You've picked up those calls that say, “Hello! Please don't hang up… we have a new credit card offer for you…”. Don't worry, I'm right there with you. Robocalls are pretty hard to avoid these days, especially when they're buzzing your phone at least 10 to 15 times a day. To put it into perspective, robocalls make up for 50 percent of all phone calls made.
In 2018 alone, robocallers have gotten so aggressive that they spammed people with 26.3 billion calls. Once you pick up that call, even if it's once, you've been essentially approved in the system and are constantly being added to other lists because your phone number is legitimate.
So, what can you do about this? While there are some external sources, you should look to your wireless carrier for some major support. Here's what you can do with all four major wireless carriers:
If you're an AT&T subscriber, you get access to a free iOS and Android app called AT&T Call Protect. The app provides you with automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam warnings. In addition, you can manually block unwanted robo calls.
With Verizon, they previously offered a “Call Filter” service that cost subscribers $2.99 per month per line. However, the wireless carrier changed its stance and is now offering the service for free.
Verizon has done a lot on their part, as well. The carrier has identified 300 million spam and scan phone number that it blocks through free spam alerting and call-blocking tools. This service is set to debut in March 2019.
If you're a Sprint customer, you have access to a service called “Premium Caller ID” which you can sign up for. Through this service, subscribers can protect themselves from robocallers and caller ID spoofers.
Unfortunately, unlike AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, this service does not come free. This service will cost subscribers $2.99 per month, and provides a threat level indicator to give subscribers an idea of how suspicious a call is when it's incoming. Sprint does this by flagging calls with real-time data that's trends within the United States.
Another downside is that this service doesn't automatically block known spam callers. Based on the indicator received, a subscriber can choose to answer the call, report the number to prevent future calls, or block the number altogether.
T-Mobile provides two free ways to help tackle spam calls and robocallers, and one premium method.
The first is through something called Scam ID, which is an automated system that identifies spam number when your phone is ringing. The company automatically does this through its network, and there is no app or service you need to install.
The second method, still free, is called Scam Block. Through this service, it gives subscribers an option to block numbers that are spam calling. This service, however, must be turned on. All you have to do is dial #662# on your T-Mobile headset and it will turn on. Should you want to turn it off, dial #632#.
The third method, a premium service, is T-Mobile's own service called “Name ID.” The service identifies and provides caller information like the name, type of organization and the location. Subscribers are able to block callers as needed. This service is included for free on T-Mobile ONE Plus plans, but if you have another plan, it will cost $4 per month per line.