May 21, 2020

Why is Call Screening the Future of the Phone Call?

Why is Call Screening the Future of the Phone Call?

Your iPhone rings, and you don't recognize the number. It’s local. Maybe it's someone from work, or perhaps it's Mom calling from her friend's phone. It might be important. Should you pick it up? Let it go to voicemail? Just ignore it?

This probably sounds like a familiar dilemma. You receive a call from a number you don't recognize, and you agonize about answering the phone. It's probably happened countless times before, and it's a constant battle. The phone rings, and it’s an unknown number. Answer? Ignore? What should you do?

For what it's worth, the majority of Americans wouldn't answer the phone in the above scenario. Research shows that 61% of people regularly ignore calls. Most of the time, they presume unknown numbers are sales calls perhaps trying to sell them insurance or investments or vacations.

But what's the point in having a phone if you duck all of your calls? What if it’s someone important? What if it's Mom? Dad? Your boss? Law enforcement?

Imagine if you knew who was calling every single time and whether it was a legitimate phone call. You can with call screening. It provides you with valuable information so you can decide whether to answer a call—or ignore it.

Call screening provides more benefits than you probably realize. With call screening, you'd never miss an important call again. Like a job offer. Or an urgent message from your kid's school. You'd be able to block nuisance callers instantly, and you wouldn't have to agonize over unknown callers.

This blog post tells you everything you need to know about call screening and the products you can use to make your life easier, including products that use the latest artificial intelligence (AI).

What is call screening, exactly?

Call screening is a technology that identifies incoming calls. It lets you know who’s calling and why without your having to pick up the phone—so that you can decide what actions to take.


This takes less than a second, so you can spend less time worrying about who's calling you and more time on the important things in life.

If you receive multiple calls a day, this technology is a life-saver. No more deliberation. No more guilt. No more wasted time. You can quickly distinguish between genuine calls and spam calls.

Without call screening technology, all you see is a random collection of numbers on your caller ID, and not much else. There's no name, location, or other information. With call screening technology, you know who the person is on the other end.

"Call screening, also known as call whispering, refers to the ability for a call recipient to obtain information about the caller after answering the call but without actually starting the conversation with the caller," says Bandwidth. "For the caller, the call is still ringing while the call recipient is able to listen to a recording of information such as the caller’s name and purpose of the call. This provides the caller with the ability to accept, decline, or block specific numbers."

What are the benefits of call screening?

1. Easily "Accept or Reject" Calls

With call screening, you can decide whether to accept or reject a call with the push of a button. It's that simple. Without call screening, some people desperately try to Google an unknown number while the call is still ringing. In most cases, the caller has stopped ringing by the time they locate the number on Google.

2. Block Unwanted Numbers

If call screening identifies a scammer, you can block their phone number immediately. It just takes a second. You can also easily add numbers to your blocked list, whether they’re individual phone numbers or entire area or country codes. This gives you total control over who's calling you. Change your mind? It’s just as easy to unblock blocked numbers.

3. Find Out the Name of the Caller

If the information is available, you can find out the name of the person (or business) who is calling you from an unknown number. Just look at the caller ID. With that information, you can decide whether to "accept" or "reject" the phone call.

4. Set Up Audio Prompts

Some call screening services offer audio prompts. These let you hear a particular ringtone when an unknown caller is ringing you, which is useful if you're busy at work and don't want to look down at your phone. You can also create prompts where an automated voice reads out the name of the person who is calling you.

5. Stop Scammers Blocking the Line

The longer a scammer calls, the more time you are unable to receive calls from genuine people. With call screening technology, you can quickly identify who's calling and block the number immediately, which "frees up" the line for people you actually know.

Why is call screening necessary?

Humans, as a general rule, don't like talking to people they don't know. You can apply this same principle to telephone calls. Typically, people don't like receiving calls from unknown numbers, because it could be anyone on the end of the line—a salesperson, a scammer, or a prankster.


All too often, people waste so much time deliberating over whether to accept a call. Sure, it could be someone important. But it might just be a nuisance caller trying to sell stuff. People are wary about the person on the other end of the phone. And with very good reason.

