Spam calls have been a nuisance for years, especially in the United States and Robocalls are the No. 1 complaint to the FCC. Only this year Americans are expected to receive more than 52 billion automatic calls, according to YouMail, a company that specializes in blocking them. You’ve probably received one – or several hundred – annoying spam calls in the past, and it doesn’t matter if you have iPhone or an Android phone or other. These “fraudulent” calls are intrusive with equal opportunities. Verizon customers even report receiving phishing text messages from their own phone numbers this spring.

While the phone number you are calling may seem real, automated calls are anything but authentic. These annoying calls leave disturbing messages pretending to be your bank, IRS or other agency. They can lead to scams that try to take you away from your money or register you for unwanted services. No matter what the calls say, one thing is for sure: they have to stop.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission aimed to tackle the problem of robotic calls by requiring major wireless operators to start using Stir / Shaken technology. Stir / shake checks all incoming and outgoing calls for wireless operators which are routed through their networks. By checking each call, operators can reduce the number of fake or fake calls. But it stops automatic calls only once – that’s not all. You may still receive spam calls for free travel or fake notifications that your student loan is overdue.

Read more: CNET interview with FCC President Jessica Rosenvorsel

You can read more about Stir / shake here. As the FCC continues its crusade, keep reading this story about things you can do to reduce the number of rings on your phone during the day with calls from potential fraudsters.

How to minimize annoying calls

According to the FCCThere are a few easy steps you can take to help reduce robotics:

  • Do not answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
  • Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize.
  • Don’t assume that an incoming call is really from a local number just because it looks like it.
  • Do not answer “Yes” questions.
  • If someone calls you and claims to be from XYZ, hang up and call the company yourself. Use the company’s website to find an official number.
  • If you still answer the call and hear a recording like “Hello, can you hear me?” Just hang up.
  • The same goes for a call where you have to press a number before contacting a representative.

When you answer a call and interact with the voice prompt or by pressing a number, this allows spammers to know that your number is real. They can then sell your number to another company or start targeting your number more often.

When you first start, Google Call Screen this feature may conflict with FCC advice by responding to and interacting with the automated call on your behalf. However, Google has added new features to the Call Screen for his Selection of Pixel phones. The feature can now detect automatic calls and spam calls and block them before they reach you. Google Assistant will interact with the caller and, if it determines that the call is legitimate, will direct the call to your phone.

Apple’s iPhone there is an option to Silencing unknown callerswhich adds the option to route calls from numbers not in your Contacts, Mail, or Messages directly to voicemail. All legitimate callers can leave a message. But that’s the problem: we often receive important calls from numbers we don’t store on our phones, such as a doctor’s office or service center, so you can miss important calls this way. But if all else fails and you are desperately trying to stop robotic calls, this is a valid option.

If you find that you receive a lot of spam text messages, you can forward the message on number 7726 (which says “spam”). This will not prevent the number from sending you a message immediately, but it will allow your operator to check where it is coming from and end it.

Google Pixel phone call screen feature

Call screening is a feature of Google’s Pixel phones.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Check with your wireless carrier

All four major wireless carriers offer some kind of call barring feature. All have a free option and a first class level. But let’s be honest, all robot blocking services should be free. This should not be a way for carriers to make some money from us.

  • AT&T call protection the application is available for iOS and Android. The free version blocks spam and fraudulent calls and provides inconvenience warning labels and a personal block list and you can block all unknown callers. Call Protect Plus runs $ 4 per month online, with the added benefit of caller ID for unknown numbers, reverse number lookup and customized call controls.
  • Verizon Call Filter the application is automatically activated for Android users on a subscription basis. The service offers spam detection, spam filter, call log for blocked or spam calls, the ability to allow calls from specific numbers (iOS only) and the option to report numbers for free. You can pay $ 3 per month (or $ 8 per month for three or more service lines) to identify the caller, search for spam, personal block list, and measure the risk of spam. The call filter is built-in most Android devices out of the box (which you were probably prompted for), but is also available in App Store for iOS users.
  • Scam Shield on T-Mobile is free for all customers and includes many features designed to protect you from automatic calls and sharing of your personal information. Dial # 662 # from your phone to turn on Scam Block, or download the free Scam Shield app at the appropriate app store on your phone. With Scam Shield enabled, you will receive full caller identification, fraud reporting, fraud blocking before your phone rings and the option to mark numbers as favorites so they still ring on your phone.

Use a different wireless carrier? I suggest you call customer support or visit his website to see if he offers such a service.

Using iPhone XS Firewall

The firewall uses a new approach to stop spam and automatic calls from reaching your phone.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use a third-party application to limit the number of automatic calls you receive

If your provider does not offer an application or service to reduce robotic calls or does, but it is too expensive, there are many third-party applications available. You want to find an app that works on your device, offers automatic call blocking and spam notifications for suspicious calls, and makes it easy to report a number if the call goes away.

Hello is a free app that I have been using for Android and iOS for some time with success. It is from the same company that powers AT & T’s Call Protect app, as well as Samsung’s built-in call blocking and spam service. Samsung Galaxy owners can activate the built-in service in the Phone under app Settings > Caller ID and Spam protection. The setup is painless and offers an easy way to report a number.

Nomorobo is a service that Verizon uses for its Fios users, but it also has a phone app. The service is free for VoIP users and costs $ 2 per month for mobile users. Additional services with similar capabilities include YouMail and RoboKiller.

Use the Hiya app on iPhone

Hiya offers stable call screening.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

IN Firewall application is only available on the iPhone and does a fantastic job of blocking calls. In case you need to make a call for which you prefer not to use your real phone number, the $ 4 per month subscription provides an unlimited number of fake one-time phone numbers.

Another option is to register for free Google Voice phone number which you can use to sign up for things instead of giving your real number – and once automatic calls start coming to that number in Google Voice, use the blocking feature. Just know that blocking calls can end up being a lot of work, as robocallers are constantly falsifying different phone numbers.

None of the above solutions are perfect, but they complement the integration of the operator’s technology, which is now needed to verify the falsification of the caller’s ID. So you need to do extra work right now to minimize the number of automatic calls you receive. Between being wary of calls from unknown numbers and using a service (paid or free), you can reduce the amount of unwanted calls and spam you have to deal with.

In short, carriers began to use Stir / Shaken technology to check callerswhich has not significantly reduced the number of automatic calls we all receive so far. So for those with an iPhone, find out where the setting for blocking unknown callers is, but keep in mind that using it can mean that you miss calls from doctor’s offices and the like. And for those with a Pixel phone, Google Call Screen feature it will certainly help you and may even entertain you.

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