Robocallers have gotten out of control — here's how you can stop them
My phone blew up. It's not because I'm incredibly popular, although I'd like to tell people why. No, robocallers took over my phone instead.
I get at least three to four robocalls every afternoon, and for someone who doesn't use the phone often - I usually text or video - that's a lot. If someone asks me to discuss my car's extended warranty again, I can explode. When it isn't, I think about cruises or when I want to do a poll on a politician. Plus, they always seem to know when I'm going to have lunch, dinner, or already on the phone.
According to the robocall blocking app YouMail, the number of robocalls has apparently decreased in 2020 as fewer callers occupy call centers due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, they are back on the upswing. After a decrease from around 4.8 billion calls per month in February 2020 to 2.9 billion calls per month in April 2020, robocalls have increased again to 4 billion calls per month from January 2021 onwards.
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Fortunately, there are ways to limit and even eliminate robocalls. Whether you are using free apps from your carrier, downloading third-party apps with increased security, or adjusting system settings on your Android phone or iPhone, these are the best ways to keep Robocaller from harassing you on a daily basis.
Apps provided by the network operator
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, the parent company of Yahoo Finance, each have their own free apps for Android and iOS that are used to monitor and block spam and robo calls.
The AT&T (T) Call Protect app offers spam and robocall blocking, allows you to create a blacklist and send unknown numbers to voicemail. An updated version is free to monthly subscribers and is available for $ 3.99 per month. It offers reverse number lookup and the ability to choose whether to send different categories of robocalls such as marketing or polling calls to Voicemail.
The T-Mobile (TMUS) Scam Shield app is free for all customers and blocks spam and robocalls before your phone even rings, as well as spam texts. You also get full access to caller ID for spam numbers and can block categories of calls ranging from telemarketing and political calls to jail calls and surveys.
T-Mobile's Scam Shield is a free service for all T-Mobile subscribers. (Image: T-Mobile)
Verizon's (VZ) call filtering app is free to monthly and prepaid plan users and allows you to review incoming calls, send calls directly to voicemail, and report numbers as spam. Call Filter Plus, meanwhile, costs $ 2.99 per month and offers caller ID information for unknown numbers. You can create your own blacklist and view the risk level of incoming calls.
Third party apps
There are also a number of third-party robocall blocking options that are slightly more functional than the free offers offered by vendors.
Nomorobo is a $ 1.99 per month app that either identifies robocalls or blocks them entirely. You can also search for numbers and add them to a blacklist.
YouMail is another Robocall blocking app. A free version has the occasional ads but stops your spam calls and gives you a nifty voicemail app for text-to-speech. For $ 3.99 per month, you can drop the ads and get unlimited voicemail.
Both Google's Android and Apple's iOS offer built-in anti-spam options. In both operating systems, you can block calls from unknown numbers through the appropriate settings menus. If you rarely get unknown calls, this is a great feature. However, when you receive calls from people you don't know, such as B. for work, this is likely a no-go.
You can also identify individual spam numbers as such in order to block them permanently. However, spam creators often change their numbers so it doesn't always help.
There is also a national Do Not Call Register which you can register for free at www.donotcall.gov.
One little trick I've picked up is never to answer the phone and say hello. This will start the Robocall automatically. If you answer and say "This is Dan Howley" - but use your name - Robocall will not know when to contact you for an extended vehicle warranty.
It doesn't eliminate the problem of receiving spam calls, but you don't have to listen to them.
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Do you have a tip? Email Daniel Howley at email@example.com via encrypted email to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.
More from Dan:
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