Scam likely, blocked number, a message in Chinese... sound familiar? Spam calls are on the rise, but there are ways to deal with it and keep the annoying unwanted ringing to a minimum. Here are five ways to block spam calls.
SEE: Electronic communication policy (Tech Pro Research)
The Phone app for Android and Android One flags spam calls with a red banner with the option to block the number or whitelist it if it's mistakenly identified.
Try Call Barring: In Android's settings under Call, you should find an option called Call Barring—you can use it to block calls by type. If you know you never need an international number, bar those, and it might stem the tide a bit. Just remember the setting exists if you do need to take overseas calls someday.
Get a roboblocker like Nomorobo: The paid version claims to add more than 1,000 robocall numbers to its blacklist every day. You can report numbers if one slips through, which helps improve the database.
Make a whitelist: You'll need to get a third-party app and give it access to your contacts, so be careful to get one that's well reviewed by a lot of people but there are several. They all work in a similar way by only allowing calls through that are from numbers you've previously authorized. Whitelists can be particularly effective if you know you only need calls, say, from your contacts list.
Use exceptions to Do Not Disturb: On Samsung Galaxy devices, you can leave do not disturb on but allow calls—what makes this useful is you can allow calls only from contacts or even favorite contacts. You can do a similar thing in iOS.
Hopefully one or more of these options will keep your phone blissfully silent—unless it's your Mom or Dad, right?
- A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- Scam alert: Identifying and blocking "Google" robocall spam (ZDNet)
- How to enable spam call filtering on your Android phone (TechRepublic)
- Here's everything you can do to stop robocalls (CNET)
- Robocalls are getting worse, and some cities are top targets (CBS News)
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.