Getting Rid of Robocalls

FCC estimates that half of all phone calls in 2019 will be spam...
(Pixabay photo)

If you think the volume of robocalls is increasing, you are correct. The FCC estimates that half of all phone calls in 2019 will be spam. Efforts by the carriers to stop them have been mostly ineffective, so it is up to individuals to stop the onslaught. And remember, this is not just an annoyance. The calls are usually scams and with income tax season upon us the scammers pretending to be IRS are at it again. If you do accidentally answer a scam call, hang up immediately and never, ever provide any information to the caller.

There is some merit to simply not answering calls from an unknown number. The problem is there are just so many of them. You can try to block calls from the unfamiliar number. That simply doesn’t work. The scammers have many numbers registered, and they just switch to another one. That alone suggests how ineffective telephone carriers have been in blocking robocalls at the source. Additional software is required.

One of the best ways to start is with your services provider. Both land line and mobile suppliers generally offer free spam blockers. On some sites free robocall blockers are easy to find; on others not so much. Do a web search “yoursupplier robocall blocker.” They should offer apps and the apps should be free. If not, ask why. Many of the apps only cover a specific type of device, just Android phones, for example. Others can be used on both a landline and mobile devices with the option of blocking unwanted texts as well as calls.

Do not settle for an app that makes you enter numbers. The app should automatically block known spam callers. And there’s the rub. The maker of the app must identify spam callers in order to block them. A few will get through, but a satisfying number are blocked.

On my cell phone I use AT&T’s proprietary app. It works just fine. The blocked spam calls show up on my calls list but the call itself does not ring. On my land line I’ve been using Nomorobo for several years. The call does ring once but then it’s automatically cut off and has no opportunity to leave a voice mail. I listen for the rings and get a warm fuzzy feeling when another spam call is shut off after the single ring. As long as the most persistent telemarketers dial individual calls those will get through. But you can stop the majority of unwanted calls.

These are not the only options, just the ones I’ve used and can recommend. I’d always encourage a search before you decide on any app. Search “best robocall blocker” or “best whatever.” When you search for “best” the results give you articles with reviews. Reading the reviews is highly recommended and will identify one or more options that have the features you need and have been tested and known to work well. If you don’t know the reputation of the recommending site itself, look at several. If the recommendations are similar, you can have a high degree of confidence in the option you choose.

Robocalls are a plague. Each one of us can stop them on our own devices. We should also take any opportunity to encourage the FCC and the telecommunications suppliers to do a better job of stopping them at the source.


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