How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls

Spam calls or robocalls are quite annoying and have plagued users for quite some time. However, with technology going further and further ahead, we are at a time when robocalls should cease to be a problem. However, most users still get interrupted by spam calls even today, and it’s usually hard to tell, which makes screening robocalls a near impossible task. This is why we’ve decided to help users figure out a way to put an end to robocalls or spam calls on their devices. As you would expect, there are several methods to achieve this, and we’re going to cover every avenue that can help users in the long run. So without waiting any further, let’s have a look at our list.

How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls

FCC’s new ruling

This is perhaps the best news to have come out of the FCC in recent times. The authority has unanimously voted to allow carriers the ability to block robocalls and spam calls from the source. Previously, even though carriers knew about it, they were forced to let the call go through. By setting up a screening process, the onus is now on individual network operators to enforce this action. Since this is a carrier dependent feature, we think this feature could take a while to rollout to the masses. But still, it’s good to know that the authorities are doing something about this menace.

Add your name in the Do Not Call Registry

This is perhaps the easiest way to stop receiving spam calls from telemarketers, and all you have to do is head over to the National Do Not Call Registry and sign up your name there. This will legally stop most robocalls from ever reaching your phone. Users who have already registered can check the status of their registration by heading over to the Verify My Registration section on the registry’s official website. This feature is available for both iPhone and Android users. While almost every country has its own version of the Do Not Call Registry, this particular method is only accessible to U.S. customers. The best part here is that you can also register your landline numbers so that they never receive spam calls again.

Call blocking apps for Android

This is yet another appealing option for those annoyed with robocalls on a regular basis. But which app should you get for your smartphone? Well, the list is quite long and can sometimes be confusing. So here are some of the best call blocking apps for your Android smartphone.

Nomorobo

This is a highly popular call blocking service that has been around since 2013. From that time, the app has helped customers dodge millions of shady robocalls. The developers have built an algorithm wherein robocallers are automatically identified. It is said that nearly 1,300 plus robocallers are identified each day. This means the app’s registry of unwanted callers is pretty huge and customers can definitely benefit greatly from it. The app also follows privacy protocols, by which we mean it stays away from your contacts or call logs at all times.

Given the popularity of this app in the marketplace, it’s no surprise that it’s also the winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge. It has an app for both Android and iPhones, thus offering the same protection for millions of users. Nomorobo is free to download on the Google Play Store, but continued usage will require an in-app purchase. The company offers all its features for free up to 14 days, following which the customer is required to sign up to a monthly subscription. Nomorobo works with smartphones running Android 4.1 and up.

Since Nomorobo only offers its services to a few carriers, you may encounter a situation wherein your carrier isn’t listed. In this case, the best recourse is porting your number with Google Voice and using it on Nomorobo. Getting a Google Voice number is completely free and shouldn’t take too much time.

Robokiller

Yet another extremely capable call blocking app, Robokiller also has some great credentials to talk about. The developers promise to cut down robocallers by 90% in 30 days, which is a steep promise, but thanks to the ever growing list of spam callers on Robokiller’s registry, this can definitely be achieved. Once you have Robokiller setup, it works fairly simply. All the blocked calls will appear on your call logs, so you can accurately understand how well the app is doing. The list of spam callers is updated regularly, so even if new spammers show up, it’s likely that the app will get to them.

The app comes with answer bots that respond to robocalls without you even knowing. As is the case with most call blocking app out there, Robokiller also requires a subscription to use. However, the developers are kind enough to offer a 7-day free trial for the app. Robokiller has featured on several publications in the past few years, so we won’t be surprised if you’re already using the app. As you would expect, this version of the app is free to download and has no ads or in-app purchases. Robokiller is a relatively new app, which means it requires devices running at least Android 5.0 on board.

Hiya

This is yet another highly capable call blocking app that can alleviate most of your key pain points with regards to robocalls. As you would imagine, the Hiya database is quite long and there are millions of blocked robocall numbers in their database that will help customers avoid them for good. While it comes with all the standard features like blocking calls or blacklisting contacts, spam numbers will be shown with a huge message on top, helping you avoid them for good. While this doesn’t automatically avoid spam numbers, it helps you understand who is calling you and take necessary action. Once you have received a spam call notification, it is recommended to block the number so that you are not bothered again.

