Most of us would agree that the spam calls we keep receiving on our smartphones have proven to be a nuisance for many years now.
Typically, users will tend to get roughly four to six robocalls each day; if you think that you are the only one, you could not be more wrong. Each day you wake up, you will receive a lot of annoying robocalls.
In today’s time, robocallers have improved their strategy by masking spam that looks like genuine local phone numbers.
In most cases, the spam calls are quite amusing – who would not want to laugh at a robotic threatening voice warning you about a potential arrest due to your pending taxes?
However, you should remember that these continuous barrages of calls are very annoying.
Today, these spammers make use of the internet to fire countless calls. Even if very few people do fall for the scams, they will still end up making a significant profit, which will easily cover these small expenses.
According to research, it has been found that there were more than 50 billion robocalls made in 2019 alone. Therefore, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are working hard to minimize these incidents and have made significant strides in this matter.
Sadly, things are still getting worse; in fact, things are not under control. According to research, it has been found that US carriers are required to adopt a technology that can help prevent spam calls.
However, this technology is still under development.
If you do not like receiving calls from such suspicious and random numbers, we have provided you with a solution that will offer you some peace of mind. In this article, we will talk about these methods so that you can fight against such spammers.
Before getting into the gist of the article, we first need to learn about some definitions so that you will be able to differentiate between such calls.
Based on Verizon, some types of calls you can get include:
- Robocaller: These are pre-recorded and automated phone messages and calls
- Fraud Calls: These are calls where the caller pretends to be someone else and have malicious intent
- Spammers: These are unwanted calls that are received by a large number of recipients; at times, these calls are even received by callers that have not consented to be contacted
Option 1: Block Each Number Individually
Of course, this is quite a crude method of blocking unwanted robocalls simply because you will get overwhelmed by the number of robocalls in the first place.
However, if you have been receiving unwanted calls from particular numbers, you can choose to block them from your iOS and Android devices.
For your iOS devices, all you need to do is tap on your Phone app and head over to your Recents. Here, you will find the blue information icon that you need to tap to find the number you wish to block. Next, select ‘Block this Caller’.
In the case of Android devices, the process is almost similar. You need to head over to the Recents tab of your smartphone; next, you need to long-press on the number you want to block and tap on the Block options.
As mentioned above, this method takes up a lot of time and effort. While it will keep some spammers away, you cannot block private callers.
Option 2: Pay Your Carrier To Help Protect Against Such Callers
Several major mobile providers do offer protection by standing between you and these annoying robocallers. These providers make use of undisclosed network improvements.
For instance, the SHAKEN/STIR technology helps the carriers identify whether a number is legit and will filter out numbers that are spoof or fake.
While most of these callers come from different parts of the world, some robocallers will also impersonate local numbers because it is easier.
In the US, almost all major carriers offer some type of spam blocking feature as a part of the carrier’s
AT&T: Call Protect
This is available for all postpaid customers. If you opt for the Plus version, you will have to pay $3.99
At&T offers a free service known as Call Protect. This technology can be used to block annoying robocalls and spammers even before you receive the first ring. All you need to do is install the software on your smartphone device.
Of course, the level of protection offered by Call Protect is quite basic and will not be able to completely stop the spam calls. However, it will show you a ‘nuisance warning’ if you receive telemarketer calls.
You can also make use of Call Protect to block these numbers permanently. You can also create a personal block list.
The Plus service of Call Protect where you will be offered access to features like reverse number lookup, caller ID, ways to send or block calls by category, etc. You will have to pay $3.99 per month; however, the main services of Call Protect will be available to you for free.
The service is also available for prepaid customers if they already have an AT&T HD Voice-capable phone.
T-Mobile Scam Block and Shield
This plan is available for all postpaid customers. For the Scam Shield Premium, you will have to pay $4 per month.
Even T-Mobile is upping its game to protect you against these robocalls. The Scam Shield tool can be downloaded for free and contains almost everything like Caller ID, Scam Block, Scam ID, etc.