  • A whopping 50% of all cell phone traffic is robocalls or spam. That means that one in every two calls are scammy.
  • In February 2020 alone, Americans received 5.2 billion robocalls. That works out as 167.3 million robocalls every single day. Or nearly 2,000 robocalls every second.
  • Over the course of 2019, spammers made more than 60 billion calls to smartphones.

This is the primary reason why people don't answer calls from numbers they don't recognize. The risk is too great. What if it's a scammer on the other end? What if it's someone who wants to steal their personal and financial data?

The problem is only going to get worse. Despite legislative changes and initiatives from both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), robocalls are still a thing—a big thing, and they are ruining people's lives. Every single day, people from across the United States fall victim to scammers over the phone. They, unknowingly, hand over their bank details, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth. They lose their life savings, their retirement funds, their dignity.

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and nobody is safe. "More than one in five people (21%) have either accidentally or intentionally given their private information to a robocall scammer," says Clutch. "Robocallers use a variety of tactics to increase the success of their scams. The most troubling is known as 'neighbor spoofing,' or tricking a caller ID to display a local number to the person being called, even if the call is placed from far away." They added: "Nearly half of people (44 percent) say they receive a robocall with an area code matching their personal phone number at least once a day."

This is what makes call screening even more effective. People deliberate over unknown local numbers the most. These numbers could be from someone they know—their friend, their boss, their relative—but they might not be. That's the dilemma right there. Call screening eliminates these doubts by doing all the hard work. This service tells you who is calling and whether the number is likely to be spam.

Why not just block the number instead?

Sure, you could just block numbers from unwanted callers but, it probably won't work. Here's why: Scammers are getting more and more clever. They use super-smart auto-dialing software that lets them call hundreds of thousands or even millions of people in just a few seconds. Often, they will change their phone numbers to prevent them from being blocked by carriers and the FCC. Think of it as a game of whack-a-mole. You block one number. But then another scammer calls you. So you block that number. But then yet another scammer calls you. This can go on and on and on.

The best way to deal with this problem is to use a call screener that will do all this hard work for you. You can still block numbers with these services, but the process is so much easier (more on this later).

Changing your number won't help, either. The majority of Americans receive unwanted calls, and the problem will still be there if you change your digits. Plus, you'll have the trouble of telling all of your friends, family, and colleagues about your new contact information, which can take a lot of time. And worse yet? Your number could be used to place spam calls!

"Within days of setting up my work phone—nobody had my number—it was barraged with spam calls. The robocallers aren’t dialing you from a preexisting list; they’re dialing phones at random using computer-generated numbers," says TechCrunch. "Often the spammers will reel off a list of numbers based off your own area code to make the number look more local and convincing. Sometimes the spoofing is done so badly that there are extra digits in the phone numbers."

Who benefits from call screening?

Nobody is immune from the impacts of spam calls. Here’s who can benefit from preventing spam calls through call screening:

  • For many businesses, it's important to receive calls from legitimate customers. Scammers, however, can make that difficult. With call screening, businesspeople can control incoming calls quickly and safely.
  • People with a high profile, such as politicians or celebrities, often receive prank calls, and this can quickly take its toll. Call screening provides a chance to vet calls from unknown numbers and take back control.
  • People with listed numbers are more likely to receive calls from unknown numbers as scammers and robocallers often scrape public databases and attempt to contact these numbers. The FCC provides guidance on how to remove your number from public listings, but this might not stop the problem if scammers already have your information. Call screening, however, provides a solution.
  • Overall, anyone can benefit from call screening. This is because most scammers don’t typically have specific targets; they are autodialing hundreds of phone numbers per minute at random.

What are people saying on social media?

Calls from unknown numbers impact everyone, from politicians to business people, from influencers to celebrities. Here's what people are saying about this topic on social media:

  • "I block the number of every robocall I get now but they always come back with another number that is just a digit or two off or just totally Unknown, so they break through," says Director of Influencer Relations at Warner Bros. Games.
  • "Is there a term for when you're actually expecting an important call from an unknown number, so you're forced to answer all phone calls for a certain time period, making robocall interactions a near-certainty?" says Gabe Rivera.
  • "How do you handle automated calls from legitimate companies where you have business like, say, Visa or Verizon? The robocall epidemic has made me distrustful of calls from any unknown number, even when the person on the other end claims to be the real deal," says reporter Steven Overly.
  • "If an unknown number with a '222' area code rings up your phone in the middle of the night – don’t call back. The FCC is warning of a new 'One Ring' or 'Wangiri' robocall scam that tries to get people to call back that number," warns television network The CW Philadelphia.

