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How to Stop Spam Calls to Your Phone: Three Easy Ways

Spam is time consuming and annoying. How to end automated calls once and for all with simple steps, reports Mashable.

Photo: IStock

It is wrong that we have become afraid of a phone call because deep down we know that it is not a friend or loved one who is calling, but some distant villain using text-to-speech to try to convince us that, for example, the validity of the warrant expired on our car.

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In 2021, American phones were bombarded with over 50 billion automated calls, and this disaster has become the FCC's (Federal Communications Commission) top priority and the number one complaint it receives from consumers. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to reduce the frequency of spam calls to your number.

Why is this happening

As with many distinctly American issues, our allegiance to a particular economic system is partly to blame for the onslaught of spam calls. It is no coincidence that many types of automated calls, such as phone salesmen or debt collectors, are perfectly legal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed in 1991 to combat the first wave of spam calls, gave consumers the right to sue telephone harassment. But the 2016 SCOTUS decision in the Spokeo Inc. v. Robins sided with the business and determined that the plaintiff must demonstrate injuries, in addition to annoyance, in order to deliver automated callers to federal court.

For scammers, this consumer-unfriendly structure pairs nicely with the relatively simple caller ID technology that carriers are just starting to fix. Using "gateway providers", international automatic subscribers can connect to US telephone networks masquerading as local numbers. Only after an annoyed caller reports spam are operators alerted that the call was not from your area.

Silence them

If your biggest problem with automated calls is their audible annoyance, you can nip this in the bud by simply turning on the “mute unknown callers” feature in your iPhone or Android settings. This feature will direct all incoming calls from numbers you have not yet spoken to directly to voicemail.

iPhone users should go to the general settings menu, tap "phone" next to the green icon, and scroll down until they see "disable unknown callers." Touch this menu and you will see the switch that you put in active mode.

Since the Android device settings menu varies slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, enabling this feature may take a little longer. Keep an eye out for variations on the name of this feature, such as "block harassing calls", "block anonymous calls" or simply "block calls".

If you prefer to disable this feature, you can always block each spammer's number one by one as they come in. It will take some dedication and effort, but the promise of peace may be worth it.

As a last resort, you can also permanently enable Do Not Disturb on your phone and go into its settings to make it so that only those in your saved contacts can contact you. You probably see the disadvantages of such drastic measures, but it's good to know there's an option.

Pay to get rid of them

Some mobile carriers offer additional levels of spam filtering if you pay a little more each month. AT&T offers Call Protect Plus for $3,99 per month, while T-Mobile sells Scam Shield Premium for an additional $4 per month.

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If paying your carrier for extra protection seems extortionate, you can try using a third party app like Hiya, Nomorobo, Robokiller, and Truecaller for about the same price per month as carrier services.

Register

It may be more of a placebo than anything else, but you can always add your number to the Do Not Call registry. here.

If everything goes well, telemarketers will stop calling you within a month. The main problem with this approach is that it only works when legal automated calls are restricted. Automatic calls that are already breaking the law are unlikely to suddenly stop because your number is now on a special list.

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