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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to stop robocalls: Recommended procedures and apps that stop that annoying tinkle

How to stop robocalls: Recommended procedures and apps that stop that annoying tinkle



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AT & T & # 39; s Call Protect stops unwanted calls. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Robocalls are about to meet their competition. These are the unbridled, uncomfortable and sometimes glowing phone calls that convey a pre-recorded message and often encourage you to do something. For example, you roping in a free trip to the Bahamas that you have never requested, or a call that misleads you into giving information to "the IRS". In 201

9 alone there were more than 58 billion robocalls according to YouMail. Now the American government and leading technology companies are attacking the practice and there are measures you can take now.

On the executive side, President Trump recently signed the Traced Act into the law, a two-party law. piece of legislation that gives government and law enforcement agencies more power to dismantle robocalls by targeting the perpetrators. In particular, the traced law extends the statute of law enforcement restrictions to go after bad actors, increases fines, and requires telephone companies to verify calls and determine whether the telephone number you are calling is genuine. For its part, the FCC has previously approved a proposal that allows carriers to block spam calls more aggressively.

On the ground, wireless network networks use SHAKEN / STIR technology to identify and block spam calls, not only on their own respective networks, but also between telephone providers. Apple has even added a feature to iOS 13 that allows you to stop all unknown callers from ever ringing your phone. And Google announced that the Call Screen feature will soon start routing suspected spam calls to Google Assistant before your phone even rings.

It will take some time before the FCC proposal is implemented, and it will take time for the traced law to enter into force in all agencies and telephone providers, so don't expect you & # 39; dramatic decrease in unwanted calls.

Also keep in mind that not every automated call is considered illegal. Calls to political campaigns, collections & # 39; s and charities are all allowed. What is not allowed are the calls from the fake IRS agents or the companies claiming that you have won a free vacation that you have never signed up for.

Although it is not possible to end robocalls to reach your phone, there are some steps you can take to reduce the number of received calls.

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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.
  • Do not answer calls from numbers that you do not recognize.
  • Just because an incoming call comes from a local number, this does not mean that this is the case.
  • Do not respond to questions that can be answered with a "Yes".
  • If someone calls you and claims to be at XYZ company, hang up and call the company itself. Use the company's website to find an official number.
  • If you answer a call and hear a recording such as "Hello, can you hear me?" just hang up.
  • The same applies to a call where you are asked to press a number before you are connected to a representative.

When you answer a call and use the voice prompt or by pressing a number, the spammer tells you that your number is real. They can then sell your number to another company or target your number more often.

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Apple soon promises to lock robocalls from your iPhone.


Josh Miller / CNET

When it was first introduced, Google & # 39; s Screen Call Screen demonstrably contradicted the FCC's advice by answering and communicating the Robocall on your behalf. However, Google has added new features to the Call Screen for its Pixel telephone line. The new features include the ability to detect robo and spam calls and then prevent them from ever reaching your phone. Google Assistant will communicate with the caller and if the conversation is legitimate, it will send the conversation to your phone along with information about the caller.

Apple's iOS 13 has added many new features, including Silence Unknown Callers which adds the option to route calls from unknown numbers directly to voicemail. With the function enabled, Siri allows calls from numbers in Contacts, Mail and Messages to be processed. Everything else goes to voicemail and assuming that the caller is legitimate, they can leave a message. And that's the problem – we often receive important calls from numbers that we don't store on our phones, and you may end up missing important calls. But if all else fails and you are desperate to stop robocalls, this is a valid option.

If you notice that you receive a lot of spam messages, you can forward the message to number 7726 (SPAM spells). It will not block the number to text you immediately, but it will allow your provider to see where it is coming from and end it.

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Call screening is part of the Pixel 3.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Contact your provider

All four major wireless providers offer customers a kind of call blocking function. Some are free, while others ask for something that should be free.

  • The Call Protect app from AT&T 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 number recognition for unknown numbers and offers mobile security features that are not related to robocalls. The premium version of Call Protect costs $ 3.99 per month.
  • The Call Filter app from Verizon is automatically enabled for Android users with a postpaid subscription. The service offers spam detection, a spam filter and the possibility to report free numbers. You can pay $ 2.99 per month (or $ 7.99 per month for three or more service lines) for number recognition, spam search, and a personal blocking and spam list. Call filter is built into most Android devices (which you are probably asked to do) but is also available in the App Store for iOS users.
  • The Scam ID of T-Mobile is free for all customers and includes Scam Blok. The ID part of the service alerts you that an incoming call is probably spam, while Scam Block prevents the call from ever reaching your phone. You must activate the Block function either via the Scam Block app or by calling # 662 # from your phone. You can pay $ 4 for Name ID to see the names of incoming callers.
  • Sprint & # 39; s Screen Screener Basic was recently launched, with the company finally offers a free solution for its subscribers . The free version displays "Spam Caller" for potential incoming spam calls, and also blocks "highest-risk" spam calls and displays a business caller ID. The Premium version costs $ 3 per month and adds more labels for robocalls, caller ID for incoming calls, display name for text messages on Android and a few more options that you can read more about here.

Contact your wireless provider to see if they offer a similar service.

Use a third-party app

If your provider does not offer an app or service to cut down on robocalls, or it is simply too expensive, there are numerous third-party apps available. You want to find an app that works on your device, offer automatic call blocking and spam notification for suspicious calls, and easily report a number if a call slips.

Hiya is a free app that I have used on Android and iOS for some time now with success. It is the same company that controls AT&T's Call Protect app, as well as Samsung's built-in call block and spam protection service. Samsung Galaxy users can enable the built-in service in the Phone app under Settings > Caller ID and Spam protection . The installation is painless and offers an easy way to report a number.

Nomorobo is the service that Verizon uses for its Fios users, but also has a phone app. The service is free for VoIP users and costs $ 2 per month for mobile users. Additional services that offer comparable options are YouMail and RoboKiller.

  hiya-ios "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/pN3WjQ9Myn6vUkeWoT6gxZLH_Gc=/2019/05/15/8f746d5d-08a0-47c1- 9f7a-f677e63c62d5 / hiya-9090.jpg.jpg ] hiya-ios

Hiya offers powerful call screening. Jason Cipriani / CNET

The Firewall app is only available on the iPhone ($ 699 with Amazon) and can make fantastic calls from your phone. If you need to make calls for which you prefer not to use your real phone number, the $ 4 per month subscription offers an unlimited number of fake single-use phone numbers.

Another option is to sign up for a free Google Voice phone number. Instead of giving your real number for random services, you can then use your Google Voice number. Use the blocking function as soon as the robot calls arrive. Just know that blocking calls can be a lot of work because robo callers are constantly forging different phone numbers.

None of the above solutions is perfect and will probably not be until providers integrate the required technology to check for number recognition, so now you have to do some extra work to minimize the number of robocalls you receive. 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 that you receive on your phone.

Carriers have started using SHAKEN / STIR technology to verify 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, at the potential cost of sending calls from doctor's offices and the like to voicemail. And for those with a Pixel phone, Google's Screen Call feature will certainly help if not entertain you.

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<p>  <em> This article was originally published in 2018 and is regularly updated. </em></p>
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