How does call screening work?

Call screening works in a relatively simple way. When you receive an incoming call, call screening services check phone databases to verify whether the call is legitimate or not. They then put that information on your caller ID screen so you can decide whether to answer the phone.


Call screening comes in different varieties. Some phone carriers provide this service (usually for a monthly fee), while other companies let you download their call screening app on the App Store or Google Play. Not all call screening services are of the same mind.

How to Choose a Call Screening Service

The problem with many call screening services is that they only provide basic information, such as "Scam Likely." It means that the caller could be a scammer, but there's no way to be 100% sure. Call screening services that are more accurate provide the following information:

  • The name of the person calling (when this information is available)
  • The location of the person calling (when available)
  • Whether the caller could potentially be a scammer
  • Other important information that you should know

When you know all of this information, you can decide whether to accept, reject, or send the call to voicemail. When looking for the best option for a call screening service, look for one powered by artificial intelligence (or AI). Think of it like a credit check when you apply for a credit card. The lender wants to make sure you are who you say you are before they give you money. Call screening essentially does the same thing, but just really, really quickly. It checks databases and other intelligence to verify the person on the other end of the phone before giving them the opportunity to talk to you.

What is RoboKiller?

At this point, you really need to hear about RoboKiller. For years, RoboKiller has been one of the top-rated call blocking apps on both the App Store and Google Play, and now it's introducing a brand new call screening feature that will make your life easier.

Currently, RoboKiller’s call blocking algorithm predicts and blocks 99% of the robocallers and spammers who attempt to call you. As a result, your phone stops ringing from scam calls. For the 1% of unfamiliar phone numbers that are not saved to your contacts, RoboKiller’s new Call Screening Assistant goes even further to protect you. It answers phone calls and asks the caller to verify their identity and reason for calling. RoboKiller will then give you the information you need to decide whether or not to answer—all before your phone rings.

Learn about RoboKiller's call screening capabilities.

In addition to blocking spam calls, RoboKiller gets revenge on spammers with Answer Bots. These Answer Bots subject spammers to a lengthy recorded message (and they record the spammer’s response). RoboKiller will also share the numbers of these annoying scammers with other people who use the app, so they won't receive robocalls, either. This means you join the fight against the ever-growing problem of unwanted scam calls and helping other Americans.

Here are some of the other benefits of RoboKiller that you need to know about:

  • RoboKiller utilizes FTC-award-winning audio-fingerprinting tech.
  • You can add scammers to your block list with the Automated Protection feature (meaning that your phone doesn’t have to ring to block a call).
  • You can use the Pause Call Blocking feature to stop calls being blocked if you are waiting for a call from an unknown number.
  • You can send spammers to hilariously long recordings, hosted by our Answer Bots, that will give them a taste of their own medicine!
  • You can control the phone numbers you want to block and allow the phone numbers you want to receive. You can customize these lists at any time.
  • You can view all blocked and missed calls and see who has been trying to call you.
  • You can report scam numbers you have found, which will help the RoboKiller community.
  • RoboKiller has a customer service team (with real human beings!), who are available seven days a week.

RoboKiller has been featured in Wired, Engadget, Vice, NBC, and The New York Times, among others.

Want to try RoboKiller for FREE for 7 days? Click here to find out more!

What are people saying about RoboKiller?

Wrapping it up

Unknown numbers are more than a nuisance. They slow you down at work. They stop you in your tracks. They make you think twice about answering your own cell phone.

It shouldn't be like this. With call screening, you control who can contact you. You prevent scammers from targeting you, and you ensure that you answer calls from the people who really matter.

Not all call screening services are the same. If you want the best spam call protection, you need to look for a service that provides the latest information based on AI and other intelligence. That service is RoboKiller.

With RoboKiller, you know who is calling you, and you know whether it’s a legitimate phone call. You have the information you need to decide whether you should answer a call or ignore it, and you can make that decision without having to worry.

RoboKiller gives you the freedom to answer your phone. Click here to find out more.

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