Fortunately, Hiya is a free app, although much like any other call blocking app, there is a subscription plan here as well. However, there are no ads on board, so your experience shouldn’t be hindered in any way. The Hiya registry also lets you look for business numbers using the Business Search feature. This can help you find that local business you want to get in touch with. So as far as onboard features are concerned, it’s clear that Hiya is slightly better than most. However, the fact that it cannot automatically block calls remains a concern for many.

Truecaller

Truecaller is yet another highly popular app that has helped millions of users around the world block unwanted callers. This is a community based spam list, which means users are adding new numbers to the spam list each day. Truecaller has also evolved into being a social app thanks to chat features built right into the app. Similar to Hiya, Truecaller will notify users when the caller is registered on the spam list. Following this, it’s very easy to block the caller right from the notification you receive. Most of Truecaller’s feature are completely free to access, although the company does offer a premium version which adds features like call recording.

The company also has a Gold subscription offering which entitles you to priority support from the Truecaller team. Cloud features are well in place here as well, and you can transfer your call logs, contacts, as well as messages to the cloud using a variety of cloud services. The Truecaller app is free to download but comes with ads and in-app purchases. With over 100 million installs, it is undoubtedly one of the most popular call blocking apps out there.

Call Control

This is a neatly designed call blocking app designed to take feedback from customers and block them accordingly. There are several robocalls screened with Call Control on a daily basis, helping customers to avoid them. Naturally, users can also choose to block text messages on the app. If there’s a number that’s constantly calling you and is not a robocaller, you can add them to your personal blacklist, making sure they never reach you again. Users can also schedule a Do Not Disturb Mode when they don’t want to receive calls at a specific time of the day. However, this feature is available by default on most Android phones, so we recommend you to use that if available.

With the community over 12 million strong, Call Control has systematically managed to block calls from robocallers and spammers alike. The fact that users can tag robocallers also helps greatly in curbing this menace. This app is free to download on the Google Play Store but comes with ads and in-app purchases. The subscription offering removes ads and includes a few other features that are unavailable on the free version. Call Control is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 and up.

Should I Answer?

This is yet another attractive app that doesn’t leave any ambiguity about what it’s supposed to do. It can help you create lists of unwanted callers and categorize them as you see fit. Users can also report spam calls manually, which greatly helps in enriching the spam caller database. The app has a large data set which helps you determine if a number is spam. The best part is that since it uses its own database to check the caller, this can work even without an internet connection.

On the conclusion of each call, users have the option to tag it as safe or spam, which will eventually help other users out there. The developers claim that there are over 30,000 reports daily, and only after analyzing each report carefully does the admin approve the rating provided by the user. So while it relies heavily on humans to categorize spam callers, it still gets the job done and that’s what really matters. Should I Answer? is a free download on the Google Play Store and is compatible with devices running Android 6.0 and up, leaving out a large number of older devices. Although the app has no ads on board, there are in-app purchases here.

PrivacyStar

As the name suggests, this is a privacy driven app that offers comprehensive blocking and blacklisting features, and also comes with a growing database of spam callers to make sure you never get calls from such numbers. The app also comes with the ability to report callers directly to the FTC. Features like real-time caller ID displays the caller name as well as any available “additional category information”. The app also offers reverse number search when you get messages from unknown callers.

Customers also have the ability to block entire categories of callers, so you don’t have much to worry about. This is a free app, but the company splits its services into Basic and Enhanced plans, with the latter offering more features. Be sure to check it out.

Spam call blocking apps by carriers

American carriers have been actively trying to stop robocalls from ever reaching the customers. FCC claims that one of the biggest complaints it has on its platform is with regards to robocalls. Keeping this in mind, almost every American carrier has a system in place, either by default or with the help of an app to avoid robocalls. Most carriers are implementing SHAKEN/STIR which uses digital certificates to ensure that the call you’re receiving is secure. So let’s have a look at what some of the major carriers in the U.S. are doing in this case.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has successfully implemented SHAKEN/STIR on its network known as “Caller Verified”. This also reaches MetroPCS networks in the U.S. The carrier has also setup a partnership with Comcast to help screen spam calls coming from Xfinity Voice phone lines. T-Mobile is the only carrier to allow screening of calls coming from another network. In the near future, Comcast customers will also be able to screen T-Mobile calls as part of this arrangement. However, T-Mobile’s Caller Verified is currently operational on a few devices running the latest firmware. This includes the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S10, Galaxy Note 8, Note 9, as well as the LG G8 ThinQ.

