Automated calls are a type of phone call made with an automatic dialer and consist of a kind of pre-recorded message. They can be made anywhere in the world, and while not all of them are illegal, they are uniformly annoying. Moreover, they may even be the favorite tool of scammers. One of the best ways to stop robocalls is to block unwanted numbers and unwanted calls.
In this guide, we are going to show you how to stop robocalls on different types of cell phones and landlines. We'll also review the best third-party apps you can use to block robocalls.
How to stop robocalls on an iPhone
Robocalls can be a number of things. It could be a political group asking for your support, charities soliciting donations, or telemarketers looking to sell products, a scam or whatever. Since robocalls tend to contain pre-recorded messages or an artificial voice, it's easy to tell them apart from other types of calls. Although many robocalls are legal, you may want to avoid them altogether.
If you keep getting robocalls on your iPhone, the best thing to do is to block them. By blocking unwanted calls on your phone, you can ensure that unwanted calls and illegal robocalls never even reach your number. Although there are many third-party apps that you can download to your phone, iPhone has a built-in feature to block phone numbers.
To block a specific number on your iPhone, follow the steps below:
- Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
- Go to the "Recents" tab in the bottom menu.
- Find the robocall you want to block.
- Tap the "i" icon on the right side of the tab.
- Go to the bottom of the screen and select "Block this caller".
- Confirm that you want to block this number.
However, this method only works for robocalls that have already attempted to contact you. Another option is to silence unknown callers, although this will not only reduce robocalls, but also all other calls from unknown numbers. If that's something you want to do, here's how to achieve it:
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down to "Phone" in the menu.
- Tap the “Silence unknown callers” tab.
- Toggle the switch to enable this feature.
If you choose to do so, all unknown calls will be disconnected, sent to voicemail and saved to the "Recents" list in your call log.
How to stop robocalls on an Android phone
To block a number on your Android device, here's what you do:
- Open the Phone app on your Android.
- Go to the “Recents” tab.
- Next to the "Search for contacts and places" bar, tap the three dots in the upper right corner.
- Select “Settings”.
- Switch to the “Blocked numbers” option.
- Choose the “Add number” button.
- Enter the automated call number in the context menu.
- Press the "Block" button.
Just like iPhones, this method only works for specific robocalls that have already called your number. Android phones give you the option to block all unknown numbers. This is how it's done:
- Open the Phone app on your Android device.
- Tap "Recent".
- Go to the search bar at the top of the screen and select the three dots on the right side.
- Choose "Settings" from the menu.
- Find the “Blocked numbers” tab.
- Toggle the "Unknown" switch at the top of the screen.
This will block calls from unidentified callers. You will also not be able to receive calls or texts from blocked numbers.
Although these two methods do not allow blocked numbers to reach you again, they do not protect you from future robocalls. The best thing to do is download a third-party app. There are many useful anti-robocall apps, which we will discuss later.
How to stop robocalls on a landline
Although cell phones are more susceptible to robocalls, they have more protection options. Landlines, on the other hand, cannot use third-party apps or built-in features to block robocalls.
If you continue to receive robocalls on a landline, the best thing to do is turn to the National Do Not Call List service, which is designed to protect landline and wireless phone numbers. Once registered, telemarketers will no longer be able to call your number.
You can register in two ways. You can either call one of two numbers: 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). If you choose to call, make sure this is the number you want to save. Another option is to register on the government website. This service is completely free and does not expire. You might still receive calls from politicians or charities, as they are not illegal. If you happen to receive a robocall even after signing up, you can report it.
How to stop robocalls with Verizon
There are different apps you can use to block robocalls. Verizon Wireless offers a free app called Verizon Call Filter. It is compatible with mobile devices and cordless home phones. The free version of the app includes the following features: spam detection, spam filter, unwanted and blocked call log, neighborhood spoofing filter and an option to report spam. Call Filter Plus, on the other hand, also lets you identify caller IDs, scan for spam, create a personal block list, and use the spam risk counter.
After installing this app and activating it, it will automatically block spam and robocalls. It even lets you cancel robocalls ahead of time. The spam filter feature shows you medium and high risk spam calls. You can send spam calls directly to your voicemail or block them directly from the application. Most importantly, it gives you the option to report spam calls to make sure they don't bother you or anyone else again.
How to stop robocalls with AT&T
AT&T Call Protect is an app you can use to block unwanted calls and unknown callers. Thanks to AT&T's analytics system, the app has a track record of blocking billions of unwanted robocalls. You can find this app on the Apps Store or Google Play, though it's only free for AT&T Mobility subscribers.
In addition to blocking spam calls, you can also use AT&T Call Protect to manage unwanted calls, block spam with Siri, and identify spam calls before you even answer. Once the app is installed, go to your phone's settings and enable AT&T Call Protect to modify your phone's calls.
To add a robocall to your personal block list on AT&T, follow the steps below:
- Launch AT&T on your mobile device.
- Go to the "Block" tab.
- Go to "My block list".
- Tap the “+” icon.
From here you can enter a number or select a specific number from your contacts or call log. You can also block spammy calls. If a potential robocall calls your number, the app will let you know by labeling it "Potential Fraud" or "Spam Risk."
It comes with in-app purchases for enhanced caller ID and reverse number lookup, among others. For example, if you want to block a number with a hidden caller ID, you can only do that with AT&T Call Protect Plus.
Will the government ever do anything about these robocalls?
Even though the Anti-Robocall Act with extensive robocall regulations came into effect in 2022, robocalls continue to be a nuisance around the world. In fact, 48 million robocalls were made in 2022 alone. Since the passage of the anti-robocall law, however, illegal robocall violations can be subject to a fine of up to $10.
As a law enforcement agency, the FCC has dedicated resources to combating illegal robocalls. You can report a robocall to the FCC here.
To avoid robocall scams, the best thing you can do as an individual is to avoid answering calls from unknown numbers and never give out your personal information over the phone.
Don't fall for the robocall trap
Robocalls are a global phenomenon. To put a stop to this, you can block known spam calls and/or all unknown numbers, perhaps with a third-party app that can do this for you.
What type of robocalls do you receive most often? What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.