Tech Talk

Tech Talk: How to Block Spam Calls

A big annoyance in my life right now is the number of calls I receive on my cell phone that are SPAM, scam calls, robocalls and telemarketers. I just checked, and my cell phone number is on the ‘do not call’ list. That only keeps telemarketers from legally calling me, but it doesn’t stop the robocalls and scammers.

So how do you block them? One of the simplest ways is to use the ‘block call’ feature on your cell phone. When you finish a call, there should be an option to block the number, or you can go into your recent call log and block it from there. The issue with this approach is you have to do all of the work each time you receive an annoyance call.

A simpler solution is to put an app on your phone that actually blocks a call after checking the number against a database of identified nuisance calls. There are many free apps, and some that charge for the service. I would suggest starting with the free version and then, depending on the model, you can decide if you want to pay for additional services or to eliminate ads. Below are three that consistently are recommended:

TrueCaller works on IOS and Android phones along with Windows and Blackberry devices. This app is highly rated, offers caller ID, and blocks unwanted calls and text messages. The database of phone numbers it checks against is updated as app users indicate a call was a telemarketer, spam or a robocall.

Hiya was spun off of whitepages.com. This app works on both IOS and Android. To determine its database of legitimate calls, it leverages relationships with cell phone carriers and how the community marks a caller. It gives business owners the opportunity to brand their phone numbers to improve the likelihood of their calls being answered.

Should I Answer is a popular app across both IOS and Android phone users. It claims to analyze more than 10 million calls a month, and its database is built primarily off of community reports. It doesn’t use your personal or contacts data.

Norton Mobile Security is great if overall mobile security is a concern and you love Norton Antivirus for your computer. It offers call blocking features along with its usual security features. You must have a subscription to be able to use the app.

RoboKiller is for those who really want to get back at the telemarketers. It automatically answers calls from market robocallers and uses answer bots to keep the caller on the line. Its intent is to waste the robocallers’ time.

I personally am using Hiya. It was recommended by one of my team members and, after trying a couple of other options, the free version meets my expectations. The only glitch I’ve found is that sometimes when I try to call a number that has been marked as a telemarketer or spam, the app will block my outgoing call. But I love that the caller ID feature allows me to see who is calling, especially when it’s a customer I haven’t put in my phone yet. Enjoy getting your time back and avoiding those pesky calls.

Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@Sprydigital), Facebook (facebook.com/sprydigital), Instagram (@Sprydigital) or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/spry-digital-llc.) 

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