Burton Kelso, Tech Expert
How To Stop Robocalls and Spam Calls on Your Mobile Phone and Landline
During most of 2020, robocalls came to a screeching halt, but now these scam calls have come back with a vengeance. It doesn't matter if you receive calls about your car's warranty, your late payments to the IRS, or the fact that your computer has been infected with a deadly virus, they only have one goal and that is to trick you out of your hard-earned money. The reason these calls continue is that they are pretty successful. Research company Statista reported that Americans lost up to $20 billion dollars to scammy phone calls in 2020. I'm sure you think there isn't anything you can do to stop these annoying calls, but there are some very easy steps you can take to give you a break from scammers.
1. Be very cautious with whom you share your number with. To cut down on the number of scam calls, guard your phone number. When you hand out your landline or mobile number, you never know who your number will be shared with. Your number can wind up in the wrong hands if you share it with a business you trust and they share it with marketing firms. Your phone number can also be obtained in a company data breach which is then dumped on the dark web for any scammer to get. Criminals can also get your phone number if you share it on a company website and even your social media accounts. If you want to have a 'public' number, set up a Google Voice account (www.google.com/voice). This service allows you to create a virtual number (and voicemail) which you can share with others without the risk of having your main number fall into the hands of scammers.
2. Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry list. Although it's not foolproof and won't stop calls from scammers, you should take a minute to make sure you're on the Do Not Call Registry list by visiting www.donotcall.gov. You can choose to add your landline or your mobile phone. When you sign up, it can take up to 30 days for it to take effect, so be patient. Doing this will stop telemarketing companies from calling you. Even after you sign up, you may still get calls from charities and businesses that you've worked with within the past. If this happens, you will have to verbally ask them to be removed from their list.
3. Block those unwanted calls. If you own an Android or an iPhone, you can check out awesome features that will halt those annoying calls.
Android users, just follow these steps:
Go to Settings.
Then, tap on Block numbers.
Toggle the Block unknown callers button to enable the feature.
Now, you won’t have to worry about frustrating notifications clogging up your phone screen.
iPhone users: Take advantage of the 'Silence Unknown Callers' tool. Your phone has to have iOS 13 or 14. This feature will block numbers that aren’t in your contacts list. to turn it on, do the following:
Go to Settings.
Then, tap on Phone.
Scroll down and select Silence Unknown Callers.
4. Use the tools available from your mobile carrier. If you own a smartphone, the best way to stop robocalls is to see what options your mobile phone provider can offer. Here is what each one offers:
AT&T. If you use AT&T, you can download the free 'AT&T Call Protect app'. You can manually
Verizon. If you’re a Verizon user, check out the 'Call Filter app'. They also offer paid solutions if the app doesn't take care of those annoying calls.
T-Mobile & Sprint. Check out the ScamShield app for your devices.
5. Download an app. If none of the above tricks work, there are some apps you can download. One of the best products to use is Robokiller (www.robokiller.com). Promising to block 99% of spam calls, you get the added bonus of having actor/rapper Ice T answer your calls as well as other answer bots that make it entertaining to see scammer get frustrated when they call you.
There is no foolproof way to eliminate scams and robocalls because criminals are constantly changing their tactics to reach out and touch you and your wallet. If you use the steps listed above you, they are a great way to eliminate those unnecessary calls which will keep you safe from falling for the latest phone hoax.
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