Do you have a problem with robocalls? You're not the only one. More than 63 billion robocalls were made in the United States last year — that's a massive 22% increase from 2018.
You might think your phone carrier will solve the problem. Or the government. Or even the police. But they won't. Only a robocall blocker app provides you with a viable solution. But before you head to the App Store or Google Play, there are some things you need to know.
In this comprehensive guide to robocall blocker apps, you'll learn the following:
There were 3 billion robocalls in May 2020 alone — 3% more than in April. That's around 10 robocalls for every American, or around 2.5 a week.
Although overall robocalls have fallen during the current pandemic, they are still a huge problem, and the numbers will likely increase in the months and years to come. Robocalls are still the No. 1 complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Thankfully, there are solutions that fight annoying robocalls. The best solution is a robocall blocking app because this prevents robocalls from reaching you in the first place. Other traditional methods — like reporting robocalls to the FTC or the police — won't do much. All you need is access to the App Store or Google Play, and you can download a robocall blocking app in a few seconds.
Robocall blocking apps put the power in your hands. You determine which calls reach your phone. You decide what counts as "spam." These apps utilize a national database of scam numbers so you have a better idea of who is calling you when your phone rings. Say goodbye to telemarketers, scammers, and criminals!
Here's the most recent advice about robocall blocking apps from the FTC:
"One of the best ways to block unwanted calls on a mobile phone is to download a call-blocking app. A call-blocking app acts as a filter. The company behind the app uses call data or reports from users to predict which calls are illegal or likely scams. The app then intercepts those calls before they reach you. Some apps are free, but others you have to pay for."
The FTC also recommends the following:
Different robocall blocking apps work in different ways, but they typically do the following:
The FTC states that call blocker apps can give you the ability to:
Type in "robocall blocker app" on the App Store or Google Play, and you'll find several different services. Some of these apps are free; others cost money. The free ones provide limited spam protection and call blocking features. Some of the other ones require you to sign up for a subscription and offer more functionality for managing (and permanently stopping!) robocalls.
Generally, you get what you pay for. Free apps might be "glitchy." Or just as spammy as the spam calls they try to block. You need a comprehensive app with the following:
When deciding on the best service, check an app's compatibility with your phone's operating system and phone carrier. Technological limitations can render an app completely useless.
People might tell you not to download a robocall blocking app on your phone. "There are other solutions," they claim. Let's look into each of these so-called solutions:
The National Do Not Call Registry lets you sign up (for free) and opt-out of receiving marketing messages from legitimate companies. While it's not a bad idea to sign up to the registry (you can do that here), few robocallers care about Do Not Call, and this won't stop them from contacting you.
Again, this isn't a bad idea. However, the FTC doesn't have the technological resources to stop you from receiving robocalls. Reporting robocalls to the FTC (you can do that here) lets the government/law enforcement identity robocall trends around the world, but it won't prevent robocallers from calling your phone.
Sure, you can block robocalls on your phone. But this won't stop the problem, either. The thing is, robocallers generate hundreds of thousands of unique phone numbers every day so they can still contact you. Blocking numbers on your phone is pretty useless. And even if robocallers only had one number, this wouldn't solve the problem. If someone is determined to reach you, they can add *67 before your phone number and bypass your phone's block list. (Yes, this is still a thing in 2020!) You can stop this from happening by adjusting some of the settings on your smartphone, but it's complicated and few people understand how to do it properly.
Recently, Apple introduced a robocall blocking feature for iOS 13, which sends unknown callers straight to voicemail. Again, this doesn't really stop robocallers (it just sends them somewhere else). Plus, the feature can prevent important, genuine callers from reaching you. Google introduced a call screening feature via the Phone app on some Android and Pixel phones. The feature screens callers and provides users with a transcript, but this doesn't always work as it should.
We covered STIR/SHAKEN recently here, and we think it's a great idea. This new protocol, launched last year, uses the latest tech to identify unknown callers that contact you. But all STIR/SHAKEN really does is tell you whether a call is likely to be spam. (We've heard lots of reports that it identifies genuine callers as robocallers.) Plus, it won't stop robocallers from contacting you in the first place.
