Anyone with a phone has experienced the annoying robo and spam calls that seem to call at all hours of the night and day. Sometimes, they try to get information. Other times they threaten you for tax reasons, and some even try to trick you into saying the word yes so they can try to use it as your permission for unauthorized payments and credits.
So what can you do to block these irritating calls? Here are a few different ways you can block spam and robocalls.
1 – Put Your Name on the Do Not Call Registry
The first line of protection is to add your number to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry. This site lets you register and report unwanted calls. Once you sign up it may take a few weeks to be activated. This site only blocks sales and telemarketer calls. The site is not perfect, and some unwanted calls may still creep through but it is a good first level protection. Once you are registered, it never expires, and you never need to renew your name on the list. However, this offers no protection for robocalls.
2 – Block Calls with Your Phone Carrier
Many phone carriers offer free basic level anti-spam features. The free version will definitely help but some calls may still get through. However, the paid versions are usually not too expensive and worth the few extra dollars each month to protect yourself from unwanted callers.
Sprint / T-Mobile offers Scam Shield – T-Mobile offers a free blocking app that tries to identify scam calls. A Caller ID displays detailed information on a call allowing you to decide if it’s spam or a robocall. A legitimate call has a Number Verified tag. And a potential spam call has a warning.
For an extra $4.00 a month, a ScamShield Premium edition is available with more advanced features, like voicemail-to-text, a personalized list of numbers to always be blocked, and the ability to send calls directly to voicemail.
AT&T offers Call Protect – Call Protect offers access to a support page with instructions to block calls on various styles of phones. In addition, AT &T provides spam and fraud blocking app for iOS and Android named Call Protect. The basic version is free.
For $3.99, users can get another version that offers a Caller ID and a Reverse Number Lookup feature.
Verizon offers Call Filter – Call filter is free for Verizon Wireless customers with compatible phones and postpaid plans. The free version does a great job of filtering our spam and robocalls. It lets you know when an incoming call is probably spam. It gives you the option to report unsolicited numbers. And you can automatically block robocalls. The paid version, at $2.99, offers Caller ID and other features.
3 – Block Calls from Your Device
Android and iOS have basic filter blocking settings. And there are also a few apps that can help too.
Start by clicking into Settings using the three dots in the upper corner.
Scroll down the settings menu towards the bottom and click on the Caller ID and Spam option. Click the option to Filter Spam Calls.
Because Android phones are different depending on the device, this may not be exact for your phone. Whichever device you are using, look for spam filters in the settings menu options.
Other possibilities to block unwanted spam and robocalls is to try using apps like Truecaller, which has a free version, and RoboKiller, which offers a free trial and then is only a monthly fee of $5.
Apple offers a feature called Silence Unknown Callers in the settings menus.
Using this option has the unfortunate side effect of sending new calls from unknown numbers straight to voicemail. So, for example, calls from a doctor’s office or other legitimate first-time calls will go to voicemail. Calls from your contacts list will come through like normal.
Other options are RoboKiller and Truecaller to block unwanted spam and robocalls.
Other Robo Blocker Apps for Android
- Hiya – Call Blocker, Fraud Detection & Caller ID
- Mr. Number – Caller ID & Spam Protection
- Nomorobo Robocall Blocking
- PrivacyStar: Stop scam with SCAM LIKELY protection
- RoboKiller – Robocall Blocker
- Whoscall – The caller ID and block App
- ZenUI Dialer & Contacts
Other Robo Blocker Apps for iOS
- Robo Shield
- YouMail Voicemail and Spam Blocker
- Malwarebytes Mobile Security
- REKK Call Blocker
- Simple Call Blocker
- Firewall Call Blocker
Block Spam Callers
As a last effort, if the other methods let a call slide through, you can always block individual callers manually. It’s more time-consuming and has to be done each time, but it does work.
For iOS Users
Go into the iPhone app and find the number you want to block. Look for the info icon shaped like a circle and select Block this Caller from the list of options.
Also, you can block callers from Contacts. Open the name of the contact you want to block and scroll down and tap Block this Caller.
If you accidentally make a mistake and block the wrong person, you can fix it by going to the phone’s settings and finding blocked contacts to easily unblock.
For Android Users
Select the caller you need to block and long-press block, Block/report spam, from the menu options.
On that screen, you can block the caller if it’s a number you have saved, and if it’s not, you can report the call as spam.
To unblock a number, go to settings and update blocked numbers.
- Block unknown callers.
- Do not answer unknown callers.
- Do not answer questions.
- Send unknown callers to voicemail.
- Do not let the robots know you are a real person. Do not say anything. Just hang up immediately if you accidentally answer. Sometimes the call will say to push a button to stop receiving them. Do not trust anything that the robots tell you.
- Do not give out any personal information or confirm any information.
- Watch out for COVID scams, including contract tracing, stimulus checks, and tests.
- You can always complain to the FTC. Occasionally they can get rid of spammers and scammers. Obviously, they can’t get them all, but if enough people complain, they will address it.
These methods are all effective easy to protect yourself from unwanted spam and robocalls. The key is to set yourself up to be as protected as you can. And if in doubt about a call, don’t answer it and let it go to voicemail. If it’s a mistake, you can always call them back.