Trends in Technology
Robocalls are becoming a growing nuisance every year, with Americans receiving 4-6 calls on average daily. Even the pandemic couldn’t stop these annoying calls as they have adapted to the circumstances and found creative ways to mask their span with local genuine-looking phone numbers. Even though some pre-recorded messages are from genuine sources, they’re greatly overshadowed by many spam and telemarketing calls.
If you’re tired of these automated, pre-recorded phone messages from random, suspicious numbers causing your phone to ring throughout the day, keep reading as we’ll share how to stop annoying robocalls on your iPhone or Android phone in this post.
What are Robocalls?
A robocall is a pre-recorded message delivered to receivers through auto-dialing software. Therefore, if you pick up a robocall, you should hear a recorded message instead of a real person speaking. Robocalls have been around since the 80s and used by businesses to provide helpful information, such as reminders or alerts. However, most robocalls are used by telemarketers as a cheap and easy way to promote their products and services. However, many of them are scams as according to the Federal Trade Commission. The only calls considered legitimate include:
- Informational messages, such as appointment reminders, transaction alerts, or cancellations.
- Debt collection calls from authentic businesses that get consent from customers before calling.
- Healthcare provider calls, such as prescription refill reminders.
- Messages from charities for subscribers who are prior donors or members of a particular charity.
Promotional robocalls are only legal if the company has the prior consent of recipients to send them pre-recorded messages. If they don’t get permission, they can face legal action, especially if they don’t give recipients the right to opt out from their database.
Robocall Statistics in 2021
Robocalls have been around for a long time as an effective tool to reach customers. However, they’ve become a daily annoyance for most people who are tired of their phones ringing multiple times during the day, even if they gave their consent to legitimate businesses. Here are some interesting nationwide statistics:
- The most common types of robocalls are those claiming to be with the Social Security Administration (39%), the IRS (38%), travel companies (36%), and debt collectors (33%).
- In 2020, there were over 45.9 billion robocalls made nationwide, equaling roughly 140 calls per person.
- Only 18% of robocalls are answered by users
- According to CNBC, consumers reported losing over $1.8 billion to frauds, with older adults being more vulnerable to scams
- 44% of Americans received spam calls related to the Coronavirus in 2020
- 40% of Americans signed up for the Do Not Call Registry
- Due to spam and recurring calls, nearly 50% of recipients downloaded a spam blocker.
- Nearly 34% of scam victims canceled their credit cards or changed their account numbers.
4 Ways to Stop Annoying Robocalls On Your iPhone or Android Phone
Unfortunately, both the FTC and FCC are still struggling to handle the situation better, and even with hundreds of crackdowns, they’re still behind. As a consequence, it is up to companies and users to step up and do their part in stopping illegal pre-recorded messages.
Here’s how to stop annoying robocalls on your iPhone or Android phone:
1. Block Individual Numbers
While this isn’t necessarily a game-changing solution, it can help users in a situation when a particular number keeps calling. In this case, both iPhones and Android phones have built-in number blocking features that allow users to keep spammers away. However, blocking each robocall number can become annoying, especially for users who receive multiple calls every day.
2. Protection-as-a-Service from Carriers
Many of the major carriers in the US have taken measures to use their networks as barriers between users and robocalls. Using sophisticated technologies like SHAKEN/STIR and complex algorithms, they can distinguish legitimate calls from fake ones. Some carriers can even verify the original source of the call as people getting calls from their local area code don’t realize that those calls are probably coming from across the globe. For example, AT&T offers a free Call Protect service designed to block fraudulent calls by displaying a warning to recipients before picking up the call, thus, making it easier for them to block them instead of determining the call’s authenticity. Similarly, T-Mobile offers a Scam Shield and Block at $4 per month. Furthermore, for $2.99 a month, Verizon allows users to create a personal block list for more than five numbers.
3. Third-Party Apps
There are hundreds of legitimate iOS and Android apps in the market that you can use to stop annoying robocalls. However, most of them require a monthly or annual subscription, so you should try them on a trial basis before opting for one. At their core, services like Nomorobo, Hiya, and Robokiller rely on updating and maintaining a robocaller database. So, whenever a call comes in, the service runs the number on their database to look for a match. If it finds one, it will shut it down before the call reaches the end-user.
4. Built-In Device Features
Many Android phones, specifically Google and Samsung products, have built-in systems for detecting and blocking robocalls and spam. Similarly, iOS 13 recently introduced a new application called Silence Unknown Callers, which blocks any new number calling or texting users or sends the calls straight to voicemail.
Wrap it up
Even though there’s no fool-proof method to block all robocalls, the methods above should help reduce the nuisance, especially for users who have been scammed by fraudulent businesses and telemarketers before. However, if none of these methods work out for you, you can always add your number to the Do Not Call Registry and complain to the FTC.
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