A robocall is a call that delivers pre-recorded messages through auto-dialing software to millions of people each day. If you answer your phone and hear a recorded message instead of a real person speaking, you are listening to a robocall. Some robocalls provide useful information, such as appointment reminders or flight cancellations. Mostly, though, they are trying to sell you something, and many of them are scams.
Billions of robocalls are made each month worldwide, and they are widely seen as a nuisance. Technology makes it cheap and easy for telemarketers and scammers to make robocalls over the Internet, which is why they are so prevalent.
That’s why this article is here.
Here are some tips for you to avoid robocalls on Android, and you can also scroll down to know more specific instructions for each tip.
- Use common sense to keep robocalls at a minimum
- Set the built-in spam and robocall protection to block robocalls automatically
- Use a robocall blocker app on a smartphone.
- Block individual phone numbers
- Set your phone on Do Not Disturb
- Join the National Do Not Call Registry list
- Check with your wireless carrier
Use common sense to keep robocalls at a minimum
According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there are some easy steps you can take to help reduce robocalls. This may be the simplest solution to robocalls, but it’s worth trying and won’t cost you a dime.
If you receive a call from an unknown number or one that doesn’t show up on caller ID, don’t answer. If it’s an important call, the person will leave a message and you can get back to them.
Don’t respond to any question that can be answered with a “Yes.” If you do answer a call and hear a recording such as, “Hello, can you hear me?” just hang up. The same goes for a call where you’re asked to press a number before being connected to a representative. Once they know the number is active, you may be targeted by more calls in the future.
If you can ignore the volume of robocalls coming in and self-filter the important ones, you can avoid even engaging with these scammers in the first place.
Set the built-in spam and robocall protection to block robocalls automatically
Did you know that some smartphones already have built-in spam and robocall protection in place? Samsung’s flagship Galaxy and Note smartphones have a native feature called Smart Call that automatically screens and flags suspicious numbers.
Google’s Android smartphones like the Pixels and the old Nexus and Android One have built-in spam call protection. With this feature, users with Caller ID enabled will get a warning if a suspected spam call or robocall is received.
Aside from ignoring the call, the user has the option to either block the number or whitelist it if the spam flagging is deemed as an error. Any blocked number can be unblocked at any time. An option to report the call to Google is available.
For Android users, tap the phone icon > then the three dots in the top right of the screen > Settings > scroll down to “Caller ID and spam”, > enable “Filter spam calls”. BTW, Android phones vary by device, but most have similar settings.
Use a robocall blocker app on a smartphone.
There’s nothing that can be dealt with without an app.
To block robocalls arriving at your smartphone, using an app is suggested like RealCall. The advantages of a robocall blocking app include:
- Easy to use
- Instant to use
- Capable of blocking all annoying calls
- Custom features allow real robocalls to be filtered while keeping important calls like banks or hospitals
Block individual phone numbers
Here’s a feature available on any iPhone and Android — the ability to block specific numbers. Although this cannot possibly stop every robocall and spammer number, you can at least block the recurring ones.
On Android, open the phone app and tap the three-dot “more” icon, followed by Call History. Tap the number you want to block, and on the next page that appears, tap Block/report spam.
You can also block unknown numbers in a similar way. Open the phone app and tap the three-dot “more” icon, followed by Settings. Choose Blocked Numbers, then turn on Unknown. This will block calls from private or unidentified numbers.
Set your phone on Do Not Disturb
To block every number except your most trusted contacts or favorites, you can turn on your iPhone or Android phone’s built-in Do Not Disturb mode. It’s an extreme solution but it will definitely stop all unwanted calls, including robocalls, telemarketing calls, and spam calls.
Keep in mind that you may miss some legitimate calls when this mode is on, but unknown callers will always have the option to leave a voice message. You can add any number to your contacts list to let them through in the future.
On Android, go to Settings > Sound (or Sound & Notification in some phones) > then tap Do Not Disturb to customize your Do Not Disturb settings.
To activate Do Not Disturb, simply swipe down from the top of your display to access the Quick Menu, then tap the Do Not Disturb icon to turn it on. (This may vary, depending on the manufacturer and model of your Android phone.)
Join the National Do Not Call Registry list
For American users, you can go to the website donotcall.gov and enter the landline or cellphone number you want on the list. Joining the National Do Not Call Registry is simple. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want to put on the list. That’s all it takes; your number stays on the list until you ask for it to be removed or you give up the number.
Once you sign up, the Do Not Call list takes you off for-profit business call lists, but this effect isn’t immediate. Telemarketers only update their listings periodically, which is why the FTC says it can take up to 31 days. Political organizations, charities, and survey-takers are still permitted to call you. Businesses you’ve bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months also have a right to call. When they call, however, firmly tell them to take you off their list and that they should honor your request.
Check with your wireless carrier
All four major wireless carriers offer some sort of call-blocking feature. All have a free option and a premium tier.
AT&T’s Call Protect
AT&T’s Call Protect app is available for iOS and Android. The free version blocks spam and fraud calls and provides nuisance warning labels and a personal block list, and you can block all unknown callers.
Verizon’s Call Filter
Verizon’s Call Filter app is automatically enabled for Android users on a postpaid plan. The service offers spam detection, a spam filter, a call log for blocked or spam calls, the ability to allow calls from specific numbers (iOS only), and the option to report numbers for free.
T-Mobile’s Scam Shield
T-Mobile’s Scam Shield is free to all customers and includes multiple features designed to protect you from robocalls and sharing your personal information. Dial #662# from your phone to turn on Scam Block, or download the free Scam Shield app in your phone’s respective app store. With Scam Shield enabled, you’ll get full caller ID, scam reporting, scam blocking before your phone ever rings, and the option to mark numbers as favorites so they still ring your phone.
Sprint’s Call Screener
Sprint’s Call Screener is free. Sprint customers will fully migrate over to T-Mobile’s system and be able to use the full Scam Shield product offering. Until then, you can download and use Call Screener Pro without the $3-a-month fee. The service identifies and either labels or blocks suspected spam calls and allows you to report numbers as spam.
None of the above solutions is perfect, but they supplement the carrier’s integration of technology now required to check for caller ID spoofing. So right now, you need to do some extra work to keep the number of robocalls you receive to a minimum. Between being cautious about calls from unknown numbers and using a service (paid or free), you can reduce the number of unwanted calls and spam you have to deal with.