Block Robocalls and Spam Calls: Your Ultimate Guide

June 16, 2024
Justin Lumiere

In an age where unwanted calls, including spam, scams, and robocalls, have become a significant nuisance, understanding how to block and manage these intrusions is crucial. This article delves into various methods for blocking and reporting these calls, providing a comprehensive guide for different types of phone users.

Overview of Call Blocking and Call Labeling

Call blocking software or devices can prevent unwanted calls such as scam calls and robocalls from reaching you. Meanwhile, call labeling displays tags like "spam" or "scam likely" on your phone screen, giving you the option to decide whether to answer the call or not.

Blocking Calls on a Cell Phone

Cell phone users can utilize call-blocking apps available for download on their phone’s operating system. These apps can block calls, send them directly to voicemail, or let them through without ringing your phone. It’s important to review the app’s privacy policy, especially if it requests access to your contacts list.

No Robocalls on Cell Phones
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Block Calls on a Home Phone Using the Internet

If your phone service utilizes VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), you can explore internet-based call-blocking services. Reviewing expert opinions will help you choose the best service. Additionally, some devices can block scam numbers and allow you to create custom block lists or call-approved lists.

Block Calls on a Traditional Landline

For those with traditional landline phones, installing a call-blocking device can stop unwanted calls. Checking with your phone provider for call-blocking options is also advisable. Be aware of the various call-blocking features that these devices offer.

Robocalls

Robocalls, which are mostly illegal if done without your permission, are a significant concern. Hanging up on illegal robocalls and reporting them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help in mitigating future scams. Understanding common phone scams and the tactics used by scammers is critical to avoiding them.

National Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call Registry aims to stop sales calls from legitimate companies lawfully. Registering your number can reduce unwanted calls, although scammers might still make illegal calls. Reporting these calls to the FTC's Do Not Call website can help identify and track down scammers.

Reporting Unwanted Calls

Unwanted calls can be reported to DoNotCall.gov for informational purposes. Should you fall victim to a phone scam or lose money, report it to ReportFraud.ftc.gov, aiding in the identification and location of scammers. The FTC uses this reported data to analyze calling patterns and improve call-blocking solutions.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Legal Actions

The FCC and lawmakers have taken action to address spam calls, but individuals can also take steps to mitigate them. Both Android and iPhone devices offer built-in features for blocking specific numbers, and mobile carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile provide blocking tools such as ActiveArmor, Call Filter, and Scam Shield.

Third-Party Call-Blocking Apps

Apps like Hiya, RoboKiller, Truecaller, and Call Control offer effective solutions for blocking telemarketing calls and spam. These apps provide additional functionalities compared to built-in features, such as creating personalized blacklists, reverse number lookup, and real-time scam alerts.

Quick Reference Guide for Blocking Unwanted Calls
MethodDescription
Call Blocking AppsAvailable for download on cell phone operating systems; blocks calls, sends them to voicemail, or lets them through without ringing.
Internet-based Call BlockingVoIP service users can utilize these services; allows creation of custom block lists or call-approved lists.
Call-Blocking DeviceFor traditional landlines; devices can block unwanted calls and may offer several features provided by phone providers.
National Do Not Call RegistryStops legal sales calls; reporting unwanted calls to the FTC helps in tracking down scammers.
Reporting to FTCIllegal robocalls and phone scams can be reported to ReportFraud.ftc.gov; aids in scam detection and enforcement.
Built-in Phone FeaturesBoth Android and iPhone devices offer built-in options for blocking specific numbers.
Carrier ToolsMobile carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile provide tools such as ActiveArmor, Call Filter, and Scam Shield to block spam calls.
Third-Party AppsApps like Hiya, RoboKiller, Truecaller, and Call Control offer advanced blocking features like personalized blacklists and scam alerts.
Collaborative EffortsPartners like Verizon work with the US Telecom Industry Traceback Group; technologies like STIR/SHAKEN verify caller ID information to prevent spoofed calls.

Blocking Spam Calls on Landline Phones

For landline phones, options include checking with your carrier for available features, purchasing a call-blocking device, and registering with the Do Not Call Registry. Verizon, for instance, offers free tools to its mobile and home customers to block robocalls and provides spam alerts to warn of potential fraud calls.

Collaborative Efforts to Combat Robocalls

Verizon, along with other partners and the US Telecom Industry Traceback Group, is actively working to trace suspicious robocall traffic and catch offenders. Technologies like the STIR/SHAKEN standard are used to verify caller ID information, preventing spoofed calls and updating spam detection algorithms in real time.

By understanding and using the right tools and services, you can significantly reduce the number of unwanted calls and protect yourself from potential scams and fraud.

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