Robocalls are at an all-time high. Scammers and spammers are getting trickier, but the story is the same. Spammers might pretend to be a bank, the IRS or a tech company giant. Worst case scenario, you get duped and taken for a ride for your money. Best case scenario, you’re left annoyed when you receive one of these calls.

How to stop spam in its tracks – blocking numbers one by one

If you only get an unwanted call every so often, you can do this to stop receiving calls from the same number in the future:

  • iPhone: Choose Phone, then tap the information icon. Select “Block this Caller.”
  • Android: Select the caller’s name, then long tap the number and select “Block/report spam” (this may vary by Android platform)

Sadly, blocking calls one by one after you receive them is pointless because spammers have the capacity to change their numbers all the time. Because of this, there was the inception of call-blocking apps.

These apps will screen or block a call before it can bother you. Verizon and AT&T, as well as other carriers, compare suspicious calls against a huge robocaller list updated every day all day long.

If you have Verizon, you can install the Verizon Caller Name ID app for your phone. It costs $2.99 per line per month. Under iPhone Settings, select “Phone,” then choose “Call Blocking & Identification” then turn on the Verizon “Caller Name ID” app. You can also go to the nearest phone repair shop to get the help.

You can step up your game if you’d like to with this app. You can try to ban fishy calls, sending them straight to voicemail. Just go to the app, choose “Block,” “Spam filter on” then set it to “All risk levels.”

If you have an Android, open up the app and choose “Spam filter” then turn the feature on and set the level of risk.

If you want to check out a free app, download “Should I Answer.” This app is founded upon a community which rates known numbers. You can also set the level of aggression here. For example, you can choose to automatically block any call the community has deemed suspicious.

You also have the opportunity to still receive the calls, and decide for yourself based on the community rating which displays on the phone call screen when you receive a call. You also have the choice to send your calls straight to voicemail, or cut them off at the pass – you can automatically reject the call.

There is also some spam blocking software built right into phones. Samsung has a “Smart Call” function you can use if you own this flagship phone. This app will try to determine if the call is spam then give you the option to block the call. To do this, head to “Caller ID and spam protection” which you can find in “Call Settings” then toggle on “Caller ID and Spam Protection.”

One of the worst things about spam calls is that they can change numbers pretty easily. There is a scam called “the neighbor phone scam” where spammers will conjure a fake number and make it appear similar to your own phone number. Victims get tricked into thinking it is someone local and pick up the phone.

Google remedies this on its Pixel Phones. You will get a transcript of the call in realtime, and you can even interact with the caller. You can block the call if the transcript sounds suspicious.

Or you could get really serious and prevent all calls you don’t recognize from making your phone ring. The downside is that you will not receive calls you didn’t expect that you might want to pick up. You won’t receive a notification either.

However, you won’t completely miss your calls. You’ll see it as a voicemail or a missed call. You can figure out if this is the best option for you by using trial and error. Also, you can easily switch this on and off on your phone, for example, toggling on “Do Not Disturb” on your iPhone or Android.

This option will effectively cut out any phone calls from anyone who is not on your contacts list. Although this option is quite restrictive, many people don’t pick up numbers they don’t recognize anyway.

By using one of these options, you can stop spam calls in its tracks. Try one of these paid or free options to avoid falling victim to a scam, or at least an annoyance.