How to Stop Robocalls: 3 Tips and 1 Secret Trick
Around the world, 1.2M robocalls are made every minute, with Americans receiving the bulk of them at 25% of all robocalls. How anyone gets anything done with the constant interruption is a mystery.
Thankfully, there a several things you can do to stop robocalls from disrupting your day, from blocking unwanted callers right on your device to leveraging your service provider’s resources. There’s also one little-known but highly effective method to block robocalls at the source.
How to Block Robocalls on Your Device
The quickest and easiest thing you can do is to block unwanted calls straight on your device. If you own an iPhone, you have the option to silence unknown calls, preventing robocalls from disrupting your day. If you’re an Android user, you can actually block specific numbers that you have identified as a nuisance.
To silence unknown callers on an iPhone:
- Tap on the “Settings” app on your iPhone’s home screen.
- Scroll down and tap on “Phone” from the list of options.
- Select “Call Blocking & Identification.”
- Toggle the switch next to “Silence Unknown Callers” to the ON position. This will send calls from unknown numbers directly to voicemail.
To block numbers on an Android:
- Tap on the “Phone” app on your Android device.
- Look for the three-dot menu icon (usually at the top-right or top-left corner) and tap it.
- Select “Settings” or “Call Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Depending on your Android version and manufacturer, this option might be labeled as “Block numbers,” “Call Blocking,” or something similar.
- Toggle the switch to enable call blocking.
- You can manually add specific numbers or choose from your call log, contacts, or messages.
Block Robocalls through Your Service Provider
Silencing unknown callers and blocking individual numbers can be useful, but somewhat extreme and limited solutions. You can take it a step further by blocking spam calls through your service provider.
If you’re a T-Mobile user, simply dial #662# to turn on scam ID and scam blocking. AT&T offers the free ActiveArmor app, which can help you block spam calls. Similarly, Verison has the Call Filter app, which provides both free and paid features.
Stop Telemarketers with the Do Not Call Registry
While the previous methods on this list help stop robocalls from reaching you, you can also stop telemarketers from making the calls in the first place by adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. While this won’t stop all robocalls, it will deter legitimate businesses from bothering you.
You can register your number on the Do Not Call Registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or via the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry website.
For the latter option:
- Click the “Register Your Phone” button.
- Click “Register Here” if you haven’t registered before, or if you aren’t sure, click “Verify Here” first.
- Enter up to 3 phone numbers, without hyphens, and your email address.
- Check your inbox for the confirmation email and follow the steps to complete registration.
Cut Robocallers off at the Source
While there is no way to completely block all robocalls, there is one trick to essentially cut them off at the source: keeping your phone number private. After all, they can’t call you if they don’t have your phone number. This requires removing your phone number from anywhere and everywhere you can, such as your social media, online shopping accounts, and public sources.
Almost all of the online services and tools you use collect and share your data, often including your phone number, with third parties. Combined with other pieces of information they share, like your browsing history and interests, this data can be used to target you with annoying robocalls and spam.
Of course, keeping your phone number private is easier said than done. The lion’s share of this difficulty is thanks to data brokers and people search sites. These companies make it their business to collect your personal information, compile it into neat little personal profiles, and circulate them all around the web by selling them to marketers, curious individuals, other data brokers, and even directly to scammers. They create an environment where your contact details become a commodity. Removing your data from data brokers and people search sites will keep your phone number out of robocallers’ reach.
You can either do this manually, sending individual opt-out requests to each data broker, or you can use an automated personal information removal service like Incogni. They track down which data brokers have your personal information, send out wave after wave of data removal requests, and handle any follow-up communication on your behalf.
Keeping your phone number and other personal information off the market isn’t a one-and-done deal. It requires ongoing effort.
Many data brokers simply compile new profiles on you once you’ve asked them to remove your data. This is why you should repeat the opt-out process regularly to ensure your information stays out of circulation. It requires commitment, but the payoff is far fewer robocalls and threats to your online privacy and security.