This means that you can choose any level of scam protection that suits your requirements. All suspicious calls will be red-flagged by default.
Once you enable the Scam Block feature, most of the suspicious calls will be blocked and they will not be able to contact you.
Additionally, the Caller ID service will show all the information of the people who are calling you, even if they are not present in your contact list.
Additionally, you can turn on the Scam Block feature, even if you do not have the Scam Shield app. To do this, you need to dial #662# from your T-Mobile smartphone. You need to dial #632# to disable this feature.
If you opt for the Scam Shield Premium, you will have to pay $4 per month. Some various features of this premium plan include getting voicemail-to-text for a glance to your voicemail, creating an ‘always block’ list, sending full categories of unwanted robocalls directly to voicemail, etc.
You can use a T-Mobile VPN for added data encryption.
Verizon Wireless: Call Filter
This service is available free for all postpaid customers
The Call Filter service is provided by Verizon and is available for all postpaid users. With the help of this service, you will get alerts if you will get calls from spammers, automatically block robocalls based on the risk level, report unsolicited numbers, etc.
As a free user, you can block up to five phone numbers that you want to prevent from calling you. However, these phone numbers will only be blocked for 90 days and are quite ineffective against certain callers that keep changing their numbers daily.
If you opt to become a paid Call Filter user, you will get access to more features. For instance, you will be able to create a personal block list. You will have to pay $2.99 per month.
If you opt for the Smart Family plan, you will have access to more features like the ability to permanently block ten numbers indefinitely, access to parental controls, etc. The price of the Family plan is $4.99 per month.
Option 3: Make Use Of Third-Party Apps For Protection
You will find a lot of services that can protect you against robocalls from ringing your phone like Hiya, RoboKiller, Nomorobo, etc. In most cases, you will have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription plan.
These apps constantly keep updating their databases of fraudsters, spammers, robocallers, etc.; this means that these tools will identify all these numbers daily.
As soon as you receive a call, the tool will start running the caller’s number against its database of scam numbers. If there is a match, the incoming call will get blocked even before your phone starts to ring.
Most of these tools will allow you to create your personal list of numbers that you wish to block and also whitelist numbers that you think are important.
Then, there are also some that will download a dedicated contacts list, which is separate from your regular phone contacts, to your smartphone.
Additionally, both Android and iOS devices have provided more ease of access to these tools for controlling your smartphone and stopping these robocallers from contacting you.
For iPhone devices, you need to enable this via the Settings app and provide the required permissions to the caller IDs. For Apple devices, you can take a look at the step-by-step method here.
Experts would recommend that you review all these services to check which ones will work the best for you. Most of these tools are quite well-received by the customers; additionally, you will also be provided with free trials so that you can try out the services before opting for the paid services.
Out of these tools, you will find the best tool that can help you ward off such unwanted calls.
- Nomorobo: With this tool, you will be offered a 14-day trial; once the 14 days are up, you will have to pay $1.99 per month. This service is free for landlines.
- RoboKiller: You will be offered a 7-day free trial. After this, you will have to pay $4.99 per month or $39.99 per month.
- Hiya: Partnered with Spectrum Mobile, AT&T, and Samsung, Hiya offers spam ID services free for iOS users. This also includes the detection of spam and blocking them.
On the other hand, the Premium version will also offer additional services like providing a database of more names and better updates.
Hiya can also be used for Android devices and the basic membership will provide spam detection and caller ID. If Android users opt for the Premium version, they can make use of some amazing features like reverse lookup and spam blocking.
For both iOS and Android devices, you will be offered a free seven-day trial. Once the trial period is up, you can opt for the premium plans, which include $3.99 per month or $24.99 per year.
Option 4: Let Your Mobile OS Deal With The Calls
Today, most Android devices like Google and Samsung smartphones feature in-built options for flagging suspicious robocalls and spam calls.
In the case of a Google Pixel phone, the whole screen will turn red once it detects an incoming spam call. This is the easiest way of knowing which calls you can answer and the ones that you can avoid.
