“What’s the best way to stop robocalls?”
“What’s the best way for minimizing robocalls?”
At DeleteMe, we get these questions all the time. Well, truthfully, one of the best ways to reduce the number of spam calls and robocalls you receive is to use DeleteMe. Beyond using DeleteMe, there’s a number of different things that individuals can do to minimize the number of robocalls that they receive.
In the last few years, there has been an explosion in unsolicited call-volume, with Robocalls rising 46% between 2017 and 2018. Consumer complaints to the FTC / FCC have also skyrocketed, prompting recent legislative action, and DOJ / FCC imposing stiff penalties on some of the most-active telemarketers.
However, it is unlikely there is going to be any Government-provided silver-bullet solution to unwanted phone calls anytime soon. Changes to FCC regulations which require carriers to authenticate calls are facing some technological and legal hurdles and will likely take a year or more before the industry-wide standard is fully rolled out; even then, initial impact may still be limited, and phone-spam by overseas scammers will remain unaffected.
In the meantime, many phone carriers have already begun implementing ‘partial-fix’, ad-hoc programs to help customers reduce Robocalls, as well as partnering with 3rd party services which can offer some tangible consumer privacy benefits.
Despite these efforts, many users remain unaware of services or features currently available on their existing networks. Below, we provide a list of useful tips, features and services DeleteMe users should be aware of in their own quest to limit unwanted calls.
1. For Landlines: Add your number to the Federal Do Not Call Registry
It has little measurable effect in reducing unwanted calls, however it does help FCC track violators of its policies, and growth in this database gives legislators indicators of which constituents are concerned about this issue.
2. For Cell Phones: Learn about the integrated call-screening tools provided by Apple and Google
- Apple phones: Set up Do Not Disturb Preferences to screen calls from people outside your contact lists
While it can take a few steps to build a single contact list that is comprehensive, it can be extremely effective in the long run to ensure your phone only rings when it’s from someone you’ve spoken to before.
- Google/Android: Enable Google Assistant Call-Screener
Originally a feature proprietary to Google Pixel phones, the call-screening tool is now available on a wide range of Android devices, provided they’ve been updated to the latest version.
3. Check with your phone service carrier to see what call-blocking tools they offer
In the past year, many of the major phone-carriers have added new tools to help customers screen/block unwanted calls, but relatively few have made efforts to inform all their customers about the existence of these options and their functionality.
- Comcast/Xfinity , Cox Communications , and many others have partnerships w/ Nomorobo
- Verizon Call Filter
- AT&T Call Protect + Mobile Security
- T-Mobile Scam Block and Scam-ID
Call your carrier and ask what features might be available at no added cost; some offer additional screening tools for a fee, but many simply need to be enabled.
4. Avoid most downloaded 3rd party call-blocker apps
There are thousands of call blocking apps being distributed via Google Play Store and Apple App Store, but most have no functionality that your phone can’t do by itself, and simply drain your battery; worse, many have been used for data-scraping.
5. Adopt best practices when answering unknown callers: don’t respond to questions with “Yes” or press any buttons in response to recorded messages
Many of the most pernicious Robocall scams imitate live-callers, and try to solicit you to voluntarily respond with specific information or provide generic ‘affirmatives’. When in doubt, simply repeat requests for the caller to clearly identify themselves; if this results in a transfer from ‘robot’ to human, calmly ask to be removed from their solicitation lists and hang up. There’s little guarantee any will comply, but most will cease pursuing dead-end calls eventually.