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Home / Tips and Tricks / Android 11 will do more to stop robocalls. This is what you can do now

Android 11 will do more to stop robocalls. This is what you can do now



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Google's call screen lets scammers talk to a robot, not you.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Robocalls could soon be a thing of the past. You know, those annoying, uncomfortable and often glowing calls with a recorded message we all receive. In 201

9 alone, there were over 58 billion robocalls, according to YouMail. Sometimes the calls threaten to close your Social Security number because you owe money to the IRS or claim that a Microsoft employee is calling to let you know that your PC has a virus. My personal favorite is the lady who screams excitedly as soon as I answer the phone and informs me that I have won a free trip to the Bahamas . But with software protection such as the expansion of Android 11's robocall stop functions and the help of the US government and wireless providers, it is hopefully only a matter of time before robocalls come to an end.

executive side, last year President Trump signed the Traced Act a two-part piece of legislation that empowers government agencies and law enforcement officers to dismantle robocalls by targeting the perpetrators.

In particular, the Traced Act extends the statute of limitations for law enforcement officers to go after bad actors, increases sanctions, and requires telephone companies to verify calls and determine whether the phone number you are calling is genuine. The FCC of previously approved a proposal that allows providers to block spam calls more aggressively.

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AT & T & # 39; s Call Protect stops unwanted calls.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

On-site networks of wireless providers use SHAKEN / STIR technology to identify and block spam calls not only on their own respective networks, but also between telephone providers. Apple even added a feature to iOS 13 that allows you to prevent unknown callers from ever calling your phone. Google has extended the Call Screen feature to send suspicious spam calls to the Google Assistant before your phone even rings, and when Android 11 launches later this year, the robocall identification and prevention features expanded beyond the standard Android phone app.

It will take some time for the FCC's proposal to be implemented, and it will take a while for the Traced Act to take effect for all agencies and telephone providers, so don't expect a dramatic decrease in unwanted calling overnight.

Also keep in mind that not every automated call request is considered illegal. Calls from political campaigns, debt collection agencies and charities are all allowed. What's not allowed are the phone calls from the fake IRS agents or the companies claiming you won a free vacation that you never signed up for.

While it is not possible to completely prevent robocalls from reaching your phone, there are some steps you can take to reduce the number of calls received.

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Best practices for keeping annoying robocalls at bay

According to the FCC, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce robocalls:

  • Do not answer calls from blocked or unknown numbers.
  • Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize.
  • Don't assume that an incoming call really comes from a local number just because it looks like it is.
  • Do not respond to questions that can be answered with a "Yes".
  • If someone calls you and claims to be with XYZ, hang up 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 up.
  • The same goes for a call that asks you to enter a number before you are connected to a representative.

When you answer a call and communicate with the voice prompt or by pressing a number, spammers let you know that your number is genuine. They can then sell your number to another company or target your number more often.

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Apple promises to block robocalls from your iPhone soon.


Josh Miller / CNET

When it first launched, Google's Call Screen feature arguably went against the FCC's advice by answering and communicating with the robocall on your behalf. However, Google has added new features to Call Screen for its Pixel phone line-up. It can now detect and block robocalls and spam calls for you. The Google Assistant communicates with the caller, and if it determines that the call is legitimate, it routes the call to your phone.

Apple & # 39; s iOS 13 added plenty of new features, including Silence Unknown Callers that adds the option to forward calls from unknown numbers – numbers that don't get found in your contacts, email or Messages – straight to voicemail. Any legitimate caller can leave a message. And that's the problem: we often receive important calls from numbers that we don't store on our phones, so you can miss important calls this way. But if all else fails and you are desperate to stop robocalls, this is a valid option.

If you find yourself receiving a lot of spam text messages, you can forward the message to number 7726 (spells SPAM). It won't stop the number from texting you right away, but it will allow your carrier to see where it came from and put an end to it.

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Call screening is part of the Pixel 3.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Contact your carrier

All four major wireless providers offer some sort of call blocking feature. Some are free while others are not, but should be.

  • AT & T & # 39; s Call Protect app is available for iOS and Android. The free version blocks calls from "likely fraudsters" and labels telemarketing calls. You can also add numbers to a block list in the app. The paid version offers caller ID for unknown numbers and offers mobile security features unrelated to robocalls. The premium version of Call Protect costs $ 3.99 per month.
  • The Verizon Call Filter app is automatically enabled for Android users with a postpaid subscription. The service offers spam detection, a spam filter and the option to report toll-free numbers. You can pay $ 2.99 per month (or $ 7.99 per month for three or more lines) for caller ID, spam lookup, and a personal block and spam list. Call Filter is built-in to most Android devices (which you've probably been asked for) by default, but is also available in the App Store for iOS users.
  • T-Mobile & # 39; s Scam ID is free for all customers and includes Scam Block. The ID portion of the service alerts you that an incoming call is likely to be spam, while Scam Block blocks the call. You must activate the blocking feature either through the Scam Block app or by calling # 662 # from your phone. You can pay $ 4 for Name ID to see incoming caller names.
  • Sprint's Call Screener Basic recently launched, with Sprint finally offered a free option for its customers . The free version displays "Spam Caller" for potential incoming spam calls, and also blocks "Risky" spam calls and provides a Business Caller ID. The Premium version costs $ 3 per month and adds more labels for robocalls, caller ID for incoming calls, names along with text messages on Android and a few more options you can read about here.

Ask your wireless provider if it offers a similar service.

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Firewall offers a new approach to prevent spam and robocalls from ever reaching your phone.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use a third-party app

If your provider doesn't offer an app or service to reduce robocalls, but it is too expensive, there are plenty of third-party apps available. You want to find an app that works on your device, provides automatic call blocking and spam alerts for suspicious calls and makes it easy to report a number when a call comes in.

Hiya is a free app that I have been using successfully on Android and iOS for a while now. It's from the same company that powers AT&T's Call Protect app, as well as Samsung's built-in call blocking and spam protection service. Samsung Galaxy owners can enable the built-in service in the Phone app under Settings > Caller ID and Spam Protection . Setup is simple and 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 $ 2 per month for mobile users. Additional services with similar capabilities are YouMail and RoboKiller.

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Hiya offers robust call screening.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

The Firewall app is only available on iPhone ($ 699 from Apple) and does a great job of blocking calls. In case you need to call for which you prefer not to use your real phone number, the $ 4 per month plan offers unlimited one-time fake phone numbers.

Another option is to sign up for a free Google Voice phone number that you can use to sign up for things instead of entering your real number – and as soon as the robocalls start coming in on that Google Voice number, use the block feature. Just know that call blocking can be a lot of work as robocallers are constantly forging different phone numbers.

None of the above solutions are perfect, and probably not until providers integrate the technology needed to check for caller ID spoofing, so right now you need to do some extra work to limit the number of robocalls you receive to a minimum. By being careful with calls from unknown numbers and using a service (paid or free), you can reduce the number of unwanted calls and spam you deal with.

And again, providers use SHAKEN / STIR technology to authenticate callers which should reduce the number of robocalls we all receive. For those with an iPhone, the new feature of iOS 13 to block unknown callers will also help, against the potential cost of sending calls from doctors' offices and the like to voicemail. And for people with a Pixel phone, the Google Call Call feature will certainly help and maybe even entertain you.


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