Are you sick and tired of all the spam calls you get? The FCC has tried to crack down on such calls, while lawmakers on the federal and state levels have passed legislation to address the problem. But there are certain actions you can take on your own. Android devices and iPhones come with built-in features for blocking specific phone numbers, while mobile carriers offer their own blocking tools.
Several third-party apps—including Hiya, RoboKiller, Truecaller, and Call Control—also work to block telemarketing calls. And you can register your phone number with the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, though that won't stop scammers and disreputable telemarketers from calling you. Let's check out each option.
(If you’re also receiving unwanted robotexts, there are steps you can take to block them, too.)
Block Numbers on an iPhone
Robocallers cycle through thousands of phone numbers, and many include the same telephone prefixes as your own phone number. To block them as they come in on your iPhone, open the Phone app and tap Recents. Tap the Info icon next to the number you want to block and choose Block this Caller and then Block Contact.
The number is now blocked. However, spammers have a habit of jumping from one number to another, so this remedy helps only if the caller uses the same number more than once.
With iOS 13 or higher installed on your iPhone, you can take a more effective but drastic measure to clamp down on spam calls. Go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and turn on the switch for Silence Unknown Callers.
This feature automatically silences all calls from numbers that are not in your contacts list. Calls are sent to voicemail and appear on your Recents lists so you can return the call if it's legitimate.
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Block Numbers on Android
The steps for blocking numbers on an Android phone vary based on the device and operating system version. You should be able to open the Phone app and select recent calls or call history. Tap the number you want to block and find the command that says block and/or report as spam. Confirm the request to block the number.
Some Android devices also allow you to block all unknown callers. While the process varies among different devices, you typically open the Phone app and go to the Settings menu. Find the option for blocking numbers and activate the feature. You can also manually add phone numbers that you want blocked.
AT&T Call Protect
AT&T customers can access a support page(Opens in a new window) with directions for blocking calls on different types of phones. The company provides a fraud and spam call blocking app for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window) named Call Protect, and an app for the family known as AT&T Secure Family, also on iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window). The basic version of Call Protect is free for AT&T Mobility subscribers, with the carrier rolling it out automatically for new customers and adding it to the accounts of existing customers. An AT&T app called Mobile Security(Opens in a new window) with enhanced Caller ID and Reverse Number Lookup features is available for $3.99 a month.
Verizon Call Filter
Verizon Wireless offers a free version of its Call Filter service(Opens in a new window) for customers with compatible phones but only for postpaid plans. The free version detects and filter out spam calls. It alerts you when an incoming call is likely spam, lets you report unsolicited numbers, filters out numbers with the same first six digits as yours, and will block robocalls based on your set level of risk.
For $2.99 a month per line, the paid version of Call Filter kicks in Caller ID, a personal spam list, and other features. iPhone users can download the Call Filter app from the App Store(Opens in a new window). The app should be pre-loaded on your Android device. If not, download it from Google Play.
T-Mobile Scam Shield
T-Mobile offers a free blocking app called Scam Shield(Opens in a new window) for postpaid T-Mobile and Metro customers. The iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window) app can identify scam calls in an effort to prevent them from reaching you. An enhanced Caller ID feature displays detailed information on a call so you can determine if it’s spam. A legitimate call carries a Number Verified tag, while a potential spam call comes with a warning.
Scam Shield even gives you an extra proxy phone number you can use when you don’t want to share your regular number. If your regular number is caught up in spam, you can change it for free once a year. A spam counter keeps track of the calls that have been blocked.
For $4 a month, Scam Shield Premium edition kicks in more advanced features, including voicemail-to-text, the ability to create a block list, and an option to send certain types of calls straight to voicemail.
The third-party app Hiya: Spam Phone Call Blocker(Opens in a new window) for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window) warns you of robocalls and scam calls based on a database of known scammers. The app tackles phone calls associated with fraud and illegal activities as well as those connected with telemarketers.
Hiya can detect spoofed calls that use the same initial digits as your own number. You can type a phone number into the app, and Hiya will reveal its source and tell you if it's a suspected spam number. And the app can automatically allow calls from any of your contacts.
The basic version is free. A premium edition with a call screener and other features is available as a seven-day trial, and then costs $3.99 a month or $24.99 a year.
Designed for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window), RoboKiller(Opens in a new window) not only blocks spam calls but attempts to mess with the spammers. The app's Answer Bots will automatically answer spam calls with prerecorded nonsense designed to frustrate them and waste their time. You can even create your own bot responses.
The app includes a database of known spammers, though you can add specific numbers that you want blocked. The Android app is $2.99 a month or $24.99 per year, while the iOS edition costs $3.99 per month or $29.99 per year after a one-week free trial.
Truecaller(Opens in a new window) offers apps for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window) that strive to block spam phone calls and text messages. The app identifies each incoming call, especially those from unfamiliar numbers, so you know if it's legit or not. It can automatically block unwanted calls based on known spammers, as well as numbers you manually add.
You can look up specific names and phone numbers to get information on them, and you can make phone calls directly from the app to identify and call friends and other contacts. The basic app is free. The Premium edition removes all ads and kicks in several other features for $4.49 a month or $29.99 a year.
Available for iOS(Opens in a new window) and Android(Opens in a new window), Call Control(Opens in a new window) helps block spam calls with the power of crowdsourcing. The app comes with a feature called “CommunityIQ” that consults thousands of community reports and Do Not Call complaints to determine which calls are coming from spammers. You can tell the app to block calls from any numbers similar to your own, look up numbers to see if they’re from spammers, and even connect a compatible landline to extend the spam blocking at home.
