Spammy phone calls can drain your battery (and your patience), and sometimes it’s impossible to decide what’s worse: silence followed by a hang-up, a bossy sales pitch, or a sketchy scheme you can see right through.
If you’re frustrated by a stream of annoying hang-ups, robo-calls, and telemarketing pitches, today we’re sharing five easy ways to stop spam calls from taking over your call log.
Grab your phone, and let’s get started!
1. Register your number on the Do Not Call list.
This should prevent calls from legitimate companies, and you can report any companies that continue to contact you 31 days after you’ve joined the registry, but it isn’t a cure-all fix. Scammers can ignore the registry entirely and keep harassing you over the phone, so keep reading for what else you can do.
How to stop spam calls in the United States
If you’re in the United States, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is serious about creating legal measures to stop spam phone calls. You can take two minutes and add your home phone number or your cell phone number (or both) to the National Do Not Call registry.
And even if you’re on the National Do Not Call list, your phone number may still receive phone calls from political parties, charities, debt collection agencies, and survey-takers/researchers. However, those calls won’t include any type of sales pitch.
How to stop spam calls in Canada
If you’re in Canada, you can add your phone numbers to Canada’s National Do Not Call List. This is a free service, and you can add home phones, cell phones, or VoIP phone numbers. Telemarketers are required to review this list at least every 31 days, and remove any members from their call lists.
You should receive fewer telemarketing calls, but you can still expect to receive phone calls from political parties, charities, debt collection agencies, polling firms, market research firms, newspapers selling subscriptions, organizations with which you’ve conducted business within the last 18 months.
2. Block their number to prevent future calls.
If you know a specific phone number is spamming you, you can tell your phone not to accept calls from it any longer. (The same way you might block an ex-friend or ex-partner from being able to contact you if things went sour.)
This prevents all calls and texts from coming through, so make sure you’re blocking the correct phone number (and not accidentally blocking a bestie or your local pizza place).
1. On your iPhone, open the Phone app
2. Tap ‘Recents’ to pull up all recent calls
3. Tap the ‘Info’ icon next to the spam call entry
4. Select ‘Block this Caller,’ then ‘Block Contact’ to confirm you will not receive phone calls, messages, or FaceTime from anyone on the block list.
1. On your Samsung, open the Phone app
2. Tap ‘Recents’ then the three dots
3. Select ‘Settings’ from the menu
4. Select ‘Block numbers’
5. Enter the number you wish to block
1. On your Google Pixel, open the Phone app
2. Tap ‘Recents’
3. Select the number you wish to block
4. Block and/or report it as spam and confirm the action
1. On your Google Pixel, open the Phone app
2. Tap ‘Recents’
3. Select the three dots and tap ‘Settings’
4. Select ‘Blocked numbers’
5. Tap ‘Add a number,’ and add the caller you wish to block
6. You can also choose to toggle on ‘Unknown,’ which blocks calls from unidentified callers. (But we don’t recommend doing this if you may need to receive emergency calls.)
7. Back under ‘Settings,’ choose ‘Caller ID & spam’ and toggle on ‘Filter spam calls’ (This prevents suspected spam calls from disturbing you, and it’s a neat little Google Pixel feature.)
Other Android phone
If you have a different kind of Android phone, try opening the ‘Phone’ app and tapping the phone number that called you, then selecting a Block/Report Spam option (it may display differently) to block the phone number from calling back.
3. Save every incoming phone call as a Contact.
If you scroll through your phone’s call log, is it mostly a whole bunch of random phone numbers? If so, this makes it hard to separate the ‘real people’ from the spam calls.
Get into the habit of saving every incoming call in your Contacts. It only take a second!
1. Answer the phone and realize it’s a spam call
2. End the call (“Hang up,” as we said back in the day)
3. Tap the entry in your call log (or the “Info” icon by their entry)
4. Select ‘Add to Existing Contact’ (or add them to your Contacts directly)
5. Save them under a generic ‘SPAM’ Contact, so if they call back, you know not to answer
If you’re hesitant to block calls outright, this is a great way to stop spam calls from interrupting you in the future. You’ll see them coming a mile away, and can easily decline them!
4. Stop giving your real phone number out so freely.
Sometimes businesses ask you for a phone number in order to hand over a receipt or confirm an order, but they actually don’t need one. So the next time you’re asked, feel free to question why they need your phone number.
Would they be okay with an email address instead? If so, give them an email address you don’t check often (or at all). What will they do with your phone number? Do they plan on calling or texting you, or is it simply ‘for their records’?
And if they do insist on having a phone number and they have a good reason for needing it, well, we have the perfect solution below …
5. Use a Hushed phone number instead.
Instead of giving you real cell phone number to every person and every business you come across, why not reserve your personal cell phone number for the people you know, like, and actually want to hear from?
Hushed helps you quiet the noise! You can get a second personal phone number that’s exclusively your ‘throwaway’ phone number to give to businesses who ask, jot down on unimportant forms, and use on entry ballots for prizes and giveaways.
A few months back, I stood at the counter of a new pet store with my husband. As I was paying for an adorable baby chick stuffed animal (as a gift for our dog), the cashier asked for my phone number.
“Sure,” I answered easily. “It’s xxx-xxx-xxxx.” (Redacted, naturally.)
My husband looked at me strangely, but didn’t say anything. He thought I was giving them a fake phone number, but I was actually giving them a brand-new phone number I’d just set up a week earlier with the Hushed app. It was a 100% real phone number, and it was even in our real area code.
“Giving them my Hushed number meant I was protecting my privacy, and withholding my real cell phone number. Because while I can easily delete a Hushed number anytime, I can’t delete my real phone number that easily since it’s tied to my banking and other important two-factor authentication codes.”
I never did get an texts or calls from the pet store, but I’m sure my Hushed phone number is now floating around in a phone number database somewhere.
I haven’t had a single spam call on this number so far, though! And if it ever gets overrun with annoying hucksters, I can easily stop spam calls by deleting my Hushed number and getting a fresh one instead.
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