Your smartphone rings again—an unknown caller. Could it be a long-lost friend, your child in an emergency, or even the Pope? Regrettably, the truth is all too familiar and infuriating. The proliferation of telemarketing, robocalls, and spam calls is not merely a nuisance; it poses a potential threat.
Here are measures to safeguard your privacy and prevent spam calls.
1. Verify whether your network provider offers call-filtering services.
Your phone service provider might offer products to block nuisance calls.
2. Utilize a call-blocking application.
Call-blocking applications effectively reduce or even deter, spam calls. Beyond their core function of intercepting unknown callers, these apps offer additional features to meet specific user needs, such as spam text filtering or deploying automated responses to confound scammers. Typically, these services require a subscription. Conduct thorough research before committing to an app, confirming its reliability and responsible data usage practices. Popular options include:
RoboKiller seamlessly intercepts and blocks telemarketers, thwarting robocalls—including those with spoofed numbers—using advanced voice recognition technology to identify caller patterns and dynamically update its blacklist. Additionally, the Answer Bot feature engages telemarketers in time-consuming conversations as a form of retribution.
Truecaller displays caller details for numbers not stored in users’ contacts and filters out unwanted calls. The app enables users to search for and block specific names or numbers efficiently.
DoNotPay, a legal services chatbot, empowers users to contest grievances with entities and individuals. Its latest feature, Robo Revenge, streamlines the process of tracking robocalls and facilitates the filing of lawsuits against fraudsters.
The platform issues a complimentary virtual credit card for users to distribute amongst potential scammers. Any attempted transactions on this card enable DoNotPay to extract the scammer’s details, thus unmasking their identity. Users obtain this intelligence to pursue legal action.
3. Explore your phone’s built-in features.
To block calls from unknown numbers on your smartphone, adjust your Apple or Android phone settings accordingly.
For iPhone users with iOS 13 or later, activate the Silence Unknown Callers option by navigating to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and enabling the feature. This will mute unknown callers and redirect them to voicemail, although their calls will still be displayed in your recent calls list.
Android users can typically block unknown callers via their Phone app by tapping the three dots ⋮ > Settings and locating the number blocking option to enable it. The specific steps may vary by device.
Block persistent spam numbers as follows:
Open the Phone app, select Recent, and then press the Info icon beside the number you intend to block. Finally, choose Block this Caller.
Launch the Phone app, select the recent history tab, and choose the number to be blocked. Next, press Block/Report Spam.
4. Never reveal your humanity to the robots.
Scammers employ robocalls to verify the recipient’s humanity and identify valid numbers for continued targeting. They also spoof their numbers to persist in contacting you. Exercise caution when answering calls; avoid acknowledging your name or uttering “yes,” as such responses may be recorded.
5. Refrain from sharing your number indiscriminately.
Your phone number can be compromised through social media visibility, registrations requiring phone details (always scrutinize terms), or data breaches. Conducting a self-search online can reveal your personal information’s exposure.
Should you discover your number on a website, consider requesting its removal from the site administrator. Although certain social media platforms mandate a phone number, you could circumvent this by employing alternatives like Google Voice, temporary number services, or obtaining a burner number.
What are spam calls, and what is their origin?
Spam calls are unsolicited attempts to sell products or services.
The various types include:
Telemarketing calls serve as a strategy for businesses to pitch products or services to prospects. Telemarketers typically have daily call quotas to reach potential customers.
Companies and agencies utilize robocalls to notify customers about imminent appointments and reservations. In Singapore, many reservation platforms employ robocalls to verify restaurant bookings. Such calls are lawful as customers have furnished their contact details and consented to potential calls during the reservation process.
Typically, illegal robocalls are unsolicited and your number may have been acquired illicitly, either from a dubious source or via a data breach.
Scam calls are deceptive attempts to extort money or personal information, and while similar to spam calls in their nuisance, they are primarily distinguished by the malicious intent of the caller, often involving illicit demands for payment or data.
Why am I receiving an excessive number of spam calls on my mobile?
The proliferation of spam calls is primarily driven by their profitability for telemarketers, who face minimal risk due to the ease of concealing identities and insufficient regulatory measures to deter such practices.
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Discerning whether a call is spam can often be a challenging task. Nonetheless, experts in the field have proposed that phone calls containing country codes could potentially be indicative of spam activity.
Should you inadvertently respond to a scam call, the fraudsters may flag your number as "active". Consequently, this could potentially increase the likelihood of repeated attempts from them to contact you in the future
Halting spam calls can be quite challenging. Nevertheless, to shield yourself from further intrusive spam calls you should implement the steps discussed in the article
Should one consider declining or simply ignoring unsolicited spam calls: which is the more prudent option?
Ideally, disregarding and rejecting spam calls should result in a decrease in the number of such calls.