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Stop the call on your phone once and for all



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Jason Cipriani / CNET

Do you have enough of random phone numbers that call your phone anytime? We are sure. Robocalls is more than just a random hassle, and the FCC has decided that it's time to do something about it. A recently approved FCC proposal gives mobile operators the power to block some robocalls by default and also gives customers the ability to block calls from unknown numbers altogether. Even Apple is doing something about the number of calls we receive every day, with the announcement iOS 1

3 on WWDC in early June, the company said with a new one iPhone feature designed to prevent your phone from ever ringing.

Robocalls are the calls made on your phone that transmit a pre-recorded message that you often need to do something about. Sometimes it is a message from a candidate applying for a position. Or a call from your bank advertising a new service. More worrisome are the fraudulent robocalls who, for example, impersonate "IRS" and intend to divert people from their money. It will take some time for the proposal to be implemented. So you will not notice a dramatic drop in unwanted calls overnight.

Not every automated advertising call is considered illegal. Calls from political campaigns, debt collectors and charities are allowed. What is not allowed are calls from fake IRS agents or companies claiming they have won a free vacation in the Bahamas.


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While it's not possible to completely stop robocalls from reaching your phone, you can take some steps to reduce the number of incoming calls.

Best practices

According to FCC, there are some simple steps You can take the following actions to reduce the number of calls:

  • Do not answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
  • Do not answer calls from numbers you do not know.
  • If someone calls you and claims to be with you XYZ company, hang up and call the company itself. Use the company website to find an official number.
  • When you answer a call and hear a recording like "Hello, can you hear me?" Just hang up.
  • The same applies to a call that prompts you to press a number before joining a coworker.

When you answer a call and interact with the voice prompt or press a number, it is used to tell the spammer that your number is real. You can then sell your number to another company or target your number more frequently.

The Google Calling feature may be contrary to FCC recommendations because you not only answer the call, but also interact with the caller through your phone number, which is likely to lead to further calls. Even though Google's calling screen is incredibly fun and entertaining, it's best not to respond unless you know the phone number is real.

Apple recently announced iOS 13 with a ton of new features that allow calls from unknown numbers to be routed directly to voicemail. According to the feature list on this page, Siri allows calls to numbers from contacts, emails, and messages. Everything else is sent to the voicemail, and if the caller is legitimate, he can leave a message.

If you find that you receive a lot of spam text messages, you can forward the message to number 7726 (Spells SPAM). It will not immediately prevent the number from sending you an SMS, but your mobile service provider can check where it came from and put an end to it.

Contact your mobile service provider.

All four major mobile operators offer some kind of call blocking feature for customers. Some are free while others charge for something that should be free.

  • AT & T's Call Protect app is available for iOS and Android. The free version blocks calls from "likely scammers" and marks telemarketing calls. You can also add numbers to a blocked list in the app. The paid version offers Caller ID for unknown numbers as well as mobile security features that have nothing to do with robocalls. The premium version of Call Protect costs $ 3.99 per month.
  • Verizon's call filter provides spam detection, spam filtering and the ability to report numbers for free. You can pay $ 2.99 per month (or $ 7.99 per month for three or more lines) for caller ID, spam lookup, and a personal blacklist and spam list. The call filter is pre-installed in most Android devices (as you have probably been told), but is also available in the App Store for iOS users.
  • The T-Mobile Scam ID is free for all customers and includes Scam Block. The ID portion of the service indicates that an incoming call is probably spam while blocking prevents the call from ever reaching your phone. You need to enable the lock feature either through the Scam Block app or by dialing # 662 # on your phone. You can pay $ 3.99 for the name ID to see the names of incoming callers.
  • Sprint's Premium Caller ID feature costs $ 2.99 per month and identifies all incoming callers and blocks robocalls. There is no need to install an app. It is integrated into "selected" phones and the Sprint network.

Check with your wireless service provider to see if they offer a similar service.

Use a third-party app!

If your provider does not offer an app or service to reduce robocalls, or if they are simply too expensive, many third-party apps are available. You want to find an app that works on your device that offers automatic call barring and spam alerts for suspicious calls, and provides the ability to easily report a number when a call slips.

Hiya is a free app that I have used on Android and iOS for some time with success. It's the same company that supports AT & T's Call Protect app and Samsung's integrated call blocking and spam protection service. Samsung Galaxy users can enable the built-in service in the Phone app under Settings > Caller ID and Anti-Spam . The setup is painless and provides an easy way to report a number.

Nomorobo is the service that Verizon uses for its Fios users, but also has a phone app. The service is free for VoIP users and costs $ 1.99 per month for mobile users. Additional services with similar features include YouMail and RoboKiller.

You can also sign up for a free Google Voice phone number. Instead of spending your real number for random services, you can also use your Google Voice number. Once the robocalls come in, you can use the lock feature. Just know that blocking calls can be a lot of work, as robocallers are constantly faking other phone numbers.

None of the above solutions are perfect and will probably not be until the network operators have integrated the technology required to verify caller identification. Therefore, at the moment you need to do some extra work to keep the number of robocalls received to a minimum. By proactively processing unknown calls to your number and using a (paid or free) service, you can reduce the number of unwanted calls and spam messages on your phone.

Why do I get so many robocalls?

FCC gets tough on robocalls

Originally posted on July 13, 2018.


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