We all know that Robocalls — or a call that uses computerized technology to deliver a message to your phone — can be annoying. The flood of robocalls we receive, which totaled 43 billion in 2019, or an average of 131 per person, has led to a flux of new laws and tools designed to help protect you against them.
But before we explore how to stop robocalls with robocall blocker apps for your iPhone or Android, it is important to understand the different types of robocalls you may receive. Some calls are perfectly legal. Comcast, Citibank and Macy’s are among the biggest robocallers in the country. They can serve legitimate purposes. For example, legal robocalls include:
- Political calls
- Informational calls (such as those telling you about school closures, flight delays or dental appointments)
- Charity fundraising solicitations
- Debt collection calls
Then, of course, there are illegal robocalls. You may have trouble trying to figure out what’s allowed and what’s not. That charity you’ve never heard of? If they robocall you, it’s OK. But if they hire an outside company to do the deed, they can only call previous donors or members of the charity. It’s all very confusing ‒ and insidious. It turns out, though, that the least of your problems is that robocalls are bothersome, or even illegal. You can lose money or your identity. Americans have lost more than $10.5 billion in phone scams between 2018 and 2019. You don’t want to be the next victim.
So you may be wondering: Does a smart call blocker exist that can help stop those annoying, possibly scam, calls from reaching you? You want to know if your prescription is ready for pickup, but you don’t want to listen to another “free” vacation pitch for Punta Cana. How can you make them stop?
Whether you own an iPhone or Android, there’s an app for that. It’s also good to know that legitimate robocallers are working with developers to ensure that the good calls actually reach you. But, ultimately, with these apps, you have the ability to block using the criteria you choose.
Apps That Block Robocalls for iPhone and Android
Here are some top robocall blocker apps that typically receive good reviews. Most work on both iPhone and Android phones.
Our app, available via the Google Play store, offers a free call blocker feature and can detect known scammers thanks to the help of our community, which reports telemarketers and other suspicious robocalls. For a fee, the app also allows you to unlock all of the people search information you need to make informed decisions about which calls to allow through.
This robust app lets you block by country code or by a series of numbers, for example, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1215, etc. Though it’s rated 4.5 for both the iPhone and Android versions, it’s particularly popular among the Android set, with more than 12 million reviews.
This app allows you to receive calls only when you want them. By using Blacklist, you can schedule call blocking as well as block private and unknown numbers. It’s rated 4.5 by 68,000 Android users. Unfortunately, it’s currently not available for iPhone.
Call Control offers wildcard blocking support, which allows you to stop a range of numbers from both calling and texting you. More than 100,000 iPhone and Android users rate it 4.3 and 4.5, respectively.
Should I Answer boasts an extensive worldwide database that is growing daily, with 30,000 consumer feedback reviews. It’s rated 4.7 by 17,000 Android users. However, iPhone users give it an unenthusiastic 2.6.
How to Tell a Robocall From a Scam Call
Remember: Your best line of defense against robocalls is to simply not answer your phone when you receive a call from a number you don’t recognize. But, if you do answer, you should never give out sensitive information. It’s easy to panic, however, when a “bank official” calls to tell you, for example, that your data may have been compromised. Many people fall prey to fraud when they supply information under duress without even being aware of having done so.
Are you concerned about a call you received? One of the easiest ways to know whether a call is a robocall or a scam is to use Spokeo’s reverse number lookup. You can use the phone number to search for the name of the caller. And with a little more research on Spokeo, you’ll have the address as well. In fact, you can even run a criminal background check for an additional fee.
Robocalls are not just a time-consuming annoyance. You could find yourself the victim of a scam. Protect yourself and your family by answering calls only from numbers you recognize. Install a smart call blocker to handle the rest.