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6 Simple Tips That Will Stop Annoying Spam Calls

Stop Spam Calls - collage: woman talking on a smartphone; woman blocking a contact on a smartphone

How To Stop Spam Calls And Take Back Your Peace Of Mind

Remember when the only unwanted calls we ever had to deal with came from telemarketers and bill collectors? Those were simpler, more peaceful times, before spam calls and robocalls grew into the epidemic they are today!

According to data collected by YouMail, U.S. consumers received around 50.3 billion robocalls in 2022. They’re a huge nuisance, and I’m betting that I’m not the only one who is interested in learning how to stop spam calls!

Related: These Are 25 Of The Best Smartphone Apps Out There

So I did some research and came up with the following list of 6 ways to help prevent spam calls, or at least reduce the frequency and volume of annoying calls coming in to your phone. These easy tips will arm you with the tools you need to stop spam calls and restore your sanity! :-)

6 Easy Ways To Block Spam Calls

Stop Spam Calls - laptop open to the FCC's Do Not Call Registry

1. Add Your Name To The ‘Do Not Call’ Registry

The FTC operates a National Do Not Call Registry, and it’s free to sign up. The Registry exists to inform sales companies and telemarketers that you don’t want to be called.

It is important to note that there are plenty of scammers and spammers that don’t care about the Registry, so registering your name and number won’t stop all annoying calls. However, it’s a great place to start if you’re receiving a lot of telemarketing calls!

Stop Spam Calls - woman looking at anti spam apps on two different smartphones

2. Download An App

There are several smartphone apps you can download that can identify and block spam calls. Here are a few options:

  • Hiya – Free on Android and iOS.
  • RoboKiller – Free and paid options.
  • Nomorobo – Free 14-day trial, then $1.99/month.
Annoying Spam Calls

3. Get Help From Your Wireless Carrier

Most major phone carriers offer some sort of service to help keep spam calls at bay. Make sure you’re taking advantage of what your carrier has to offer!

  • AT&T – The AT&T ActiveArmor app (available for Android and iOS) identifies suspected spam callers and gives you the option to block their numbers. Service available for free to all postpaid AT&T customers.
  • Sprint – Now that Sprint is part of T-Mobile, the Sprint Call Screener app is now free to use! It displays the name of callers and flags robocalls and spam calls with a “threat level” to let you know how suspect the call is.
  • T-Mobile – T-Mobile customers can download the free Scam Shield app to control anti-scam protections like Scam ID, Scam Block, and Caller ID.
  • Verizon – Verizon offers their customers a free Call Filter app that detects and filters spam calls. You can upgrade to Call Filter Plus for more advanced features (like caller ID and a spam risk meter) for an additional fee.

Related: Don’t Get Ripped Off! Gimmicks And Red Flags You Need To Know

Stop Spam Calls - two photos of blocking phone numbers

4. Block Phone Numbers

Blocking a phone number can help reduce the amount of spam calls you receive, especially if you have gotten multiple unwanted calls from that number. Here’s a quick overview of how to block spam calls:

  • On iPhone – Pull up your recent calls list and press the blue information icon next to the number you want to block. Scroll down and tap “Block this caller.”
  • On Android – Go to your recent calls list and long press on the number you want to block. Find and select the “Block” option.
Stop Spam Calls smartphone ringing with name of caller showing

5. Don’t Engage

Engaging with a spam caller or robocall is often considered an indication of interest, and it could end up attracting more unwanted calls to your phone. Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, but if you do answer one, hang up as quickly as possible.

If you receive a call with a prompt to press a certain button to stop receiving those calls, you’re likely better off just hanging up, as some scammers use this trick to identify potential targets.

Bonus iPhone Tip: If you press the side button on your iPhone when you have an incoming call, it will stop ringing and/or vibrating. If you press the side button twice, it will decline the call so you can keep using your phone.

Stop Spam Calls - woman verifying phone number of gas company

6. Verify The Source

While the majority of unwanted calls are easy to identify, others can seem pretty legitimate! If you get a call from someone who claims to represent a company or government agency, hang up and call that company or agency’s customer service line directly to verify if the call was authentic.

Keep in mind that you’re much more likely to receive some sort of notification in the mail if a company or agency needs to contact you. And that’s especially true with anything related to making a payment!

Want Even More Smartphone Hacks?

Do you have any other tips to help prevent spam calls?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

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Bright Ideas

  • I actually just recently had a nightmare situation. I had a bunch of numbers blocked. Then all of a sudden l started getting a bunch of calls from numbers that were from the same number prefix. When I tried to answer l wouldn’t hear anything and then a click. So what I do is I act like I’m going to answer , then hang – up on them and block the number from my cell. A few of the blocked #s kept calling my cell so I had to use the repeat caller option to block. I actually about a month ago got a notice from one of our State government agencies that there had been a data breach and that my cell number might have been one that was leaked. Luckily they didn’t get any of my financial information- but it was a mess.

