We all know the frustration of stepping away from something important to take a call, only to realize it is another spam call. You block the number, but that does no good, as the same call comes again from a different number. Even more concerning is that these calls can sometimes seem like legitimate business calls. Is there a way to actually reduce the number of calls like this you get?
It is more than just a nuisance. What happens when you get the call from an older relative stating that they had to use their credit card to pay off an IRS debt they didn’t know they owed? These types of predatory calls rob vulnerable people of millions of dollars each year.
Yes, you can reduce the number of robocalls and spam calls by using the following tools:
- Although it is not very effective, take the simple step of blocking the phone number.
- iOS 13 and higher has a new feature that lets you silence unknown callers. Enable this feature from your phone settings. It sends all calls that are not from your contact list straight to your voicemail. They can leave a message in case it is a legitimate call.
- AT&T offers a spam blocking app named Call Protect. It is automatically added to accounts and shows you a warning that says “Potential Scam” from suspicious numbers. For an extra $3.99 per month, you can get the Plus version with an enhanced caller ID and a Reverse Number Lookup feature.
- T-Mobile offers a free scam ID and includes scam block. For an additional $4.00 per month, you can see the name of any incoming caller.
- If you are receiving unwanted text messages, forward the message to SPAM (7726). This feature alerts your carrier to look into the number.
- Verizon offers a similar service that alerts you when an incoming call is likely spam, and can automatically block robocalls.
- Sprint sells a Premium Caller ID app for $2.99 per month that screens all calls from unknown numbers.
- Hiya App—this app can block or alert you to spam and robocalls. Hiya also features a reverse phone lookup where you can type in a number, and Hiya will give you the source and tell you if it is a suspected spam number.
- Nomorobo is an app that screens your calls against a regularly updated list of reported numbers, and blocks call from even ringing your phone if they are on the list. The cost is $1.99 per month. They offer a free 14-day trial. These apps offer some of the most effective tools to completely block spam and robocalls. When used in combination with newer features from your carrier, you will find a dramatic reduction in the number of spam and robocalls.
- Truecaller is another app that blocks spam calls and text messages. It automatically blocks calls from known spammers. It also has a reverse number search so that you can get information about who tried to call you.
- Hang up on any calls that ask you to press a number to connect with a representative.
- Add your number to the FTC’s Do Not Call List. Adding your number to the list does not stop scammers or robocalls, but it will stop calls from telemarketers operating legitimately.
In addition to taking the above steps, consider adding a reputable app or service to the phones of any vulnerable friends or relatives. Ask them not to answer calls from unknown numbers. Explain that they can always check their voicemail, and a legitimate caller will leave a voicemail, and they can return the call. Make sure they know to never give out information to someone they do not know. If the caller identifies themselves as being from a government agency, like the IRS, hang-up. You can call back through the agencies’ published number to ask if they attempted to contact you.