5 Ways that ACTUALLY Work

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Nobody wants unsolicited calls. To start, you can register your number on the U.S. Do Not Call Registry via their website or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236).

Unfortunately, while it’s a good first step, it won’t stop spam calls.

The Do Not Call Registry only stops unsolicited calls made by legitimate businesses. Scammers rarely operate legit businesses, and spam calls are a tool of their trade. Here are some ways to stop the spam.

How to Stop Spam Calls With Your Phone

Block unwanted calls with your phone’s built-in features

Most smartphones on the market today include a feature to block unknown numbers. This is a pretty good way to keep scammers from getting through, but it comes at a cost.

If you turn on this feature to block unknown numbers, you may miss out on legitimate calls, too. Delivery drivers, a doctor’s office, or an acquaintance calling from a new number are all people who may be blocked when this setting is active.

But if the comfort of eliminating spam calls, including the super-annoying ghost calls, outweighs an occasional missed call you did want to get, here’s how to set the feature up on your phone.

Block calls on iPhone

Step 1. Open the Settings app.

Step 2. Choose Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.

Step 3. Toggle the Silence Unknown Callers button to ON.

This will send unknown numbers straight to voicemail without notifying you of the incoming call. You will, however, still find the number in your Recents list.

With this setting active, only numbers in your Contacts list and numbers you’ve recently called will ring through to your phone.

Block calls on Android

Step 1. Open your Phone app and tap on More info (three dots) in the upper-right corner.

Step 2. Select Settings > Spam and Call Screen.

Step 3. Toggle Caller ID & Spam Protection to ON.

Step 4. Select Block numbers.

Step 5. Toggle the Block spam and scam calls to ON.

With these settings active, the only calls that will get through are from numbers in your Call History or Voicemail.

Block calls manually

This is the way to block one-off calls as they come in. But since scammers usually have a bank of different numbers they use to blast out spam calls, this isn’t going to fully solve the issue. It will, however, keep a specific number out of your phone–and life–forever.

Block individual calls on iPhone

This is how to block a call after you receive it.

Step 1. Open your Phone app.

Step 2. Select the Favorites, Recents, or Voicemail option.

Step 3. Select the “i” icon next to the number you want to block.

Step 4. Select Block this Caller.

Step 5. Select Block Contact on the popup confirmation screen.

Have a number you want to block before you get a call from it? You can do that, too.

Step 1. Open your Contacts list and create a new contact for the unwanted number. Don’t worry, this is just temporary. you’ll delete it later.

Step 2. Open your Settings app.

Step 3. Go to Phone > Blocked Contacts.

Step 4. Tap Add New… at the bottom of the screen.

Step 5. Your phone Contacts list appears, find the contact and select it. The contact will now appear on your Blocked Contacts list.

Step 6. Go back to your Contacts list and delete the contact.

Block individual calls on Android

Android phones vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and the operating system. But these are the general steps for blocking a call you already received.

Step 1. Open the Phone app.

Step 2. Go to Recent Calls or Call History.

Step 3. Choose the number you want to block.

Step 4. Tap the More info (three dots) in the upper right corner of the screen, then choose Block.

Step 5. Select Block/report spam.

Step 6. On the popup screen, tick the box for Report call as spam and then choose Block.

If you have a number you want to block before the call comes in, you can do that, too.

Step 1. Open your Phone app.

Step 2. Tap the More info (three dots) in the upper right corner of the screen, then choose Settings.

Step 3. Choose Block numbers.

Step 4. Type in the number you want to block, then tap the + icon.

Block individual calls on a landline

If you have a landline, your service provider may offer call blocking as an optional service. Sometimes this service is free, other times there is a small fee. But it usually only permits you to block one number at a time and caps out the total amount of numbers you can block.

For example, AT&T offers a Call Block/Call Screening feature that lets you block up to 10 unwanted numbers from your local calling area, but the service incurs a small monthly fee.

The process to block individual calls varies by provider, so you should contact yours and ask about options and fees to block unwanted calls. Generally, it involves activating the feature by dialing *60 on your phone.

How to Stop Spam Calls With Apps

These days, there’s an app for everything, and that includes blocking spam calls. These are our favorites that work on both iOS and Android operating systems.

