December 14, 2022

How to stop unwanted calls

How to stop unwanted calls

Whether you've had dinner interrupted for the third time this week or you've found yourself dodging calls in the middle of the workday, it's frustrating when people call who shouldn’t. Even if you think you've done everything possible to prevent your number from getting into the wrong hands, you likely still receive unwanted calls on a daily basis. 

How can you stop these unwanted calls? And how did someone get your number in the first place?

Who’s behind the unwanted calls you receive?

There's rarely just a single person behind a spam call. Typically, it's an organization or company with a specific technology and a call center with your number on their to-call list. Their intention? To steal your money and access your information. 

When a phone number appears on your phone that you don’t recognize, you’re unlikely to answer it. Chances are, you assume it's spam and try to avoid it. But then, you're left wondering, what if the number was legitimate? What if the caller was indeed someone important?

We can't automatically assume that every call is suspicious or fraudulent. Some might be good and necessary. When people talk about unwanted calls or spam calls, however, they're typically referring to these four types of phone calls:

  • Telemarketing calls
  • Legal robocalls
  • Illegal robocalls
  • Phone scams

Here’s what these categories entail:

Telemarketing calls

A telemarketer is, simply speaking, a salesperson from a legally registered business. Their purpose is to call prospective customers to inquire if they would like to use their services or products. This tactic is often referred to as "cold calling." While cold calls are legally permitted, any business, charity, political organization, or telephone surveyor must abide by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC’s guidelines regulate when telemarketers are allowed to call, how they can communicate with prospective customers, and how often they're permitted to reach out.

While these calls are legal, you can still ask to be removed from their list.

Legal robocalls

Calls that play a recorded message once you've picked up the phone are called "robocalls." The legal variety are those sent out by any organization seeking to share urgent or critical information. These legitimate robocalls can come from the likes of doctors' offices, schools, and charities.

Illegal robocalls

There's a distinct line between legal and illegal robocalls. Once the recorded message is not about an urgent notification but instead about a sales pitch, it's likely unlawful and a scam. Unwanted phone calls like these should be reported.


Scams are the most dangerous type of spam call and, unfortunately, are very widespread. Americans lose billions every year to phone scams. 

Scammers often target vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with significant debt. They often lure their victims with a big prize or use scare tactics to make them think they must act immediately. Some scams are designed to appeal to your heartstrings so you provide a small donation, only for the scammer to take far more from your account than promised.

The best solution to avoid becoming a victim of a phone scam is not to answer any of these calls, but that can be difficult to do. We recommend protecting yourself with a third-party spam call blocking app like Robokiller.

Free 7 day trial
Fight back against spam and reclaim your phone.
You’re one step away from a spam-free phone.
Get Started

How spammers get your number

Unwanted callers get their hands on phone numbers in numerous ways:

  • Autodialing at random
  • Scraping the internet with specific software to find phone numbers from public databases
  • Using government sources and publicly available information to get landline numbers
  • Purchasing lists of phone numbers obtained through contests
  • Taking data from salespeople who have sold information

Once someone answers the phone, their number is typically added to a database to be called repeatedly. You can block and report unwanted calls, but you’ll want to be sure not to answer them for that reason.

What's more, you may think these are different people calling you, but it could be the same ones calling you from other spoofed phone numbers.

But fear not, there are ways you can learn how to stop unwanted calls on cell phones and landlines.

Can the Do Not Call List prevent unwanted calls?

The Do Not Call list was not designed to stop unwanted calls. However, while it allows people to unsubscribe from legal telemarketing and cold calls, it falls short in blocking phone scams and spam calls from illegal operators. No scammer will ever pay mind to the FCC’s rules, so you’ll need additional protection.

What can you do to stop unwanted calls?

You can stop unwanted calls on cell phones and landline numbers with a few steps:

  • Use the Do Not Call list as a first step. Although, as previously mentioned, it won’t eliminate scams, registering for the Do Not Call list will limit the number of unwanted telemarketing calls you receive.
  • Don't answer calls you don’t recognize. This is especially the case if you think they might be spam or scams.
  • Use a third-party app like Robokiller to eliminate spam calls. Robokiller takes things a step further by identifying scams before they reach your phone, so you’re safe no matter whether the caller is spoofing their number or not.

How do I stop unwanted spam calls for free?

You want to stop unwanted calls but you don't want to spend a lot of money, especially on a service you're not too sure about just yet. There are steps you can take to reduce spam calls without having to pay for them. The easiest way to do so is to block the phone number when they call you, which eliminates their ability to reach you again. Sure, it takes a few minutes out of your day, but it prevents that person from calling again.

The problem is, they can just call you from a different number. Robokiller protects you against spoofed calls, and does so for a low monthly or annual price. You can try Robokiller free for 7 days.

Live life spam-call-free®
Sign up for a 7-day free trial

What are the best apps for blocking unwanted calls?

When scrolling through the App Store or Google Play Store, you can choose from various apps that claim to block unwanted calls from reaching you. Although there are plenty of options available, we highly recommend using Robokiller because it empowers you to take back control over your phone and block 99% of unwanted messages.

Robokiller uses predictive spam call blocking to proactively analyze each incoming call before it rings your phone. It then determines whether it's spam or a legitimate call. That way scammers won’t have the chance to pitch their cons to you.

Is it possible to block unwanted calls from a specific number?

With Robokiller, you can customize your blocklist to include any phone number you don’t want to hear from. Simply add a phone number and they’ll never reach you again.

Is there anything I can do to really stop spam phone calls?

There are ways to be proactive about blocking calls. As mentioned above, registering with the Do Not Call list is a good first step. Also, take the time to learn about your phone's integrated tools. You can learn how to stop unwanted calls on your iPhone by entering the settings and updating your preferences. There are different steps for Android phones, but all modern phones offer some level of protection to enable you to block unwanted calls.

From there, we recommend downloading Robokiller. It’s the most effective way to stop unwanted calls for good. The Robokiller app not only provides protection against unwanted callers, but it also features Answer Bots that get on the phone on your behalf and waste scammers’ time.

Ready to get started? Start your free 7-day trial today.

Free 7 day trial
Fight back against spam and reclaim your phone.
You’re one step away from a spam-free phone (and a little poetic justice, thanks to Answer Bots).
Sign up for a 7-day free trial

Featured articles

American Solar scam calls and how to avoid them
January 24, 2024
American Solar scam calls and how to avoid them
Read more
arrow right
Data protection in the digital age: Why it's so important
January 24, 2024
Data protection in the digital age: Why it's so important
Read more
arrow right
How to protect yourself from a cyber attack
January 24, 2024
How to protect yourself from a cyber attack
Read more
arrow right