At the end of 2019, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) was signed into law. This bill lets the US government charge penalties to individuals and companies who violate robocall laws. Although this is a step in the right direction, it won't stop robocallers who don't care about the law. Plus, many robocallers operate from outside the U.S.
You could adjust the settings on your phone so you only receive calls from your contacts. The process is slightly different for Android and iPhone devices, but it would certainly prevent robocallers from reaching you. However, the problem with this is that you'd never be able to receive calls from people not in your contacts. This includes schools, doctors, pharmacies, work colleagues, etc.
As you can see, none of the "solutions" above provide you with the protection you need. Some are just impractical. None of these services and features are designed to combat your robocall problem.
We get it. Robocalls are frustrating. So you'd think the government and phone carriers would do more to stop this problem. The scary thing is that they are, but they can't (or won't) do much more because of the following reasons:
Not many people know this but phone carriers actually make money when they connect robocalls to your phone (just like they do with all calls). This means there's little incentive for them to do anything about the problem. Plus, investing in new tech to solve the issue is expensive.
The telecommunications industry in the U.S. is highly regulated. This means legislation that pertains to robocalls takes a long time to implement.
This is the biggest hurdle. We mentioned earlier that robocallers generate hundreds of thousands of unique phone numbers every day. They can also spoof phone numbers (see below). This makes the problem of robocalls too difficult to solve, especially when so many robocallers operate from abroad.
Phone spoofing is a recent phenomenon. It lets robocallers hide their identities. Here's how it works: A robocaller calls you from a number that's not their real number to trick you into answering the call. Often, these numbers can't be traced. Again, you can block this number on your phone, but we've explained why this is fruitless.
Neighbor spoofing is a type of phone spoofing where robocallers pretend to call you from a local number. Many people fall for this trick and fall victim to a scam.
Unfortunately, for the time being, robocalls are here to stay. But this doesn't mean you can't take action.Robocall blocking apps exist for this very reason. You might not be able to physically stop robocalls from happening, but you can stop them from reaching your phone. It's as if robocalls don't exist.
While we wait for new laws and technological innovations, which could take years (or decades), robocall blocking apps are the only solution. As Wired magazine wrote in a recent article:
"the robocall crisis will never be totally fixed."
There are loads of benefits of downloading a robocall blocker app to stop unwanted robocalls.
The best robocall blocking apps do much more than just prevent robocalls from reaching your phone. You can give robocallers the revenge they deserve by playing funny pre-recorded messages down the phone. This will waste their time, just like they waste yours. Here are some great examples of messages you can play to robocallers:
Why might you want to do this? Well, think about it. Robocallers will do anything to steal your personal identity or money (or both):
So, why not get your own back?
You could. But why should you? Think about all the people who have your phone number saved in their Contacts. Now imagine changing your number and telling all these people about your new details. It's a waste of your time. Plus, you might just get a number that's been used by someone else in the past. Robocallers might have access to this number too. Call blocking apps stop robocalls without you having to change your number.
Robocalls are becoming a serious problem in the US:
There's only one way to solve this problem. Robocall blocker apps are like downloading anti-virus software onto your computer. These apps let you blacklist incoming robocalls. You don't have to answer these calls anymore and put yourself at risk. Plus, you can join the cause and prevent other people from becoming a victim of fraud. This is because when more people use these apps, more numbers will be identified as spam. Soon, there will be nowhere for robocallers to hide.
Using a call blocker app might seem like a simple solution. That's because it is! While other methods rely on you reporting spam numbers, these apps do all the hard work for you. This way, you can still receive calls from people you know (and genuine people you don't) without having to worry about becoming a victim of fraud.
WARNING: Scammers take advantage of times like these. DO NOT respond to texts/emails re government checks, click on links from unknown sources, answer robocalls. Ignore online offers for vaccinations/home test kits. Learn more on the @FTC website. - https://t.co/jJXRfJ9eH1 pic.twitter.com/Uc46E8SgzZ - SF Public Library (@SFPublicLibrary) April 5, 2020
Like we said before, there are various robocall blocking apps out there, including:
You can compare all of these apps here.
However, Robokiller is the No. 1 app for fighting against spam calls for the following reasons:
Robokiller could be the best investment you make in 2020. Protecting your personal and financial information is priceless, and you can join the fight to permanently stop robocalls.