It’s not your imagination that the phone is ringing a lot more often. Robocalls are increasing despite a record $225 Million FCC fine slapped on a telemarketer in March for transmitting 1 billion spoofed robocalls in less than 5 months.
The FCC says robocalls about car warranty offers are leading the complaints filed over the past year. A growing robocall scam is making millions of endless calls offering to sell extended car warranties.
Robocalls like these that try to sell you something are illegal. The clever tactics employed by robocalls is trapping countless victims using familiar information that makes it seem legit.
Some robocall spammers are tapping into public vehicle registration databases to learn your car’s make, model, year and the name and address on the state registration. Pretty sneaky.
Don’t fall for it. If in doubt, call your car dealer.
Here are my easy-to-follow steps to help you get a handle on blocking text spam and robocalls.
The #1 rule when you get a robocall
1) If you do not recognize the number or your phone carrier indicates “Spam Risk”, do not pick up.
2) Many robocallers these days use a local area code which is used to trick people into thinking it may be someone they know. If you pick up and you start to hear that automated recording, hang up immediately. Interacting may only verify that the robocaller has found a sucker and will continue to call.
3) Report the offending number listed on the caller id to the donotcall.gov site
Other Options for Blocking Robocalls:
Silence Unwanted Calls with your Phone Settings.
This blocks phone numbers that you’ve never called, texted or that are not saved in your contacts list. Calls from unrecognized numbers will go straight to voicemail and appear in your recent calls list without bothering you.
- To turn on Silence Unknown Callers:
- Click Settings
- Click Phone
- Tap Silence Unknown Callers and turn on.
- If a 911 call is placed, this feature is disabled for 24 hours so that emergency calls back to you can ring through.
- Tap Settings
- Click Block numbers
- Turn on the the Block Unknown Callers feature
Easiest Way to Block recent caller on iPhone
On an iPhone, tap the
Scroll to bottom of info screen and tap “Block this Caller”
Tap “Block Contact”
Activate Free Anti-Spam and Robocall Blocking from your wireless carrier
AT&T Call Protect is a free app for its customers that let you manually block unwanted calls. It also labels suspected robocalls as “spam risk” and works to block fraudulent calls on their network from reaching you. Get the free iOS app here and the Android app here.
Sprint/T-Mobile customers can download the Scam Shield app puts a “Scam Likely” caller ID label on suspected scammers, gives you controls for T-Mobile’s anti-scam protections including Scam ID, Scam Block and Caller ID for free. A useful feature gives you a second phone number that you can give out instead of your private phone number. Use this proxy number instead of your main number when shopping online etc to help weed out robocalls. Get the free Scam Shield app here.
Verizon Call Filter app gives you better control in blocking suspected scam calls, reporting robocalls that make it through to you and has a reverse number search feature for free. Download the free Verizon Call Filter app here.
Try Blocking Robocalls with 3rd party apps
Apps that kick it up a notch to help curb the annoying attacks of text spam and robocalls.
- RoboKiller: Spam Call Blocker
The app gets high scores but is not foolproof. It says it can reduce unwanted calls by over 90% in 30 days. Go for the free 7-day trial and if it works, then maybe it’s worth the spend. Android | iOS
- Call Blocker-Blacklist App for Android phones lets you filter out unwanted callers. It works when you add an offending caller to a blacklist. (Get it here)
- TrueCaller App is a good one for iOS (free)(Get it here)
- Close second pick is Hiya App (Get it here) to block unwanted calls and texts
- Nomorobo App – If you get your home phone through any variety of internet phone services unlike the hard wire from the phone company, you are in luck with an app that can prevent robocalls from getting through. So far Nomorobo is free for VoIP landlines, the mobile protection app is $1.99/mo. (Get it here)
- More apps covered here
And if all these tools don’t completely satisfy an overwhelming feeling to seek revenge, this robot lawyer just might.
Hire the world’s first robot lawyer to fight back.
Robo Revenge from the folks at the DoNotPay app can sue robocall spammers. It’s clever how it works by first giving you a burner credit card number to pass on to potential scammers. When the scammer attempts to use the fake credit card, their contact information is revealed as part of the transaction process. Robo Revenge then helps put the forms together for you to sue the robocall operator up to $3,000. Learn about Robo Revenge here.
As spammers keep on getting smarter and smarter, if you tried the above and it didn’t help, you may want to try some new ways here:
How to block spam texts on an iPhone
- Open the Messages app on your iPhone and then the message from the number you want to block
- Tap the number or contact name at the top of the conversation
- Tap Info
- Scroll down and tap Block this Caller
How to block spam texts on an Android
- Open the messaging app on your Android device
- Find the spam message you want to block
- Tap and hold the message until a menu appears
- Look for an option like Block or Spam and select it
- Confirm you want to block future messages from that sender
Settings may vary depending on your Android phone’s manufacturer
How to keep spammers from getting your phone number
Regrettably, there is a high probability that your phone number is readily available on many lists sold by data brokers to hundreds of people search websites. However, if you remove it from the web it can reduce the likelihood of spammers and telemarketers obtaining your number and contacting you.
A data removal service like OneRep can help you remove personal information including cell phone number as well as your sensitive personal information such as your name, age, home address, email addresses, your family members, other people associated with you, your income range, credit score range, political preferences, criminal records, and much more.
OneRep has a very clean interface and will scan 195+ websites for your information and remove it …and keep it removed. Go ahead and try entering your information just to get a sense of the information that is out there about you.
Special for CyberGuy Readers: OneRep offers a 5-day free trial and then charges $7.49/month for one person on their monthly plan or $13.99/month for your family (up to 6 people) on their annual plan. I recommend the family plan because it works out to only $2.30 per person per month for year-round coverage. It’s an excellent service, and I highly recommend at least doing the free trial to see what it’s all about.
More ways to take back your privacy:
- How Your Security Camera Can Be Hacked
- How to Stop Amazon from Sharing Your Internet with Neighbors
- Best Alternatives to Big Tech Beast Google
- Map buried inside your phone reveals where you have been and photos you snapped there
- How to Give Ring a Quick Privacy Checkup
- Don’t make this one mistake when getting rid of your old phone
- Working from Home? How Your Boss May Be Watching You
- Real-life Spy Catcher Sweeps My House and Finds Everything