  • The only one of these ideas that truly works is to get an app that detects and blocks spam calls. It’s no big surprise either that the ones you have to pay for work better. I had to try a couple different ones before I found the one that was right for me. Sometimes the spam blocking apps work a little too well when it comes to blocking out calls from doctors, etc. so you have to add these people to you contacts list. The good thing is that even if they block these calls they will be sent to voice mail where they can leave you a message.

    The “do not call” registry is a joke. To date the FTC has only brought legal action against 151 companies or individuals in 20 years. Not all of these actions have resulted in convictions. Crafty spammers just keep changing their numbers so they can’t be tracked, effectively outwitting the FTC.

    Never tell a spammer to add you to their “Do Not Call List”. In the days of old this technique worked with legitimate companies, but those days are past. Now by talking to spammers you are only confirming your phone # is in use and they will hound you even more.

    So do yourself a favor and get a spam blocker app. Then you’ll have m ore time to focus on blocking all those annoying political spam texts.

  • The easiest way, on an iPhone and I suppose androids have the same feature, is go to settings, phone and turn on silence unknown callers. Only calls in you contact list will ring. If they are not in your contact list and it’s important they will leave a message and you can return the call.

  • As of late, I’ve seen a couple of articles out there that talk about companies recording your voice and using AI to create a “fake you”. Any financial institution you do business with that uses your voice as a way to verify who you are is in danger. Now I will not answer the phone unless they are in my address book, and I changed my voicemail to just be the automated phone number. The world is getting scarier by the day.

  • AT&T actually sells your info to robo callers. I tried their newer service. It was iunreliable, so I asked to go back to my landline. Because of that they gave me a “new” account number. Then I started receiving a dozen robo calls a day. I ask one person from a security service why they called since I was on the do not call list. He told me that they received my information from my phone provider. I called AT&T and they admitted that they sold “new” account information. But, hey, they will sell you a service to help minimize those calls coming through now…thanks to their selling your info.

    • I loathe AT&T. They have undermined our landline service out here in rural NorCal with lousy maintenance. After my service went down for over a month, after the Feb. 23 snowstorm here, I just gave up and got Verizon’s wireless home phone. Kept my number (not easy, but doable – google what you need to take with you before you go). So far, not much spam. And, it’s 1/3 the cost of my old landline. Missing a few features but oh well.

  • Great tips. You have to occasionally re-register for the do not call list after so many months. I’ll have to see about getting the Nomorobo for our landline. With my cell I always pretend like I’m going to answer and then immediately hang up on the spammers. I recently switched to a. Android. It’s been quite the process getting all the bells and whistles worked out. I glad to see this post today- great timing.

  • It is best NOT to engage because once you answer, they know you are “available” at that time and can sell that info to other spammers. It’s such a pain!
    How about spam texts? Those are awful! Took me awhile to figure out how to block but here’s how:
    Open the text. there is a > at the top, after the number. Press that. Then press info on the right side of the screen. Choose Block this caller. Then go back and delete the text.
    That should work!

    • I get the same spam texts about my Netflix or Amazon account every single day. I tried blocking them but they just change where they’re coming from. So annoying.

  • I’m on the do not call list and I have my phone set up to only answer calls that are in my contact list. I have one spammer call that somehow masks as one of the number on my list. The message is always: “This call or hang up to send us a call to your voicemail press one…” If I don’t take the message I won’t get anymore calls that day from them but if I even clear the message off my voicemail I will get 2 calls right away from other numbers. The problem is if a voicemail comes in from one of my contacts I will look at it (I have voice to text voice mail.) I will start getting calls. One day I actually had it say it was a repairperson before that repairperson actually called. I showed him how I had 3 calls in my list from him. He said,”But I only called you twice.” I don’t know how to get rid of them.

    I tried the blocker from T-moble but it also blocked texts and calls from people on my contact list and would not even let me send a message to someone on my contact list. I had to remove it.

  • I keep getting calls from 737 and 512 numbers. The 7 digit part changes over and over so even if I block one, a brand new one will call the next time. I can’t block these area codes on their own. I’m at the point where I want to change my phone number altogether. I use TextNow because it’s free and uses WI-FI.

  • I have the motor g7 power cellphone and it actually sends suspicious text to spam for you! And another feature is when a call comes in it says potential spam and then option of answering or screen call. When you hit that the phone takes over and lets then know you ARE screening them. I probably not describing it well enough but check into it. Very useful foe span not expensive! Got mine through Amazon. Hope this helps.

  • I have the “Scam Likely” app that tells you it’s most likely a scam, but that is not always so. I found that the court system here in our area and the entire medical profession, doctors and other medical providers, use “burner phones” so that you can’t call back unless they leave you their actual number in a voice mail. I find this useful. I don’t answer any scam likely calls. Unfortunately it hasn’t stopped those pesky Medi-cal- Medicare- Medicade calls. Even when they give you the option to opt out.