Hiya

Hiya helps you manage spam calls and offers a reverse-lookup feature, too. The Hiya app relies on the databases from its parent company, Hiya, Inc., a global business call management system. Hiya’s databases are among the most robust in the industry, using machine learning to parse data from millions of data points collected from around the world.

With the app, all incoming calls are screened and information displayed in real-time, letting you decide how to handle the call before answering them. Known or suspected spam numbers are identified in the caller ID area and you can block and report them. Hiya also lets you look up numbers in its smart dialer, so you have detailed information before you place a call.

There is a free version of the Hiya app and a premium option that gives you auto call blocking, advanced call screening options and voicemail protection. Hiya Premium costs $6.49 per month or $40.99 for a one-year subscription.

Truecaller

Truecaller offers caller ID and the ability to block spam calls and texts. You can also search for unknown numbers. Truecaller relies on a community database that includes data submitted by more than 350 million users to track and identify spam numbers.

When you receive an incoming call, Truecaller displays the number with a notation identifying it as spam. You can block unwanted calls and texts quickly and use Truecaller’s Live Caller ID feature to identify any unknown calls not already marked as spam.

Truecaller offers a free version and several paid options. Truecaller Premium is $5.99 per month/$39.99 per year, and gives you an ad-free experience plus Live Caller ID using your phone’s virtual assistant, call recording, unlimited number lookup, and more.

Truecaller Assistant screens incoming calls for you, using AI to answer the call and ask the caller questions to help you determine their identity and reason for the call. Truecaller Assistant is $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

Call Control

Call Control uses smart block technology to stop unwanted calls from spammers and other unwanted sources. It relies on a database reported by millions of users to identify known spam numbers. You can also use your own personal block list to add any other number and avoid future calls from that person or business.

Call Control lets you block and report any unwanted numbers, and do reverse lookups for unknown numbers. There is also a home version of Call Control that you can add to your landline. Call Control is compatible with STIR/SHAKEN authentication technology, too.

Call Control offers both a free and premium version. Call Control Premium costs $9.99 per quarter or $29.99 per year. You can also add Premium Lookup Credits for a small additional fee.

RoboKiller

RoboKiller relies on a database of more than a billion analyzed calls to track and identify spam telephone numbers. It uses proprietary audio fingerprint technology and machine learning to block spam calls before they even ring to your phone. Instead you’ll see a banner notification letting you know a spam call was blocked.

RoboKiller also makes it fun to deal with spammers. It uses answer bots to send spam calls to recordings designed to annoy the caller. You can even listen to the recordings of these calls later if you like.

RoboKiller is free to download but requires a paid subscription for service. There are different levels of paid membership, ranging from $2.99 to $39.99. You can try RoboKiller free for seven days before you commit.

How to Stop Spam Calls With Your Phone Carrier

If you have your mobile service through one of the major U.S. carriers, you’re in luck. Each offers free and paid versions of spam blocking tools to keep unwanted calls at bay.

AT&T ActiveArmor?

ActiveArmor? is an app-based suite of security features AT&T offers its mobile customers. Among these is the option to block spam calls and send them straight to voicemail. It also automatically blocks calls from suspected fraudsters and sends unknown calls to voicemail, too.

There is a free version of the service along with a premium option that costs $3.99 per month per line. Premium gets you all the free services plus reverse number lookup and caller ID.

Download ActiveArmor? from the App Store or Google Play.

Verizon Call Filter

This app detects spam calls and automatically blocks known high-risk callers. The service also lets you set the level of filtering based on your preferences. You can choose from high-risk only, high and medium risk, or all risk levels. You can also add known numbers to a safe list and block all unknown phone numbers that use an area code and prefix similar to yours.

Call Filter is free to download and use. There is also a premium version called Call Filter Plus that includes Caller ID, spam lookup, a personal block list, and more. Premium service costs $3.99 per month per line or $10.99 per month for plans that include three or more lines.

Call Filter is available on Google Play and the App Store.

T-Mobile Scam Shield™

Scam Shield™ is T-Mobile’s app that gives users the ability to block calls from identified scam sources, report suspicious callers, and add them to a global database. There is also an allow list you can populate to ensure specific numbers always ring through.