This is one of the biggest hurdles for the carrier to enable the feature to all its users. It is hoped that hardware dependency will not be an issue for T-Mobile’s Caller Verified feature in the future. The carrier also offers the T-Mobile Name ID app on the Google Play Store. This app allows you to individually block users from your contacts or even block calls from political campaigns, telemarketers and more. Numbers that are previously tagged as spam can be prevented by the users with this app. You can also reverse search messages to know where it originated from. Name ID also offers caller ID services for incoming callers, even if their number is unknown or new. The T-Mobile Name ID app is free to download and is devoid of ads and in-app purchases.

AT&T

America’s second biggest carrier (by a small margin), AT&T was quick to adopt the SHAKEN/STIR tech on its networks to avoid protection against spam callers and also offer increased caller detection features. Similar to T-Mobile’s service, AT&T has also partnered with Comcast to allow Xfinity Voice customers to screen callers from AT&T’s network. Much like T-Mobile’s implementation, Comcast customers will soon be able to screen calls generating from AT&T’s networks.

AT&T is currently investing big in avoiding robocalls, with over 1.5 billion calls examined each day for spam. This method allows the carrier to block the robocallers before they reach the customers. AT&T uses the AT&T Call Protect app to help its users report spam accounts. While robocalls are blocked automatically, the app also offers a subscription option which offers extensive protection against robocalls and even helps in reverse number lookup, which is helpful when you’re received a message from an unknown sender. While the free version of the app does its job perfectly, adding $2.99/month per line will significantly enhance protection against spam callers. Multiple reports have mentioned that AT&T is one of the most efficient in blocking robocalls and spam, so customers on the network have very little to worry about.

Verizon

One of the leading carriers in the U.S., Verizon has set up a variety of safeguards to ensure spam callers are avoided by their customers. Implementing the SHAKEN/STIR technology, this feature is currently limited to calls made to and from Verizon numbers. However, the limitations is expected to lift shortly when other carriers join the fray. It is important to note that the carrier also offers an app for this purpose, known as Verizon Call Filter. Some users may recognize this app as it comes preloaded with some Verizon Android smartphones.

This app allows you to report numbers, detect spam accounts, and more. However, this feature is currently available for Verizon postpaid customers, with no word on when the prepaid users will be able to access these features. While the Call Filter app is free to use and operate, Verizon offers an extra layer of security for those willing to pay. The carrier is currently charging $2.99/month per line or $7.99/month for three lines. This adds features like risk assessment, spam lookup, the ability to identify unknown numbers, and more.

Sprint

While the carrier has no official SHAKEN/STIR implementation as of yet, the carrier has promised to roll out its services fairly soon. However, this doesn’t mean that Sprint has no system in place to block robocallers. The carrier offers an app called Premium Caller ID, although it’s only available for iPhone users. The app is free to download, though. Interested users can spend $2.99/month per line to automatically avoid spam callers and robocalls generating from the network. The app also allows you to block calls that the carrier has considered risky based on its own research.

So despite Sprint not having an elaborate system to curb robocalls and spammers, it’s good to see that the carrier is still doing something about this issue. However, we fear the reach of this feature will be quite limited since it’s only compatible with iPhones. Perhaps Sprint can think about rolling out an Android app as well. This offering is not without its caveats either. Despite all the safeguards in place, it is likely that customers will see tags like “Private”, “Unknown” or “Blocked”. Blocked spammers will try to bypass this by dialing *69 before the number they dial, so if you ever receive a call which says Blocked, now you know why.

 

Things you can take care of on your own

While there are plenty of ways to automatically avoid getting spam calls, some careful examination of the calls you get can be more than enough. Spammers can also reach you through text messages, which can make things even harder. In this case, it is important not to send any details or dial any numbers that the message requests you to. If the message appears to be threatening or endangering people’s lives, make sure you inform the police right away.

Users can also follow some of the simpler steps we mentioned above like adding your number on the National Do Not Call registry. This will put your number out of reach for millions of telemarketers and spammers.

If you’re looking to block numbers on a landline number, this can be achieved too. Carriers like Verizon offer the ability to block numbers of your choice by simply heading over to the official carrier website. However, as many users have experienced, this method still allows for “Unknown” numbers to creep through your list, although it does block a majority of the spam calls. Of course, users can also reach out to their carriers and list down the numbers that they want to block.

While most telemarketers call you with the intention to sell something, these calls are not always innocent. This is why it’s absolutely important for users to stay on guard for any scams that these spammers may be running.