  • I get a lot of “unknown” calls. Ever since I Up Dated my I phone this last time, all my unknown calls are automatically silenced. I’m not sure if they are sent to voice mail or not but I don’t really care. lol. At the end of the day I go to my recent calls and block all of them. It shows I have a call coming in but does not ring. So whatever Apple did, or maybe it was my provider, it works. So, yah for me!

  • Allow your phone to ring four or five times, if you pick up then you will hear a dial tone as some other person picked up first and I hope that they will not be scammed.
    An even better idea is do not answer if you do not recognize the phone number. If it is a friend who changed their phone number they will leave a message.

  • My favorite way to stop unwanted calls is to use the option to block unknown callers, so the phone only rings when the call is from someone in my contact list. This helps identify “mirror(?)” calls, ones that look like they’re from your area code, but aren’t. The rest go straight to voicemail, and the majority don’t leave a message. Harder to guard against unwanted texts, so don’t click on anything you don’t recognize.

  • OK…this is going to sound REAL crazy, but…I am 65yo, with a, sometimes OVERactive humor or sickness? I am disabled/retired which gives me time on my hands and then you add a pandemic, with even MORE time…well, you get it! Anyway, sometimes these callers just happen to catch me in just the right mood and I answer and I just mess with them! I give THEM a run for their money! I really do. They hang up SO confused and frustrated, and I feel like I have won, at least a little bit. Might be my only victory for the day, and it can be just plain clean fun!! I’m hoping I’ll be better with my behavior after the pandemic is over and I can get out of here more!! God bless, everyone…:-)

  • Firstly, the “Do not call” registry is a total waste of time as the as the scammers simply do not care, and the government does precisely nothing to stop them. I use a voip phone service, ooma, and on the ooma phones there’s a “send to voicemail” button that pops up on incoming calls, and when I don’t recognize the name or number, off to voicemail it goes with the simple push of the button, and I don’t even have to lift the handset. 99% of the time they, or their computer dialer, simply hang up. If I happen to see it’s a scam call on one of my other attached non ooma phones, I either simply pick up and hang up the handset immediately, or I pick up and mute the handset, and listen for them to hang up. As mentioned, never say a word, particularly the “YES” word, and never push any keys on the phone, because when you do you are just verifying that an actual person has answered, and that simply encourages them to keep calling even more. Oh, and blocking numbers is, for the most part, a total waste of time as they will just use another fake caller i.d. number next time, and you will either run out of your allocation of blockable numbers, or simply get tired of doing it and give that tactic up.

  • And don’t EVER answer the phone with “Yes”? I’ve heard a lot of scammers use that as permission to make long distance (like other side of the world, international calls) calls and say that you approved it.

  • This is interesting. We’re on the do not call list. We still get a lot of these calls including scammers calling on our home phone. Any ideas for how to block them from calling our landline. It’s gotten to the point we don’t answer unless we know who’s calling. We don’t really get much junk calls on our cell phones. I used to -but I’ve been able to block most that have called. I just use the block this caller option when I check un familiar calls. This has worked for my cell number.

    • Most phones for landlines have a “call block button”… Mine is in the center bottom of my handset. Just push that button and it will ask if you are trying to block or save, then you make your selection. Of course, they will just move to the next number they are calling from, but it will stop a lot of them..

      • I’m not sure if ours has one. We’ve had this one for several years. It’s just so annoying. We’ve occasionally have to put the phone.off the hook when we keep getting the same calls.

      • Yes but the thing is, you have to do this with each individual number! I believe one of the ways to do this only once is with the “do not call” registry on a landline.

    • Try Nomorobo. It’s free for landlines. I hear that not all phone companies work with this, but it has really cut down on our unwanted calls.
      It will ring one time and stop.

      • NoMoRoBo works as long as that number has been previously registered as a scam number, either by you or someone else. And given the way the scammers spoof phone numbers and caller i.d. names that you see on the calls, it’s only a matter of time till they still get through with one number or the other.

  • When I was in grad school, one of my part time jobs was as a telemarketer. Here are a few of the things we were told during training. 1. If the person on the other end lets you continue with your pitch after you have identified who you are and why you’re calling, keep going until you make the sale. If they didn’t end the conversation, it means that some part of their mind is interested in what you’re selling. 2. The one and only way to get us to stop calling someone is if they tell us to stop or to take them off our list, or something just as direct. If you simply hang up, the caller who is working next shift will just call you back. The computer just puts your number back in the que.

  • For my landline phone I bought a CPR Call blocker from Amazon, easy to set up and works great. For my cell phone I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize and at the end of each day I go through the call list and block them. It doesn’t stop all of them but makes life more peaceful.

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