The United States has a robotic call problem. This is the call made to your phone that delivers a preset message that often wants you to do something. Sometimes it is a message from a candidate running in the office. Or a call from your bank announces a new service. More worried are the scammy robocalls – posing, saying, like "IRS" – intending to bluff people out of their money. On Wednesdaysuggested that operators like Verizon, AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile would have the power to block some of these robocalls by default and allow customers to block calls from unknown numbers.
It will be time before Pai's proposal becomes official ̵1; provided it does – and even longer before the carriers can implement the changes.
Not all automatic call requests are considered illegal. Calls from political campaigns, fundraisers and charities are all allowed. What is not allowed is the calls from the false IRS agents or the companies that claim you won a free vacation to the Bahamas.
It is not possible to completely shut down robokals from reaching your phone. There are a few steps you can take to reduce the number of calls you receive.
According to the FCC, there are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce robo rooms:
- Do not answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
- Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize.
- If someone calls you and claims that you are with XYZ companies, post and call the company yourself. Use the company's website to find an official number.
- If you answer a call and hear a recording like "Hello, can you hear me?" Just hang it up.
- The same thing applies to a call where you are asked to press a number before they are connected to a representative.
When answering a call and interacting with the voice prompt or by pressing a number, the spammer lets you know that your number is correct. They can then sell your number to another company, or start targeting your number more often.
Perhaps the Google Call Screen feature is against the FCC's advice, because you not only respond to robocall, but there is interaction with the caller from your phone number, which is likely to result in more calls to your number. Although Google's Call Screen feature is incredibly fun and entertaining to use, if you don't know the phone number is legit – it's best not to answer.
If you have a lot of spam messages, you can forward the message to number 7726 (spam spells). It will not block the number from texting you directly, but it will allow your operator to look from where it came from and stop it.
Check with your supplier
Telephone companies know how frustrating robo callers are to their customers and have taken steps to help users block annoying calls on their systems. For example, the AT&T Call Protect app is available for Android and iOS users. Once the app is installed and configured, AT&T tries to block fraudulent calls, alert for suspicious spam calls, and allow you to block unwanted calls from a particular number for free. Verizon's Call Filter app is free for basic spam detection, spam filters and the ability to block numbers.
Both operators offer a premium version of their apps that have more advanced call control features, such as reverse number lookups, but they require a monthly subscription.
Contact your service provider to see if similar features are available.
Use an app!
If your provider does not offer an app or service to cut robocalls, or it is just too expensive, there are many third-party applications.
You want to find an app that works on your device, offers automatic call blocking and junk alerts for suspicious calls and has the ability to easily report a number if a call is passing through.
Hiya is a free app I have used on Android and iOS for some time now with Success. It's the same company that runs AT & T's Call Protect app, as well as Samsung's built-in phone blocks and spam protection. Samsung Galaxy users can enable the embedded service in the Phone app under Settings > Caller ID and Spam Protection . Setup is painless and it provides an easy way to report a number.
Nomorobo is the service Verizon uses for its Fios users, but it also has a phone app. The service is free for VoIP users and costs $ 1.99 per month for mobile users. Additional services offering similar features include YouMail and RoboKiller.
Another option is to register a free Google Voice phone number. Instead of giving out your real number for random services, you can then use your Google Voice number – and when the Robots begin to enter, use the block feature. Just knowing that blocking calls can stop being a lot of work, because robocallers are constantly spoofing different phone numbers.
None of the above solutions are perfect and likely it will not be until the operators integrate the technology required to control dial-up dialing, so now you have to do some extra work to keep the number of robokals you get to a minimum. Between being proactive with unknown calls to your number and using a service (paid or free), you can reduce the number of unwanted calls and spam you receive on your phone.
Originally published July 13, 2018.