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Blocking Scam Calls & Apps that Help

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Best Practices, MyTek Blog

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The 2021 Guide for Stopping Annoying Robocalls

I’m sure you’re used to getting several  “Scam Likely” phone calls a day. We’ve all been there and it can so easy to feel frustrated when it gets difficult to even answer your phone anymore. Not only are they annoying, but they actually can be dangerous as well. While stopping them completely is difficult, there are many ways to block scam calls and prevent them, at least to a degree.

Stopping Scam Calls – What Can You Do?

Thankfully, all four major U.S. phone carriers have free spam call blocking. The 2019’s Traced Act also granted law enforcement more power to fight back against spam calls and the entities behind them. Google and Apple have also began their work in puncturing this system, offering features that prevent and redirect unknown callers and spam calls. There is hope for the future as more features are underway and the Traced Act hasn’t even been fully implemented just yet.

In the meantime, here are some tips that might help you:

  • Never answers phone calls from unfamiliar numbers or blocked numbers. It is possible that they may move on if you don’t ever answer them.
  • Keep your phone contacts updated. If you have all of the numbers of people you need to be in contact with, you are less likely to pick up the phone when unknown numbers call you.

If this isn’t possible for you, especially if your life revolves around answering unknown numbers, try these:

  • If you suspect the call is a robot, or you hear the automation sound in the beginning, hang up immediately. If you keep responding to the robotic callers, your number may be called again since they were somewhat successful with you.
  • Never answer questions asked by a robotic caller. This is where it can get dangerous. If you respond to questions, you may be being recorded and these recordings can be used for purposes you won’t like.

Talk To Your Cell Phone Carrier

As aforementioned, the four main cell phone carriers in the U.S. have free scam call blocking features. Some even include premium services to do so. We strongly believe that the customer shouldn’t have to pay for these services, but if it seems worth it to you, it might be an option you can think about.

Sprint- With its recent merge with T-Mobile, Sprint’s Call Screener became free for its customers. Customers will also soon have access to T-Mobile’s Scam Shield services. They also offer a paid service called Call Screener Pro for $3/month, which blocks suspected scam calls and lets you report scam calls as well, improving the system over time.

T-Mobile- As mentioned, their Scam Shield Services are free to all T-Mobile customers. This service gives customers full caller ID and has the capabilities to block scam calls before your phone even buzzes. It also will give you a proxy number to use when you’re not comfortable using your private phone number.

AT&T- With AT&T, customers can use their Call protect app. The free version blocks known spam calls and can also be set to block all unknown callers entirely. The paid version, which is $4 a month adds a full caller ID system and other perks to help you block scam calls.

Verizon- Customers of Verizon can also download an app, Verizon’s Call Filter app or it may come installed on their phones. The free version will filter out spam calls and can show you a log of all of the blocked calls. For caller ID services, they are offered through the app for $3 a month.

If you use a different cell phone carrier, you could reach out to see what services they provide for scam call filtering and blocking.

Other Apps and Options

There are many other apps available for filtering and blocking scam calls. Many of these apps were even developed in the same ways that cell phone carrier-related apps were. The Nomorobo app uses the same technology as Verizon’s app but costs only $2 a month. The Hiya app is free for Android and iOS and was developed by the same people who made AT&T’s app. This app has built-in blocking services. The firewall app is available for iPhone users and is $4 a month and creates throwaway phone numbers you can use if you don’t want to put down your actual phone number on online forms.

Doing The Best We Can

While there is currently no way to block scam calls 100%, there are ways to make them less frequent. As fun as it can be to answer in a funny voice and waste their time, it is not worth creating more of a problem for ourselves. If we all collectively stop answering, maybe someday they’ll go away. For more information, read about MyTek’s Spam Protection services.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim - Team

Tim Tiller, LMSW

 
Tim Tiller, MSW brings a deep service background to his role at Mytek, having graduated from McDonald’s management training program, fresh out of high school, and working his way up through the ranks in the hospitality industry. He has led two prior companies – Multi-Systems Inc., an IT-focused organization providing technology to hospitality companies (where he was named President at age 36), and most recently, as Chief Operating Officer for Jewish Voice Ministries International.

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