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Guide: How To Block a Number & Spam Calls on Android
It’s a never-ending battle: You don’t want to talk to salespeople, debt collection agencies, or your Aunt Agnes, but they all want to talk to you. In the days of ubiquitous landlines, you could choose the answering machine up the call and then just ignore the messages, but today our phones are with us 24/7. There’s no escaping the ever-present risk of electronic burglary, right? In this article, I’ll show you how to use the National Do Not Call registry to reduce spam and unsolicited calls, and I’ll show you too how to block the calls that go past this register.
The national do not call register
First things first: before we start blocking numbers on your local phone, let’s take some steps to add your number to the FTC Do Not Call Register. This section is for readers who are based in the United States; If you are in a different location, check with your government to see if it offers similar protection against automated spam calls.
Go to donotcall.gov, a service offered by the Federal Trade Commission that allows you to book your regular as well as mobile phone numbers to stop robocalls. With this service you can easily create your phone number, make sure your number has been added to the FTC’s Do Not Call list, and even report unwanted calls from numbers you don’t recognize. After registering your number, telemarketers have 31 days to stop calling you.
Businesses can face hefty fines for breaking this list by calling numbers that have been registered. It is important to note that you may still be able to receive political calls, charity calls, debt collection calls, informational calls, and telephone surveys. This list does not protect against that kind of phone call. You can find more information about the Do-not-call-me register here.
Block calls from specific numbers
Unfortunately, the registry is not a perfect solution. There are spammers who violate this list and risk being fined by the FTC, and as we noted above, there are several other types of phone calls against which the list does not even protect, including over-the-phone surveys. So from here, we can take additional action against spammers by blocking their calls locally. This will not prevent the first call from getting through, but it will protect you from repeat offenders calling from identical numbers. Let’s see.
We start with the home screen, where I have a shortcut to my phone application. If you have your phone app pinned to your home screen, look in your app drawer. Once we get it phone app, select the offending caller from the Recent calls menu. This is probably your most recent call if you follow these steps right after a robocall.
In my case, I had to scroll through my recent calls list a bit to find an unwanted caller. Tap the call to get three additional options: Call, Message, and Details. Go ahead and select details to access information about the caller. Again, depending on your phone model and software version, you may have additional options or a slightly different menu. Leave a comment below if you have any issues with a different style of phone.
Finally, click OK in the pop-up to block the number. If the suspected number tries to call you again, the call will be sent directly to voicemail and you will be notified that a call from your phone. And remember, if you want to unblock the number for any reason, all you have to do is repeat the steps above and select ‘Unblock number’.
Block texts from specific numbers
Let’s just say your problem is not unwanted phone calls, but via text messages that give you “exclusive offers and deals you won’t get anywhere else!” Open your SMS application and select the conversation you want to block for your phone. In the top right corner of your screen, click the drop-down menu to see your options for the conversation, then select the same three-dot menu in advance
Clicking “Blacklist” will take you back to the conversation screen, with an animated pop-up to let you know that the number has been successfully added to your blacklist. It’s that simple. Just like phone calls, numbers can also be removed from your blacklist by following the same steps as above.back to menu ↑
Use third-party apps to automatically block numbers
If the steps above didn’t work enough and you’re still having issues with those unwanted callers, you can go to the Play Store for additional help. There are several applications available for download, each offering similar functionality.
Let’s take a look at some of our top picks for third-party call screening apps.
1. Mr. number
If we had to choose one app from this list, we recommend that you go with Mr. Number to go. It is easy to set up up, user-friendly, and works like a charm. Let’s take a quick look at how this app works. Mr. Number will show your call log, with additional context for unsaved numbers in your phone, such as restaurants or other services you may have called. Like a phone number has been reported as spam or fraud by other users, it will automatically detect the caller and prevent them from contacting you.
You can also view reports that other Mr. Number users have detailed information about these respective callers. If a caller has been incorrectly reported as spam, you can use the three-dot menu to report something else, or you can also unblock numbers simply by pressing the Unblock button. And if a spammer who hasn’t been automatically blocked successfully reaches you, you can use the app to quickly report them as spam, block future calls, and help your fellow Mr. Number to assist in the process.
From the same software company as Mr. Number, Hiya takes a slightly different approach to the same functions. Hiya bills itself as the “ultimate call management app” and the feature list is impressive enough to support up that statement.
Among other things, Hiya builds a continuous database based on user input. Here’s how it works: John registers with Hiya and gives his number, 719-111-1234. Hiya confirms that John owns that number with the usual text-a-code routine. Now, as Phil a phone spoofing app and pretending to call John, another Hiya user sees “Suspected Scammer” in the Caller ID field, instead of the false numbers. (For more information on call spoofing, check out our guide against spoofing phone numbers.)
In addition, you can submit reports on spam or scam numbers, and that information will become available to all Hiya users. Hiya is available in a free version which is more than enough for most users, or in a premium edition for $1.25 per month. The main benefits of the premium edition are that it automatically blocks robocalls and spammers for you (instead of having to add them to your block list) and it also provides a higher level of access to information about spam and scam callers.
3. Applications provided by the provider
Many US providers offer free applications to alert you that an incoming call is in fact spam. AT&T has its Call Protect app available on the App Store and Google Plays Store. Verizon has a Call Filter application. T-Mobile also offers a security and screening app for its postal paid customers. If you are not sure which third-party applications we have listed, please contact your carrier or visit their website to see what they can offer you. Third-party applications may change the way your phone rings, how you answer them, and more. If you want to avoid the extra steps, major cellular carriers usually have options.
Most modern smartphones have the built-in functionality that allows you to disable and block callers slipping through the register of the FTC. Third-party apps like Mr. Number can also help you, automatically detect when a spam call is trying to reach you and block the caller in the process. Institution up this functionality only takes a few minutes of your day, and when you’re done, you can sit back and enjoy a spam-free life.back to menu ↑
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