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Tuesday July 16, 2019

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Stop Frustrating Robocalls

Is there anything I can do to stop perpetual robocalls? It seems like I receive five to ten calls a day on my home and cell phone, and I am tired of it!

Robocalls make up around 50% of all phone calls today, and it is only getting worse. Americans were hit with 26.3 billion robocalls in 2018, a whopping 46% increase from the year before. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available today that can help reduce the number of calls you receive.

Register Your Numbers


If you have not already done so, the first step is to make sure your home and cell phone numbers are registered with the National Do Not Call Registry. While this will not stop illegal robocalls, it will stop unwanted calls from legitimate for-profit businesses who are trying to sell you something. Be aware that political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you, as are businesses that you have bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months. To sign up, visit DoNotCall.gov or call 888-382-1222.

Home Landline Tools


To stop robocalls calls on your home phone, set up the "anonymous call rejection" option. This is a free landline-calling feature available through most telephone companies. It screens out calls from callers who have blocked their caller ID information — a favorite tactic of telemarketers. To set it up, you usually have to dial *77 from your landline. Note, however, that different phone services may have different procedures to set up this tool. Call your telephone service provider to find out if they offer this feature and, if so, what you need to do to enable it.

Another solution is to sign up for Nomorobo, which is a free service for landline phones that is provided through a VoIP landline carrier. Nomorobo uses a "simultaneous ring" service that detects and blocks robocalls on a black list of known offender numbers. While it is not 100% foolproof, it is an extra layer of protection. To sign up or see if Nomorobo works with your phone service provider, visit Nomorobo's website.

Cell Phones Tools


To stop unwanted robocalls and texts to your cell phone, ask your carrier about caller ID options that help identify, filter or prevent callers that are not legitimate.

For example, AT&T provides their subscribers a free app called "AT&T Call Protect" that has automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam warnings. It also allows you to manually block unwanted calls. Verizon is now offering free spam alerting and call blocking tools to their users. T-Mobile provides free "Scam ID" and "Scam Block" to combat robocalls and spam. Sprint customers can sign up for its "Premium Caller ID" service for $2.99 per month to guard against robocalls and caller ID spoofers.

Call Blocking Apps


Another way to stop robocalls on your smartphone is with call blocking apps. These apps can identify who is calling you and block unwanted calls that show up on crowd-sourced spam and robocaller lists.

Some top call blocking apps for iPhones and Androids include Nomorobo, Hiya Caller ID and Spam Blocker and Truecaller. Nomorobo costs $2 per month. Truecaller and Hiya apps are free to use but offer upgraded services for $2 or $3 per month.

Spam Proof Phones


There are also phones you can buy, like the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Note or Google Pixel phone that have built-in spam and robocall protection in place. Samsung's Smart Call feature flags calls it suspects are spam, while Google Pixel phones have built-in spam call protection. With this feature, users that have caller ID enabled will receive a warning if a suspected spam call or robocall is received.

Look for assistance: There are also health centers and local clinics that provide free or discounted vision exams and eyeglasses to those in need. To find these centers, try calling your local Lions Club for referrals.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published March 15, 2019
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