal blacklist will be blocked from reaching you.

Expanded blacklist
The Expanded blacklist taps into a third-party database of confirmed telemarketers, robocallers, and phone spammers. When you enable the expanded blacklist on your account, you will be protected from unwanted and unsolicited calls from over 800,000 known sources of phone spam.

Community blacklist
The Community blacklist contains thousands of phone numbers that are known sources of spam and telemarketing calls. When you enable the community blacklist on your account, you've instantly blocked phone numbers that the Ooma community has collectively found to be invasive or annoying. When you combine the Expanded blacklist and the Community blacklist, you can think of it as putting up an impenetrable wall between your phone and unwanted calls -- a wall that is constantly growing stronger as new feedback rolls in.

How Personal, Expanded, and Community blacklists work together
When you add a phone number to your Personal blacklist, you're asked to give a reason for blocking the caller. If you list the reason as "personal", nothing further will happen.

Otherwise, as you and other Ooma users add numbers to your Personal blacklists and mark them as sources of various "phone spam," Ooma aggregates that information to keep the Community blacklist as up-to-date as possible. After confirming that widely-blocked numbers are legitimate sources of spam, Ooma adds those numbers to the Community blacklist, saving other people the trouble of ever receiving an unwanted call from those numbers.

The Expanded blacklist helps to catch additional sources of spam that may not have made their way onto the Community blacklist. It offers another way for customers to protect their privacy by preventing spam calls before they can happen.

You can have any combination of the Personal, Expanded, and Community, blacklists turned on at any time. You can also differentiate between what happens to numbers that are blocked via the each of the three types of blacklists:

You can turn on the Personal, Expanded, or Community blacklists, or any combination of the three by following these instructions:

  1. Log into your My Ooma account.
  2. Navigate to Blacklists under the Preferences tab.
  3. Decide whether you want to enable to the Personal, Expanded, or Community blacklist, or a combination of the three using the interface pictured above.
  4. Select what will happen to calls that come in from blacklisted numbers.

Is the blacklist feature available to all users?

The Personal, Expanded, and Community blacklists are available to all Ooma Premier members.

How do I add a number to my Personal blacklist?

You can add a number to your Personal blacklist by clicking on in the blacklist options. Once the process is initiated, you will be asked for information about the number you're adding:

Note: If the reason for adding a number is identified as personal, that information won't be aggregated for the Community blacklist.

How do I remove a number from my Personal blacklist?

You can remove a number from your Personal blacklist by clicking on the trash icon next to the phone number you wish to remove, as shown in the image below:

What are the different options for what happens to a call from a blacklisted number?

When you enable a Personal, Expanded, or Community, blacklist, you get to choose what happens to those calls. No matter what you choose, your phone at home will never ring:

  1. Call Blocked Message will redirect callers to a recorded message informing them their call was blocked.
  2. Sent to Voicemail will send all blacklisted numbers straight to voicemail.
  3. Number Disconnected Message will redirect callers to a recorded message informing them that your number has been disconnected.
  4. Continuous Ring will cause the call to ring for a period of time and then the caller will hear a busy signal.

Can I select what happens for individual numbers in my Personal blacklist?

No. You cannot select what happens to individual numbers in your Personal blacklist. Your selection will be applied to all numbers in your Personal blacklist.

Is there a limit to how many numbers I can have on my Personal blacklist?

There is a limit of 256 numbers on your Personal blacklist.

How do wildcard characters work for Personal blacklists?

You can use a wildcard character to prevent all incoming calls from a range of phone numbers or even an area code. This will help you combat telemarketers that call from different numbers within the same prefix or area code. Previously, you could only address these annoyances by blocking the numbers one at a time as they contacted you. With wildcard characters, you can stop these calls at the source with just one entry in your blacklist.

To use wildcard characters, follow the steps to add a new number to your Personal blacklist. Then, type the area code you would like to block followed by a *. For example, to block the area code 212 you would type "212*"" and then save the item. If you wish to block a specific prefix, such as 212-555, you would enter "212555*" and then save the item.