Alternatively, you can also tap on the three dots on the right corner of your Pixel smartphone; head over to the Settings option, then on Caller ID and Spam. Here, you will find various filters for spam calls and spam ID.
Most other Android devices have similar features.
As for Apple devices, iOS 13 has come up with a standalone app called Silence Unknown Callers; as you may have guessed by the name, this app will instantly block all callers that are not present in your contact list, have not texted you, or have not been in contact with you.
All such spam calls will straightaway be dumped to your voicemail. You do not have to download this app separately; you simply need to head over to the Settings, then Phone, and enable Silence Unknown Callers.
Option 5: Make Use Of The Do Not Disturb Feature To Allow Calls From Your Contact
In both iOS and Android OS, you will find a dedicated Do Not Disturb mode. Once you enable this mode, you will only receive calls from people and businesses that are present in your contact list.
Of course, this method is quite a drastic one as you could easily miss calls from people who are not present in your contact list.
Thankfully, all such calls will be redirected and sent to your voicemail. Later, you can add that number to your contact list.
However, experts recommend that this option should only be used as a last resort; additionally, you also need to be very meticulous and good about updating your contact list on a daily basis.
Why Do Most Spam Calls Look Like Real Numbers?
Yes, most spam calls look like real numbers. This can prove to be quite annoying. This trick is known as neighborhood spoofing; if you are looking for more information, you can head over to RoboKiller to learn more.
Basically, scammers think that any number that matches your local area code (or even the first few digits of the phone umber), the human mind will get tricked into answering it.
Because of this, the trickery also feels more despicable. What if you receive the call while you are in the middle of a family emergency? What if you are visiting the doctor or a pharmacy?
Thankfully, most of these spam blocking apps have been improved so that they can easily spot neighborhood spoofing. According to RoboKiller, its app is a great option for noticing neighborhood spoofing from the start.
Another great option is Nomorobo, whose main focus is to detect neighborhood spoofing.
Tip 1: Always Add Yourself To The Do Not Call Registry
Most telemarketers, in theory, are supposed to celebrate and honor the National Do Not Call Registry. You can always add yourself to this list simply by heading to the website (www.donotcall.gov) and following the remaining steps as prompted.
After you have signed up and registered as a member, your account at the Do Not Call Registry will never expire or lapse, contrary to some ongoing rumors. You will also not have to keep re-adding your number to the list or keep renewing it.
You should know that, Do Not Call Registry will not cover surveys, debt collectors, political groups, and charities; it will only cover sales calls.
The same can also be said for the companies with whom you may have been in business. Of course, you always have the option of telling the telemarketer verbally to stop calling you.
However, there are some types of robocallers and scammers that will not pay any heed to the DNC Registry and choose to ignore it completely. Since these robots do not answer anyone, using the above-mentioned methods is considered the best choice.
Tip 2: Try To Fool The Robot Into Thinking You Are Not A Real Human
Of course, who has not thought of calling a scammer or a robocaller to swear up and down? However, this anger will only take you so far. If you want to do any real damage, you need to make the robot caller confused whether they are talking to a real person or not.
Whenever you receive a call from a scammer or robocaller, you simply need to pick up the phone and do nothing. Do not push any buttons or say anything, even if you receive instructions from the robot.
Eventually, the call from this robot will go to your voicemail or will hang up if you have picked it up by mistake. You should never put your trust in a robotic voice, even if it sounds like a human.
Tip 3: You Can Lodge A Complaints To The FTC
If you ultimately failed to stop these scammers and robocallers, you can always report your case to the FTC. While they will be unable to pursue each and every complaint, they will look into the important ones based on the magnitude of the issue.
As mentioned previously, the FTC does take down some of the scam callers. Of course, you may still end up receiving calls from scammers and robots even after using all these methods.
However, we do hope that this article can at least ease the avalanche of a problem that you are facing. Hopefully, you will be able to trust your caller ID again once all carriers can get their call verification process up and running.
This will actually help answer calls more often from people on your contact list.