Welcome to the age of the robo/spam calls. An age where our phones ring several times a day from unsolicited callers. Sometimes these people are just regular telemarketers. Others times they are people trying to rob via some elaborate scam. We’ve all gotten these calls.

Calls telling us that we are eligible for a medical brace or that we owe the IRS money and that the police will come and arrest us if we don’t pay up now. It’s the phone call version of those emails from Nigerian princes telling us they are going to give us millions of dollars if we help them.

It’s possible to gain control over your phone

According to Forbes, “Robocalls are at epidemic levels.” Thankfully, most of us aren’t falling for these scams anymore. At this point, it’s just downright annoying. But there are things you can do to regain control over your phone. We used to think that signing up for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call” list would be enough.

That’s just not the case anymore. That only stops reputable businesses from calling you. Scammer and disreputable telemarketers don’t care about that. They ignore the list. Scammers have evolved over the years and have found craftier ways to get around some of the stopgap measure put in their way. That’s why PC Mag suggests that you take multiple measures to thwart robocalls.

Use your phone and service provider

After you’ve signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry, you can start blocking numbers that you get robocalls from. If you have an iPhone, hit the phone symbol and go to recent calls. Hit the info icon next to the number you want to block and select “Block This Caller.” This will prevent their calls from coming through. You can manually add numbers by adding them to your contacts. Once the contact is created, scroll down and select “Block this Caller.”

You can do this on an Android by opening your Phone app and going to recent calls. Find the number you want to block and tap “More.” Select the option to block or block/report spam. You can also manually block numbers by going to “More” then
Settings” then “Blocked Numbers.” It will allow you to manually add numbers.

Your service carrier might also offer robocall blocking features. T-Mobile has something called Scam ID which automatically detects potential scam calls and lists them as “Scam Likely” in your caller ID so you don’t have to answer it. Verizon Wireless offers a similar free call filter service. It also had a paid plan for $2.99 a month per line that has a Call Filter-ID, personal spam list, and other features. Check with your phone provider to see what free and paid options are available to you.

Third-party apps for spam blocking

You can also try third-party mobile apps to block robocalls and spam calls. Nomorobo is available for iOS and Android. It scans a blacklist of known numbers for these types of callers. It will block calls altogether and send them to voicemail. It also gives you the option of sending the call through but with a notification that it might be a scam call. This app also prevents spam text messages, blocks ads on the web, and allows you to report a robocall or spam call. You can try it for free for two weeks. After that, it’s $1.99 a month.

Hiya Caller ID works in a similar way but it also allows you to type a number into the app to see if it belongs to a spam caller. Their basic app is free. You can try their premium version free on a seven-day trial and then at $2.99 a month or $14.99 per year. RoboKiller might be my personal favorite. It blocks spam calls but also retaliates against them. Their app has Answer Bots that will answer the call with prerecorded messages aimed at pissing off and wasting the time of spam callers. You can even create your own bot responses. You can even add specific numbers that you want to be blocked. It costs $.99 a month or $9.99 per year for those with an Android. It’s more expensive for iOS customers at $2.49 per month.