The Best Robocall Blocking Apps and Tools for Avoiding Phone Spam
Robocalls come in two forms. A small minority of them are requested by phone owners for appointment and prescription reminders. The vast majority are spam calls offering extended car warranties, credit “forgiveness” programs, or similar questionable products. Some go so far as to suggest you have outstanding arrest warrants or are going to be jailed by the IRS. They’re annoying and overwhelmingly common, and the only way to deal with them is knowing how to block spam calls.
How Do Robocalls Work?
Robocalls take advantage of vulnerabilities with the phone system to send millions of calls an hour. Here’s how a typical robocall system works:
- Gateway carriers take calls from overseas robo dialers and spoof them to look like they come from within the U.S. phone system. The carrier is either unaware of or chooses to ignore the nature of the call.
- The call is passed from the carrier to phone carriers and from there directed to your phone. At this point, most people hang up on the call, but a small number of call recipients take the bait and engage with the robocall.
- Anyone who takes the call is added into the robocaller’s automated phone tree and sent questions to evaluate whether they’re suitable targets for the scam or telemarketing scheme.
When the robocall identifies a qualified lead, the number is sold to a buyer, who attempts to sell a product or service (real or fraudulent). The process succeeds often enough to make robocalling economically profitable: approximately one in three Americans report falling for phone scams.
How to Block Spam Calls
CallFilter: Best Call Blocker App for Verizon Users
Verizon’s Call Filter is a free app that makes it easy to block robocalls while whitelisting numbers you need. You can set the app’s filters to block calls by risk level, track blocked spam, and report spam calls directly to Verizon. The paid version of the app offers additional services, including caller ID, a spam look-up service, a personal block list, and a spam risk meter for $2.99 a month for one line or $7.99 a month for three or more lines.
Hiya: The Best Free App to Block Spam Calls
If you’re wondering how to block spam calls on Android for free, consider Hiya. This simple call blocker app blocks spam calls automatically, provides real-time phone number lookups, and warns you about calls from fraudulent numbers. Available on Google Play, Hiya offers free use of its basic service and costs $14.99 a year for premium access.
Nomorobo: The Best Paid Phone Blocking App
At $1.99 a month, Nomorobo is an excellent deal for anyone who wants relief from robocalls. Nomorobo’s call blocking features include protection from over 6,500,000 known robocallers while allowing robocalls you approve through (such as emergency service announcements). The app does not access your call logs or contacts and is used by over a million people every day.
YouMail: The Best Business Phone Robocall App
Available for Android and iOS, YouMail blocks robocalls while providing you with the security you need to work from your phone.The service includes reputation monitoring and reputation management services for businesses, and the app’s robocall index is used by both government and industry. The basic service is free, or you can choose between $5.99 a month for YouMail Plus or $10.99 a month for YouMail Professional.
Call Control Home: The Best Robocall App for Landlines
Blocking robocalls on landlines is easy with Call Control Home, which uses a small device connected to a smartphone app to monitor and block spam calls. The initial layout for the Call Control System is higher than for the other phone blocking apps on this list at $159.00, but if you're looking for an app to block spam calls on landlines, this is one of your best options.
Truecaller: The Best App for Number Lookups
Robocalls often spoof US numbers to trick people into answering calls. Truecaller is a call blocker app that shows you the true phone number of each incoming call, text, or SMS message. The basic service is free. Truecaller Premium costs $26.99 a year, while Truecaller Premium Gold costs $249.00 a year.
Robocalls aren’t the only problems facing phone users of course. Learning how to block spam texts is just as important as knowing how to block spam calls. Don’t let the spammers win!