How To Block Spam Calls

Those unwanted and annoying spam calls seem to get more sophisticated and harder to detect, using local numbers or spoofing your own phone number. Even if you hang up immediately or unsubscribe, they still seem to call back. A recent estimate placed the number of spam calls in 2019 at over 50 billion! Here’s a quick how-to to help stop (or at least reduce) spam calls:

  1. Block numbers one-at-a-time. This is a helpful solution if it is the same number calling repeatedly. Search your phone model online plus “how to block phone numbers.”
  2. Work with your carrier. Some mobile providers have software that stops or filters these calls. AT&T uses Call Protect, Verizon Wireless uses Call Filter, and T-Mobile uses Scam Shield and Scam Block.
  3. Add your number to the Do Not Call Registry. Visit www.donotcall.gov to add yourself to the list that telemarketers are supposed to honor.
  4. Use the phone’s software. Whether you have an Android or iPhone, they both have Do Not Disturb functions that allow you to block all calls, unless they are from contacts saved in your phone. Check your user’s guide (or online) for instructions.
  5. Block calls on your landline. You can buy a call-blocking device that stops unwanted calls and diverts others to voicemail. Some of these devices have a blacklist of problem numbers that you can add numbers to as well. 
  6. Register a complaint with the FTC. While the FTC might not follow up every complaint, they do monitor which companies are annoying and scamming customers. They have been known to shut down some of these spammers, too. Report unwanted calls to reportfraud.ftc.gov.