Scam Shield™ is free to download and use. You can opt for Scam Shield Premium for $4 per month per line. This will let you manage your block list, send calls directly to voicemail, block by category, look up numbers you don’t recognize, and automatically have voicemails texted to you.

Go to the App Store or Google Play to download Scam Shield™.

How to Stop Spam Calls With Call-Blocking Devices

If you want to block spam callers on your landline, a call-blocking device may be your best bet. There are two ways to do this. You can buy a handset that has the technology built in or add an external device to the phone line.

Here is our top choice for each.

Handset with built-in spam blocking technology – AT&T DL72210

This cordless phone has three built-in features that make it a good option for managing spam calls on your landline.

There is a large Call Block button front and center on the handset that lets you ignore and block any call when it comes through. It just takes one click to rid yourself of an unwanted number forever.

The phone also includes a smart blocking feature that works by comparing numbers in your saved phonebook to every incoming number. If there’s a match, the call comes through. If the incoming number isn’t recognized or the caller can’t be identified via caller ID, additional screening takes place.

There are two modes you can set.

Screen Robot mode requires the caller to press # before the call rings through. If they don’t, the call is automatically rejected.

Screen Profile mode ups the ante and requires the caller to record their name, then press # to get their call through. If they do, you’ll hear the recorded message when you answer and can choose to answer the call and add the number to your phonebook, send the call to voicemail, or block the number.

The AT&T DL72210 costs $59.99 for two handsets from Best Buy.

External spam call blocking device – CPR V5000

This is a call blocker device you plug in to your landline. It relies on a database of 5,000 pre-programmed known spam and nuisance numbers to identify and automatically block unwanted calls. You can block an additional 1,500 numbers.

Blocking a call is easy to do with the giant red Block Now button located in the middle of the device face. When an unwanted call comes in, you press the button and the call is declined and blocked. If you miss or accidentally answer a spam call, you can use the Call List button to scroll through the last 20 received calls and block the number, too.

You must have Caller ID service enabled on your landline for devices like this to work. The CPR V5000 costs $89.99 on Amazon.

How to Stop Spam Calls With VoIP

Many people have given up traditional landline service in favor of VoIP for their residential calling needs. If you’re using VoIP for your home phone service, you’ll likely have spam call management features built-in. The key is knowing where to find these options and how to activate them.

If your VoIP service is through your internet service provider, visit the provider’s website to see if spam call blocking is available and how to enable the feature. Here’s how to manage spam calls on some of the top independent VoIP residential service providers.

Google Voice

Google Voice offers a few different ways to identify and block spam calls. If Google thinks an incoming call is spam, it will mark the call with a warning message.

To block that number, go to your call history and choose the call that is suspected spam. The warning banner will appear in the call details. Select Confirm spam. Going forward, any calls or messages from this number will be sent directly to your spam folder.

You can also block all known spam numbers. Open your Voice app. Tap Menu (three lines) > Settings. Look for the Filter spam option under Security and toggle it ON. This will automatically block any number Google has previously confirmed as spam and send it straight to your Spam folder.

To block any individual number, open your Voice app, then go to Messages, Calls, or Voicemail. Open the item you want to block, then select More options (three dots) > Block number > Block.

Ooma

You must have an Ooma Premier subscription to use these features. Log into your Ooma account and go to Preferences > Call Blocking. There you will find all the different options you have for dealing with spam calls. You can set parameters for all of the following services:

  • Custom call blocking
  • Suspected spammer call blocking
  • Known spammer call blocking
  • Anonymous call blocking

Vonage

When a suspicious call comes in on your Vonage VoIP home service, the word SPAM? Is displayed on the caller ID. You have three options for managing these calls.

  • Block all incoming SPAM? calls
  • Send incoming SPAM? calls directly to voicemail
  • Allow SPAM? calls to ring through

To set up preferences for all of these options, sign into your Vonage account, navigate to the Summary tab, and go to the Features & Settings section. On the Calling Features tab in that section, find the Features & Settings area and click the Edit link on the Spam Call Block line. From there you can select how you want spam calls to be handled.

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