woman on the phone

Spam calls have been plaguing people for decades, but these unwelcome interruptions have become overwhelmingly prevalent over the past few years. Some people get dozens of robot or nuisance calls per day, all of which are aiming to scam or steal from the victim.

Last year, my personal cell phone was receiving between two and six spam calls per day. It was always the same scams and robot voices but from different numbers, so even blocking each number wasn’t putting a dent in the problem.

The last straw was when a man from a spam call center (trying to sell me discounts on medication or something) saved my personal number and proceeded to call me numerous times throughout the next couple days, asking for pictures of me and personal information. I blocked him every time, but he always found a new number to call me from.

I got angry. I was fed up. So, finally, I did my research to stop these horrible, unrelenting spam calls and the problems that stemmed from them.

1.) Generally speaking, don’t pick up calls from numbers you don’t know when you are not expecting them.

If someone you don’t know really needs to reach you, rest assured, they will. They can leave a message or reach out over social media. Just be sure your voicemail mailbox is set up and not filled up.

The problem with answering a spam call is that the spam companies keep data on which numbers belong to actual people and which ones don’t. Anything that indicates that your number is connected to a real person — picking up the phone, saying hello, or interacting with the caller at all — is a bad idea. Spam companies can then sell your number to other companies who will proceed to spam you. This can be avoided by simply not picking up the phone.

2.) Use an app to block thousands of spam numbers

This has been the biggest help in combating spam calls to my phone — an app. I use Hiya, which automatically blocks spam calls so my phone doesn’t even ring. There are a variety of other apps that work in different ways, but a few good ones other than Hiya are TrueCaller, Should I Answer, Calls Blacklist, and Call Control.

Do a little research because some apps charge small fees, run ads, or have other functionalities you may or may not like. Some block calls instantly while others warn the user that the call is a scam, and some update scam numbers automatically while others don’t. Find one that works for you and you may see a big difference in your call history.

3.) See what your cell provider can do for you

Most of the major cell companies have some sort of spam-call protection service or app. For example, AT&T has an app named Call Protect and Verizon has a Spam Alerts feature. Each company is different but information on blocking spam calls is usually easy to find. There are also great support pages on company websites that walk you through how to best protect yourself with their services.

4.) Register for the national Do Not Call list

To be honest, I’m not sure how well this works, but it is possible to sign up for the national Do Not Call list. It’s free and all you have to do is call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number that you want to register. Once you sign up, you’ll be a little more protected from robocalls and illegal calls. I can’t promise that this is better than one of the apps you can download, but it is better than nothing and of no cost.

5.) Spread the word

If we ever want the robocall and scammer epidemic to stop, we need the spam groups to go out of business. In other words, we need to prevent as many people as possible from coming into contact with spam calls. If scammers can’t make money from setting up scams, they won’t do it.

So, spread the word! Share these tips with your friends and family and do your own research to find out more about combating spam calls. If enough people have apps and services that instantly block unwanted calls, then we may be able to pump the breaks on this scam call epidemic. We are a while away from a spam-call-free world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start fighting back.

After following the same steps I explained above, I saw a dramatic decrease in the number of spam calls I received. Now, only accidentally answer a spam call every few months. This whole process worked wonders for me, so if you’re having trouble with unwanted calls, I’d highly encourage you to give these tactics a try. Good luck!