How to stop robocalls and spam calls on your iPhone or Android phone
- You can stop
spam callsand robocallsby blocking numbers on Androidor using Do Not Disturb on iPhone.
- To stop spam calls and report telemarketers, you can join the National Do Not Call Registry.
- To screen and block spam calls, you can also use your phone carrier or download a third-party app.
Robocalls just won't go away. Try as you might to ignore the ring of telemarketers, the spam always seems to return, no matter what you do.
While the Federal Communications Commission has beefed up its own policies around spam and robocalls, it's still mostly on you to stop these annoyances.
Whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, here's how you can block spam calls and robocalls for good.
Latest research: An Insider survey in February 2021 found that 46% of Americans say they receive spam calls on their cell phone every single day.
How to stop robocalls and protect against scams
- Don't pick up calls from unknown or unrecognized numbers. Answering robocalls confirms to spammers that your number is real, which may result in more calls. If you pick up accidentally, hang up immediately.
- Never give out personal information. Even if the caller says they are from a government agency or trusted institution, don't ever give out social security numbers, bank accounts, passwords, or any other information.
Block individual numbers on Android
To block a number on Android, tap and hold the number in your recent calls list until a menu appears. Then select whatever variation of "Block/Report Spam" is available.
Any phone with the Android 11 update now has access to expanded robocall identification and prevention that helps call-screening apps more effectively sort out robocalls from real ones.
Block specific numbers on iPhone
To block a phone number on your iPhone, locate the robocall number on your Phone app's Recent calls list. Next, tap the "i" icon to the right of the number and select "Block Contact" from the options list.
Use Do Not Disturb on iPhone
Beyond blocking numbers, iPhone users have another line of defense: "Do Not Disturb" mode. When enabled, your phone won't ring or notify you about incoming calls - except for those you specifically allow.
Click the "Do Not Disturb" option in Settings and tap the feature's toggle to turn it green. Then, in the "Allow Calls From" menu, choose "All Contacts" to make sure no unknown numbers get through.
Let your phone carrier block spam calls
Most cell phone carriers have a number of free or low-cost tools available to help you automatically block robocalls and protect you from spam.
- AT&T: The Call Protect app blocks both potential spam and fraud calls, while also offering nuisance warnings labels. You also have access to a personal spam-blocking list and the ability to block any unknown callers.
- Sprint/T-Mobile: T-Mobile - which now owns Sprint - offers Scam Shield, a free service that blocks any calls from numbers the carrier has recognized as a nuisance. Just dial #ONB# (#662#) from your phone to turn it on, or download it in the app store.
- Verizon: Call Filter offers spam detection and filtering, a blocked call log, and the ability to report a spam call. It's free for customers, with the premium version, Call Filter Plus, priced at just $2.99 each month for a single line or $7.99 a month for 3 or more lines.
Quick tip: If your carrier isn't listed above, call their customer service line to find out what robocall and spam-blocking tools they have available.
Join the National Do Not Call Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry takes you off of the public lists that telemarketers use to make their mass calls.
While joining won't stop charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys from contacting you, it may reduce the number of spam calls you get. It also lets you report unwanted spam calls to the Federal Trade Commission.
You can register your number on the Do Not Call list at no cost by calling 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You can also do it online by following the steps below:
1. Go to DoNotCall.gov and hit the "Register" link.
2. Enter your phone number without hyphens (you can register three at a time, in fact) and your email address (for confirmation).
3. Go to your email and find the message from Register@donotcall.gov within 72 hours of your submission.
4. Follow the steps within the email to complete the registration process
Download a third-party robocall blocker app
Another way to stop robocalls is to and install a call-blocking app. Such apps actually intercept and answer calls for you, so they never ring through and annoy you, or expose you to a scam.
Many of these apps also actively collect data on spammers, blocking them permanently once they have been identified, so by using a robocall blocking app, you're helping not just yourself but other callers.
Here are two apps you can try that are available on iPhone and Android:
- Nomorobo costs just $1.99 per month, with a free version for VoIP landlines.
- RoboKiller costs $2.99 per month, and it comes with a truly delightful feature: it deploys its own bots who use carefully crafted pre-recorded messages to keep scam callers on the line as long as possible, wasting their time and preventing them from calling others.
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