Both iPhone and Android users have probably received at least one annoying spam call. Despite the fact that robocalls appear to be legitimate phone numbers, they are not. Those pesky phone calls leave threatening messages impersonating as your bank, the IRS, or another government body. They may even lead to scammers attempting to defraud you of your money or enlist your participation in undesirable activities. Whatever the calls may say, one thing is certain: they must end.
Spam calls have been a nuisance for years, particularly in the United States. According to YouMail, a company that specializes in robocall blocking, Americans are likely to receive over 52 billion robocalls this year alone.
The Federal Communications Commission attempted to address the robocall problem earlier this year by ordering major wireless providers to implement Stir/Shaken technology. For wireless carriers, Stir/Shaken checks all incoming and outgoing calls that are routed through their networks. Carriers can limit the quantity of fraudulent or faked calls by validating each call. However, it only works in one direction to stop robocalls; it isn’t a panacea. You may continue to receive spam calls offering free trips or bogus notices that your student loan payment is past due.
You can learn more about Stir/Shaken here, and keep reading this page for tips on how to reduce the amount of times your phone rings with possible fraudsters during the day.
How to reduce the number of bothersome robocalls
There are a few simple things you may do to assist prevent robocalls, according to the FCC:
- Calls from blocked or unknown numbers should not be answered.
- Do not answer calls from numbers you are unfamiliar with.
- If an incoming call appears to be from a local number, don’t take it for granted.
- Any inquiries that can be answered with a simple “Yes” should be avoided.
- If someone pretends to be from XYZ firm and phones you, hang up and call the company yourself. To locate an official phone number, go to the company’s website.
- If you do pick up the phone and hear a recording that says something like “Hello, can you hear me?” hang up.
- A call where you’re requested to press a number before being connected to a representative is the same way.
When you pick up the phone and interact with the audio prompt or dial a number, spammers know your number is legitimate. They can then sell your phone number to another company or start calling you more often.
Google’s Call Screen feature, when it initially released, potentially went beyond the FCC’s advice by answering and dealing with the robocall on your behalf. For its Pixel phone series, Google, on the other hand, added new functionality to Call Screen. The function may now detect and stop robocalls and spam calls before they reach your phone. The caller will be interacted with by Google Assistant, and if it is determined that the call is real, it will be routed to your phone.
Silence Unknown Callers is a feature on Apple’s iPhone that allows you to direct calls from numbers that aren’t in your Contacts, Mail, or Messages straight to voicemail. A message can be left by any legitimate caller. But here’s the catch: we frequently receive critical calls from numbers we don’t store on our phones, such as a doctor’s office or a repairman, so you can miss important calls if you do it this way. This is a viable approach if all else fails and you’re desperate to halt robocalls.
If you are receiving a large amount of spam text messages, you can forward them to the number 7726. (which spells “spam”). It won’t stop the number from texting you right away, but it will give your carrier time to investigate and put a stop to it.
Consult your wireless provider.
Call blocking is available on all four main wireless providers. All of them have a free and a premium tier. But, let’s be honest, all robocall-blocking services should be provided for free. This should not be a method for airlines to profit off our plight.
- The Call Protect app from AT&T is accessible on both iOS and Android. In addition to blocking spam and fraud calls, the free edition includes annoying warning flags and a personal block list, as well as the ability to ban all unknown callers. Call Protect Plus costs $4 per line per month and includes features such as caller ID for unknown callers, reverse phone lookup, and custom call controls.
- For Android users on a postpaid account, Verizon‘s Call Filter app is enabled by default. Spam detection, a spam filter, a call record for blocked or spam calls, the ability to accept calls from certain numbers (iOS only), and the opportunity to report numbers for free are all available through the service. Caller ID, spam search, a personal block list, and a spam risk meter are available for $3 per month (or $8 per month if you have three or more lines of service). Call Filter comes pre-installed on most Android handsets (as you’ve presumably been told), but it’s also accessible in the App Store for iOS users.
- Scam Shield is a free service from T-Mobile that combines numerous measures to protect you from robocalls and the leaking of your personal information. To activate Scam Block, dial #662# from your phone or go to your phone’s app store and download the free Scam Shield app. With Fraud Shield turned on, you’ll get complete caller ID, scam reporting, and scam blocking before your phone even rings, as well as the option to designate numbers as favorites so they continue to ring.
- T-Mobile has made Sprint‘s Call Screener available for free. Sprint customers will eventually be able to use the full Scam Shield product suite after migrating to T-system. Mobile’s You can download and use Call Screener Pro without paying the $3 monthly cost until then. The service detects and labels suspected spam calls, as well as allowing you to report numbers as spam.
Switch to a different wireless provider? I recommend contacting customer care or visiting the company’s website to see whether it provides a similar service.
Limit the quantity of robocalls you receive by using a third-party app.
There are lots of third-party apps available if your carrier doesn’t offer an app or service to reduce robocalls, or if it does but it’s too pricey. You want an app that works with your device, provides automated call filtering and spam notifications for dubious calls, and allows you to easily report a number if one gets through.
Hiya is a free app that I’ve been using successfully on Android and iOS for quite some time. It’s made by the same company that makes AT&T’s Call Protect software and Samsung’s built-in call blocking and spam protection. Samsung Galaxy owners can use the built-in service by going to Settings > Caller ID and Spam Protection in the Phone app. It’s simple to set up and use, and it’s a quick way to report a number.
Verizon’s Nomorobo service, which also features a phone app, is used by Fios customers. For VoIP users, the service is free; for mobile users, it costs $2 per month. YouMail and RoboKiller are two other providers with similar features.
Only the iPhone has the Firewall app, which performs an excellent job of blocking calls. The $4-per-month subscription includes limitless single-use phony phone numbers in case you need to make a call and don’t want to use your real phone number.
Another method is to create a free Google Voice phone number that you can use to sign up for stuff instead of handing out your real phone number, and then use the Google Voice number’s block feature once the robocalls start coming in. Just keep in mind that blocking calls might be time-consuming due to robocallers’ continual spoofing of numerous phone numbers.
None of the foregoing options are ideal, but they do help carriers integrate the technology that is now required to detect caller ID spoofing. So, for the time being, you’ll have to put in some extra effort to reduce the number of robocalls you receive. You may decrease the quantity of unwanted calls and spam you receive by being vigilant about calls from unfamiliar numbers and using a service (paid or free).
To summarize, carriers have begun to use Stir/Shaken technology to verify callers, reducing the quantity of robocalls we all receive. If you have an iPhone, figure out how to block unknown callers, but keep in mind that doing so may cause you to miss calls from doctors’ offices and other places. And if you have a Pixel phone, Google’s Call Screen function will undoubtedly be useful, if not entertaining.
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