How to Block Spam Calls and Text Messages
Published: August 7, 2022
August 7th, 2022.
LIFE IS BUSY enough without wasting time on spammers, scammers, and telemarketers. Whether you are suffering insistent injury lawyers, fraudulent car warranty representatives, or a drunk-dialing ex, there is a way to stop the endless calls and messages. The major carriers and phone manufacturers have upped their game against unwanted calls and messages in recent years, so let's look at how you can effectively block them.
We also have guides on how to avoid spam with disposable contact info, guard against smishing attacks, and avoid phishing scams. Frustrated by the whole situation and curious why no one's been able to stop the barrage of spam calls? Check out WIRED senior writer Lily Hay Newman's article on our perpetual robocall hell.
What to Keep in Mind.
Before we dive into blocking options, there are a few things to know:
If possible, don't answer any calls from numbers you don't recognize. Callers with anything important to say will likely leave a message anyway. Sadly, this won't work for people with businesses or interests that involve a lot of calls from unknown numbers.
Never click on a link or attachment in a spam text message because it could trigger malware.
If possible, avoid opening them altogether.
Never respond to a spam text message, as it will confirm that your number is valid.
If you are concerned that the call or message might be from a legitimate company, try typing the number into your preferred search engine. While it can be tricky to confirm a scammer's number, it is easy to verify a legitimate one. If you can't find anything on the number, be cautious and ignore it. We will explain how to block numbers, but it's also important to report unwanted calls and messages. If it's telemarketing, scam, or spam, you can report it to the FTC here. You can also add your number to the Do Not Call Registry, though it only works for sales calls from reputable companies. Sadly, many organizations and scammers ignore it. We will go into how to report numbers to manufacturers, carriers, and third parties below. The more people do this, the easier it is to identify and preemptively block or label nuisance numbers.
How to Block Calls or Texts With Your Carrier.
The major carriers offer apps that can help you to recognize nuisance numbers and block calls or messages from them.
AT&T offers the ActiveArmor app. The basic version is free and offers spam and fraud call blocking, nuisance call alerts, and unknown call blocking. The Plus version costs $4 per month per line and adds caller ID, reverse number lookup, and additional nuisance call controls.
Verizon has a similar app called Call Filter. It offers spam detection and filtering, a white-list option for iOS, and a neighborhood spoofing filter. The Plus version costs $3 per month for one line or $8 per month for three or more, and adds caller ID, spam look-up and risk meter, and a personal block list.
T-Mobile has the free Scam Shield app, which offers caller ID, scam detection and blocking, and even a proxy number you can use when you don’t want to share your real number.
Google Fi offers various blocking options and caller ID for free in the Google Fi app.
US Cellular has the Call Guardian app offering caller ID, spam alerts, and spam reporting. The Premium version, at $4 per month, offers enhanced alerts, caller ID, and automatic call blocking.
You can also report spam messages to your carrier for free by forwarding them to 7726.
Source: Re-posted and Summarized from SIMON HILL at wired.
My Take: Why aren't the governments and phone companies doing more to stop this. They could, if they wished to do so.