Ever answered a call and heard a monotonous sales pitch, the long listed benefits of availing a credit card or a free trial offer? Telemarketing calls for sure are annoying! But the worst offenders in this sphere for sure are scam calls. This probably is the potential reason one might seek for immediate identification of the caller and take a relief in blocking someone on their contact list.
Nowadays, scammers manage to use fake callers ID information and make illegal marketing calls. In response to certain unpleasant incidents and recent scams, government authorities have set firm rules with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Also, telecommunication brands like Apple have come up with inbuilt features and apps to avoid unnecessary phone calls. So are these the only options? Unquestionably not, there are many different ways to identify superfluous calls and blocking methods for such calls including robocalls. Read the following remedies to unwanted calls calmly and find the much needed peace of mind.
- Built-in Features on Mobile Devices:
This should be your first approach to avoid annoying callers – blocking them at system level. Earlier, Android devices required rooting i.e. you needed to have root access to the device’s operating system which left the device open to all sorts of malware if not done correctly. Fortunately, these days you can make the most out of your unrooted Android phones and tablets. Blocking steps may vary based on the manufacturer but now almost every device comes with built-in features to block numbers irrespectively of the manufacturer. The easy way is to block numbers on contact cards is to open your contact details and tap on the block button.
For Android Phones:
- Open phone apps > go to call history > long press the unwanted number > select block contact.
For iPhone device-
- Go to Settings Menu > Phone Options > Tap Call Blocking & Identification > Select allow These Apps to Block Calls and Provide Caller ID, turn the app on.
- Alternately you can create “do not answer list” and set a silent ringtone to such numbers.
- To block text messages got to Settings > Messages and turn on Filter Unknown Senders.
- You can call your telecom service provider and get specific spam numbers blocked forever.
- Else, if you are able to use Verizon login, get peculiar telemarketing numbers blocked but remember blocking of anonymous numbers might not be foolproof.
- Mobile Phone Applications:
There are certain limitations to the above method. So if you are looking for something multipurpose then there are various free as well as paid mobile apps that can block the unwanted interactions. These apps allow you to blacklist undesirable contacts. The third party apps build their own database of notorious numbers that were posted through the noteworthy consumer complaints on social sites and are recommended by FTC/FCC. Along with blacklist data they also have a wider whitelist data source. Sophisticated apps provide features like call blocking based on area codes/geographic locations, reverse call lookups, choices to respond (as in predefined text response or complaint lodging with FCC) and data on incoming calls. Some of the popular apps are PrivacyStar, TrueCaller, Mr.Number, Call Blocker free and SMS blocker. These are available for free whereas apps like RoboKiller are available for a paid monthly subscription. Make sure you verify the policy privacy to understand how such apps use your data and information.
- Carrier-specific Techniques:
Inbuilt methods and mobile apps should be good enough to serve the purpose, however, if you still find difficulties with pestering calls, you can go for carrier specific services. Be it cable, mobile phone or landline, your carrier can block up to a certain amount of numbers, provided you identify them. They are capable of blocking private numbers, anonymous numbers or numbers that do not appear on Caller Id by a paid service for the DND(Do not Disturb) hours.
If you wish to permanently block a number you might have to pay additional charges on a monthly basis or if for free (e.g. Verizon) you might be required to refresh the list on a regular basis. Phone carriers can also introduce new prices or limitations on smartphone capabilities. However, if you wish to save money in the long run it’s a good idea to invest in unlocked phones instead of buying it from the carrier.
- Devices That Enable Call Blocking:
Call blocking devices can be installed straight on home phones to avoid unnecessary calls. Similar to other third party apps and services, these devices use a blacklist database of known spam numbers to filter calls. Some of them are capable of diverting a call after a ring, while with some of them you can create your own blacklist by manually keying in the phone numbers or connect the redundant callers with recording options that permit valid callers to reach you who might be erroneously blacklisted.
They also support the do not disturb hours facility and use a whitelist for legitimate numbers. Remember you will have to shed money to purchase call blocking devices and all of them might not be compatible with all kinds of phones.
Cloud Based Services:
Similar to phone carrier service providers, cloud based services block unwanted calls for mobile phone lines or phone lines operating over the internet. It can be availed in the form of a mobile app or a service once you register your phone line. Your carrier can guide you by giving information about a cloud based service operated by another company.
Large, shared computer systems collect data from tons of users to build crowd-sourced blacklists that cloud based services rely on. They access your call data to update their databases and might require that calls be routed through their services for immediate analysis. To handle unwanted calls you might choose silent ringing, redirect to a separate voicemail or a spam folder options. Few cloud based services are free while some levy a monthly fee.
Apart from the above methods, to avoid any spammer or scammer just follow some basic practices like never respond to unwanted calls, don’t even press a number to opt-out from future messages because it will just prove that your number is a factual one. Unfortunately, if you are victim of life-threatening calls, inform the police right away or dial your national helpline number. Never click on any links or respond to unwanted text messages. Make sure you enter your phone number in online/offline forms only when absolutely necessary. After all, you are the only one in control of whom you entertain!