Theo Thimou, Clark.com
Junk calls and robocalls are now completely out of control. If you’re looking for ways to stop them, we’ve got some options for you.
Learn how to stop robocalls with these free and pay services
For a number of years, junk calls were not a hassle for people. The National Do Not Call Registry worked well for a while. Legitimate companies were generally very compliant and the violations that did occur were rare. Those that did violate the law were subject to heavy fines.
Then suddenly, in the last couple of years, the number of junk calls started climbing. By some accounts, nearly 31 billion robocallswere placed in 2017.
Why the sudden spike in robocalls and junk calls? It’s because the technology exists that allows criminals to make unlimited calls — virtually for free — to every single number established in North America, including the U.S., Canada and many parts of the Caribbean.
From there, it’s a numbers game for the crooks. They only need a small fraction of the number of people they call to believe the pitch and send them their hard-earned money.
So what can you do? You have to fight technology with technology.
Free services and apps: Nomorobo, Youmail and Hiya
Nomorobo is a free service for landlines that boasts of having stopped nearly a quarter of a billion robocalls!
The latter uses an algorithm that determines if there is a phone number making thousands of brief phone calls. Additionally, app users can submit a community report that warns others if a certain phone number is fraudulent.
Some wireless carriers offer free robocall blocking, too
T-Mobile, in cooperation with Hiya, has made great strides in blocking robocalls.
AT&T, meanwhile, was an early mover in this space. Back in 2016, AT&T released its Call Protect app — a free mobile app that automatically vets incoming calls to make sure they’re not associated with robocall scams.
Pay services from Verizon, RoboKiller
Verizon has similar capabilities, but unfortunately charges its customers $2.99 a month for them.
Also on the pay front, RoboKiller uses artificial intelligence to tie up the junk phone callers trying to rip you off.
This service, which costs $2.99 a month, analyzes the first few seconds of your incoming calls to make sure noise patterns indicative of humans (not machines) are detected. Their system also uses whitelist and blacklist filtering, much like your e-mail at work, so you can whitelist a number like your child’s school that may send out robocalls with closing-related info.
There is a low-tech solution
Ultimately, the best solution may be the low-tech one. If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer — period!
If it is somebody whose call you should have taken, you’ll usually get a voicemail within seconds. Then, you can listen and call them back.