The basic app is free but lacks most of the core features. A premium version that expires after the first seven days adds the CommunityIQ option and other features at a cost of $3.33 a month, $9.99 a quarter, or $29.99 per year.
Spam Blocking on a Landline
Without mobile apps and other digital tools and services, preventing robocalls and spam calls on a landline is more challenging than on a mobile phone. But you do have some options. Check with your carrier to see if it offers any features to cut down on spam calls.
Some landline phones also come with built-in call blocking technology(Opens in a new window). If you already have a phone and it doesn't have this feature, you can buy a separate call blocking device(Opens in a new window). You can also register your number with the FTC's Do Not Call Registry.
Register on the Do Not Call List
While scammers won't respect the FTC's Do Not Call Registry, it can't hurt to register your landline and mobile phone numbers at donotcall.gov(Opens in a new window). From the website, you can report unwanted calls, verify if your phone number is registered with the Do Not Call Registry, and add your number if not.
If you think you may have already registered with the Do Not Call Registry, select Register Your Phone > Verify Here. Type your phone number and email address, then click Submit. At the next screen, click Verify to confirm your number and email address. You’ll then receive an email indicating whether your number is already registered. Check your email for the message.
If you're not already registered, select Register Your Phone > Register here. Enter your phone number and email address, then click Submit. Confirm your information, then click Register. You’ll then be directed to check a message in your email. Click on the link in the message to complete your registration.
You can report any robocalls or scam calls you receive to the FTC. The agency can't act on your specific complaint, but it will suggest steps you can take and collect the information you provide in its own fight against sleazy telemarketers.
From the DNC homepage, click Report Unwanted Calls. You’ll be asked to fill out all the details about the phone call in question, then submit the information. Alternatively, you can call the FTC at 1-888-382-1222 to report an unwanted call.
How To Stop Robocalls and Spammers
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Is there a free robocall blocker? ›
Truecaller Best free option. Among the most-used free spam blocking apps on the market with a large number of useful features. Nomorobo Robocall Blocking Good for complete blocking. It allows you to send spam calls directly to voicemail.Does * 61 block unwanted calls? ›
Block calls from your phone
Receive an unwanted call? Press *61 to add the last call received to your call block list. Press *80 to turn call blocking off.
On your device, open the Phone app . Spam and Call Screen. Turn See caller & spam ID on or off. Optional: To block spam calls on your phone, turn on "Filter spam calls." You don't get missed call or voicemail notifications, but filtered calls are in your call history, and you can check your voicemail.How do I block all spam calls for free? ›
On a stock Android device, like Google's Pixel phones, open the Phone app and tap on the Recent tab. Long-press the number you want to block and tap Block/Report Spam. You can choose whether to uncheck the box marked Report call as spam and then tap Block.Why am I getting so many spam calls all of a sudden 2022? ›
The main reason people are getting more spam calls is the sales spammers make through these calls are worth their while. Meanwhile, there's hardly any downside for scammers and spammers: Their identities are easily concealed over a call, and there is a general lack of legislation that would prevent these activities.How do you get telemarketers to stop calling? ›
The National Do Not Call Registry lets you limit the telemarketing calls you receive. Stop unwanted sales calls by registering your phone number: Online: Visit DoNotCall.gov. By phone: Call 1-888-382-1222 or TTY: 1-866-290-4236.How does * 77 work? ›
Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) stops calls from people that use a blocking feature to keep their name or number from being displayed. When Anonymous Call Rejection is turned on, callers will hear a message telling them to hang up, turn off the blocking feature, and call again.What does * 87 do on your phone? ›
To deactivate, dial *87. Block your name and number from appearing on caller ID. Outgoing calls will be displayed as Private, Anonymous or Unavailable.What happens when I dial *# 61? ›
Get Even More Info on Call Forwarding: *#61#
On my Galaxy phone, this code prompted a pop-up that let me know how long until a call is forwarded to the message center. On the iPhone, regardless of carrier, this code just showed me the same info as *#67# .
“It's a telephone scam technique where your phone rings once and then stops, in hopes that you will call the number back. If you do call back, it goes to a high-cost international number, meaning you will be charged for that call, and the scammer will make money.”
How much does RoboKiller cost per month? ›
How Much Does RoboKiller Cost? It's simple: RoboKiller costs just $4.99 per month or save 33% if you do the annual plan of $39.99 (making it just $3.33 a month). This nominal fee gets you access to all of the features mentioned above, and you'll surely eliminate 99% of those annoying spam calls and text messages.How do I stop robo calls on my iPhone? ›
To turn on Silence Unknown Callers, go to Settings > Phone, then scroll down, tap Silence Unknown Callers, and turn on the feature. Calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent to your voicemail, and appear in your recent calls list.What is the best free robocall blocker? ›
With Robokiller, you're stuck with a monthly or yearly subscription and have to put in credit card information just to get a 1 week trial.Is there a free app like RoboKiller? ›
There are five alternatives to RoboKiller for iPhone and Android. The best alternative is Dont Text, which is free. Other great apps like RoboKiller are TrapCall, Number Guru, SpamResponse and Hiya. A paid application for iOS and Android users which blocks and pranks spam callers, such as scammers.