Nothing is more annoying than being the target of constant spam calls and texts. No one wants to hear their phone ring only to be propositioned with yet another "special" offer or "free" deal, let alone have their phone go off constantly with spam texts and fake messages.
Want to know why you’re getting so many spam and scam calls and texts? Want to know how to make them stop? Read on to discover the answer to both of these problems.
What Are Spam Calls & Texts?
Spam calls and texts are unwanted communications from companies, individuals, or scammers. Whether you’re using an Apple or Android phone or a landline, these can be telemarketing calls or illegal robocalls. Regardless, spam calls can be frustrating and potentially dangerous.
“Spam” calls and texts usually try to bait people into replying to them or giving out their personal information by:
- Promising a special offer or deal
- Offering an attractive product or gift
- Threatening to reveal personal information or steal money
- Claiming that they already have an individual’s personal information or bank account number
For example, you’ve probably had several phone calls from one or more companies advertising specific deals or special offers.
They might claim that they have an offer “just for you” regarding purchasing something expensive, like a new gaming console or a new vehicle. All you have to do is provide your bank account information or other personal info.
Alternatively, you may have received spam texts in the past. For instance, maybe you received a text claiming that the sender “knows what you did” and is “willing to give the information to the police” unless you give them money (often in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies).
In these cases and others, spam calls and texts can be annoying at best and downright threatening or worrying at worst. But in all cases, spam calls and texts are unwanted and should be blocked immediately.
Spoofing spam calls from telemarketers and others affect Apple and Android users. Unfortunately, while you can report these callers to the FCC or the IRS, you’re best off handling incoming calls yourself.
How Can You Tell if a Message or Call Is Spam?
Even if you’ve received some of these messages in the past, you might not know whether a given message or call is actually spam. Generally, spam phone calls and text messages appear out of the blue with no warning on your part.
They may come from generic numbers, have spelling errors, and may sound like they are sent from someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language.
Furthermore, many spam calls and texts require immediate action, whether asking for your payment information, saying you can help pay off debt, or goading you into purchasing a product to take advantage of a significant discount.
Above all else, spam texts and calls feel off. If a message feels wrong, improper, or strange, odds are it’s probably a spam message. Trust your gut when it comes to this stuff.
Why Do You Get Spam Calls & Texts?
You might be the target of spam calls and texts for many different reasons.
For example, you might have provided your cell phone number online via a message board, social media message, or elsewhere where a spammer can acquire it.
If your cell phone number is online, it might be scooped up by any number of hackers or scammers who then sell the number two advertising companies or fraudsters.
Alternatively, you might be targeted by spam callers and textures automatically. Some companies use technology to generate cell numbers randomly and progressively. In these cases, your number was simply the next on the list for them to try to scam/spam.
In the worst-case scenarios, you might be the target of spam messages because your identity has been compromised.
If your computer has a virus, for example, or if you previously gave out your personal information to a spam caller, other spammers might get that information from the original leak, causing you to have to deal with spam calls and texts with much more frequency.
How Can You Stop Spam Calls & Texts?
Regardless of why you receive tons of spam calls and texts on your smartphone, there are ways to stop these constant, annoying messages. You may need to combine multiple methods below to protect your cell phone spam messages.
Whether you have an iPhone/iOS or an Android device, you can block specific spam numbers that continue to send you annoying messages. Adding all spam numbers to your block list can help protect against phone scams; however, this method can get tedious.
Additionally, there’s a slightly different process depending on your device.
If you have an iPhone, here’s how you can block numbers:
- Open the Phone app and tap Recents
- Then tap Information next to the number you want to block
- Scroll down and tap Block This Caller
It's that simple. You can follow the same process if you want to block callers or messages in the FaceTime or Messages app. As soon as a caller is blocked, you won't receive any more notifications when they call you or send a message.
If you have an Android device, here’s how you can block numbers:
- Open the Phone app and tap on Recent
- Then long press the number you want to stop and tap Block/Report Spam
This not only blocks a specific color from contacting you but also helps Android prevent others from suffering the same spam messages.
Filter All Unknown Senders
Alternatively, you can filter all unknown message senders and callers on an iPhone or Android device.
To do this on an iPhone:
- Open Settings, then Phone, then scroll down so you can tap Silence Unknown Callers
- Once this feature is toggled, any unknown numbers will automatically be silenced, though they can still leave voicemails
On an Android device:
- Open the Phone app, then tap the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner
- Tap Settings, Block to Numbers, and finally, Unknown
This also blocks any unknown callers on an Android device, offering similar functionality as detailed above.
Don’t Type Your Cell Number Online
Try not to write down or post your cell phone number online to stop new spam calls and texts from reaching you.
Each time you put your cell phone number online, it’s a new opportunity for a scammer or spammer to take that information and sell it to a fraudster, hacker, or other bad actors. Some scammers can find your number from just your area code.
You should also avoid typing your cell phone number for authentication purposes unless you fully trust the website or page you are on.
Avoid typing in your cell phone number except on pages with SSL certification. You can determine whether a page is SSL certified by looking for the padlock symbol in the address bar.
Use Carrier-Specific Blocker Apps
Depending on your service provider, like Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile, you can take advantage of carrier-specific spam caller blockers or call protect apps. Here are some examples:
- AT&T has an app called ActiveArmor. This free version blocks spam and fraudulent calls, as well as nuisance call alerts and unknown calls.
- Verizon has an app called Call Filter. Verizon’s Call Filter limits unknown calls and messages and offers spam detection services and other features.
- T-Mobile offers the Scam Shield app, which is free and provides scam detection and blocking services in addition to caller ID services.
- Google Fi offers free call-blocking options and caller ID in the base Google Fi application.
- US Cellular offers the Call Guardian app, which provides spam reporting, spam alerts, and caller ID services for free.
Use a Third-Party App
You can alternatively go with a third-party call blocker app. You should only use an app you trust that is verified or licensed on your mobile device’s official app store.
For example, the SpamHound SMS filter is a free app that filters out unnecessary or unwanted texts.
SpamHound is also a great third-party tool because it can display past text messages and offers additional services for the Messages app, such as giving you quick and easy access to your contacts.
Other examples include Nomorobo and YouMail, which help you block spam calls and manage your contact list.
Put Your Number on the Do Not Call Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry, located at donotcall.gov, is an official registry where you can list your phone number. When you do this, legitimate, licensed businesses and phone companies will never call you with spam offers or special discounts since you’ll be on a do not call list.
This is a great way to immediately and freely minimize how many spam calls and texts you receive.
Plus, once you register your number, if you receive an unwanted call after it was on the registry for 31 days, you can report the caller to the FTC or Federal Trade Commission for official action.
While this technique is effective, other organizations, like charities, political groups, and debt collectors, can still contact you.
Hang Up on All Spam Calls
Whatever you do, always hang up on every spam call you receive. Do not answer any questions from the spam caller, and never say “yes” in response to any question they pose.
This could be construed as you giving them permission to call and harass you continually. Quickly ending a call is also the fastest way to show a spam caller that you won’t entertain any of their promises or lies.
Try Navi’s Phone Navigator Service Today
Ultimately, you might be receiving spam calls and texts for various reasons. Unfortunately, depending on how long your phone number has been in circulation, it might be impossible to stop spammers from getting ahold of your information indefinitely.
The only other solution? A new phone with a unique phone number. Fortunately, Navi can help with that.
Our Phone Navigator service can connect you to the best new cell phone deals based on your budget and other needs. Check it out today!
Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Texts | Federal Communications Commission