Unwanted calls from strangers or robots can be more irritating than a crashing iPhone all day. Robocall scams, which account for around 50% of all phone calls, are just like spam emails years ago. Seriously, ugh!
What are robocalls and how do they work?
Robocalls, which are uninvited communications that include recorded messages from various sources (national and international), are called unsolicited communications. These computerized calls can be made at any hour, from telemarketers to scammers. In 2019, the U.S. received 54.6 billion apps to stop app to stop spam calls and texts. citizens received 54.6 billion spam calls, totaling 14 calls per month per phone owner. That’s insane.
These drive-by calls are designed to scare you, steal your identity, and sell you things you don’t need. These calls also use fake caller IDs and spoofing in order to falsify the area code information. Robocalls may appear to be real phone numbers and belong to real people. However, they can deceive others by using their number. Robocalls can be disruptive and dangerous.
The FCC is taking action
Although certain types of robocalls can be allowed, such as airline flight notifications, appointment reminders and local public service messages, the government prohibits businesses from soliciting products or services via phone calls. The FCC unanimously passed a new rule that allows carriers to block unwanted and illegal calls. Although carriers were previously allowed to block suspicious calls, subscribers had to opt-in before they could do so. They can now block calls even if they have not been granted permission.
However, this protection may not come at no cost to you. This protection is not free. However, it could be blocked from automated calls coming from legitimate sources such as your doctor’s office. Credit, banking, as well as healthcare companies, are trying to make sure that auto-generated calls from their customers can still be received.
Here are some tips to help you avoid getting robocalls from your iPhone.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions
You can turn off the ringer and ignore the vibrations until the caller leaves. If you don’t pick up, make sure your friends and family know that they must always leave a message. If an unknown, unidentified caller appears in your missed calls, and they have not left a message or voicemail, you can delete the call immediately.
It’s better to answer the call and then hang up. Your number could be placed on the line for more interference if you answer a robocall. This lets scammers know that you are willing to engage. This makes it more likely that your number will be transferred to a human caller, who might try to get information from you or trick you into giving your hard-earned money.
Unknown callers should be silenced
Apple allows you to turn off unknown callers that iOS can’t find in your contact list. This mode can be enabled by updating your contacts. It will make it easier to ignore spammy calls.
- Go to Settings on your iPhone
- Scroll down to select Telephone to start.
- You will find a variety of options to control calls under the Phones section. To begin, select Silence unknown callers.
- You should ensure that Silence unknown Callers has been enabled on your iPhone.
This feature supports the FCC’s new STIR and SHAKEN standards. Additionally, a checkmark is placed next to calls in your Recents list when the carrier verifies these phone numbers. This means that the call is not spoofed.
Be sure to not miss important calls from anyone not in your contact list. To ensure that you don’t miss an important communication, make sure to check your voicemail.
Directly silence junk callers
Apple’s iOS 14 has added Silence Junk Phones to its menu. This uses your carrier’s spam-spotting abilities to allow you to skip some steps. However, it might not be available on every carrier. This is how to enable it.
- Go to the Settings App on your iPhone.
- Scroll down to select Telephone.
- Scroll down to Section Calls and choose Call Blocking, Identification.
- If Silence Junk Phones is present, make sure it’s enabled. Some settings can be managed by third-party apps. We will discuss this further below.
Separate ringtones are best
To easily identify family members and friends, you can assign ringtones to different numbers. Here’s how:
- Open the Phone App.
- Tap Contacts at the bottom.
- Click on the contact that you wish to change.
- Scroll to the top right corner and tap Edit.
- Scroll down and tap Ringtone. It currently reads default.
- Choose the ringtone that you would like to be assigned to this contact. Custom-Made Ringtones Included. The selected ringtone is checked.
- To assign the ringtone, tap Done at the upper right corner.
- To complete the change, tap Done at the upper right corner.
Now, the ringtone’s name will be displayed beside the contact. This is what you hear if that contact calls.
Block individual telephone numbers
It is simple to block individual numbers from your iPhone. It may not solve your robocall problem. Scammers know about the block feature and use different numbers every time they call. While blocking a number is a good idea, it will not solve the problem of robocalls in the long term. Here’s how you do it.
- Open the Phone App.
- Scroll to the bottom for Recents.
- Tap the Information icon next to the unknown caller. It looks like an “i” within a circle.
- Scroll down to the bottom and tap Block this Caller.
- Tap Block Contact in the pop-up window.
Similar options are also available for spam text messages. You can select Blocked Phones under Settings to view all blocked numbers at once. This allows you to check for errors or confirm that you have blocked the correct number.
Do not disturb
When turned on, Apple’s Do Not disturb feature notifies you only about calls from your contact list. All other numbers are sent silently in the background.
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap Do not Disturb.
- Tap Allow calls from as listed under Telephone.
- You can make a selection like Favorites or All Contacts.
- Tap the Back Arrow.
- To toggle the feature, tap Do not Disturb. It can also be activated by touching the Crescent Moon symbol in the control center.
Register for the National Do Not Call Registry
Although it may not eliminate all robocalls completely, you can still enter your information into this registry. This list is government-backed and makes it illegal to call your number from any legitimate telemarketing company.
Go to the official site to join and enter your mobile number. You can also call 1-888-382-2222 from any number on the list. Until you request removal or changes to your phone number, your number will remain on the list. It takes up to one month for the Do Not Call List to take effect. You can still be called by charities, political organizations, and pollsters. Legally, you can be called by any place you have done business with in the past 18 months.
You can also file complaints with the FCC reporting the date, time, and description of the robocall message.
Make use of the resources offered by your carrier
Major phone carriers already recognize and filter out robocalls. Twelve major U.S. telephone carriers have to implement new technology (STIR, SHAKEN) in response to the FCC’s new rule. These technologies can be used to detect robocaller-spoofing techniques that make phone numbers appear local. These systems must be in operation by June 30, 2021. June 30th, 2022 is the deadline for small carriers.
In partnership with 51 U.S. Attorneys General, the pledge will see carriers offering free anti-robocall tools. Major carriers currently offer free basic services and premium services at a monthly charge.
AT&T Call Protection is a free iOS application that subscribers can download. It can block suspected spam calls and prevent fraud. You can also enable it in your account settings to block unwanted calls. The Premium version costs $4 per month.
Verizon offers a free call blocking service that blocks 300 million scam and spam phone numbers. It already has spam alert and call-blocking tools that can identify these numbers. The Premium version costs $3 per month.
T-Mobile offers network-side features that run in the background to fight spam calls and robocalls. Scam ID is used to identify spam numbers. Scam Block allows you to block these numbers by dialing the #662# number on your phone (or turn it off using #632#).
T-Mobile offers a Name Identification service for $4 per month. This allows you to identify and provide information such as the name, address, type of organization, and location.
Sprint customers can sign up for the Premium Caller ID service or use My Sprint’s free platform to safeguard themselves against robocalls. This service gives customers a threat level indicator that will give them an indication of the suspiciousness of a call. It costs $3 per month. Although it doesn’t block spam calls automatically, the service can give you an indication of how suspicious a call is based on its threat level. You can either answer a call or block a number. Or report it to stop future calls.