Spam calls aren’t just a nuisance. If you answer one, you could also be scammed out of your identity or hard earned cash. Here are some of the latest ways to stop them.
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For help, I consulted Thorin Klosowski, the privacy and security editor at Wirecutter. He recently wrote an article on stopping the calls.
“I just feel like it’s an eye roll now… people are so used to it. You kind of pull your phone out of your pocket [and say] ugh, again, and go on with your day,” explained Klosowski.
Your first line of defense? Download the free app that your wireless carrier provides.
“All of the cell phone providers make an app that operates in some way to block calls or provides some sort of service to do so,” said Klosowski.
For landlines, you can sign up with a free service called Nomorobo. It’s been around forever and it works with most of the major landline providers.
On Android, you can take things a step further by replacing your entire phone dialer app. The aptly named “Phone by Google” app includes Caller ID and Spam protection and it’s totally free. It works with many Android phone models. You might have to go into Settings and turn on the Caller ID and Spam protection, it wasn’t turned on by default on my test device when I downloaded the app from Google Play.
There is another option, but it’s the most drastic. Both iOS and Android have a setting that will block any call your phone doesn’t recognize.
On iOS, go into Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and toggle the switch on.
On Samsung, open the Phone app, then tap the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the dialer, tap Settings, Block numbers, then Block unknown callers. There’s also an option to Block spam and scam calls.
Just keep in mind that while your phone might use some smarts to identify callers you’ve recently interacted with, like a pizza place calling you back after you place an order, this isn’t guaranteed and some legit calls might get lost in the mix.
“If you’re getting a lot of calls you can go that route, you just have to remember to check your voicemail more often,” added Klosowski.
One thing that probably won’t help: blocking individual callers.
“There’s enough technology for them to change their phone number or to call from different numbers that it’s not going to stop them,” concluded Klosowski.
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