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How to block robocalls and telemarketers

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

We are sure you will agree that robocalls can be annoying. Apple, Google, and the US government are already planning to stop them completely. While we hope that happens soon, do you know that there are actions you can take to block robocalls from call centers or telemarketers?

How To Block Robocalls From Your Devices

According to reports, the US lawmakers are already planning to pass legislation that would help to prevent unnecessary calls from your device.

Apple and Google have added a built-in feature on iPhones and Android phones. This built-in feature helps to block certain unknown numbers from calling or texting your device. Apart from this feature, there are some third-party apps, including Nomorobo, RoboKiller, and Truecaller, that also help to block robocalls from telemarketers.

Here are a few guides on how you can block robocalls from telemarketers and call centers.

1- Block/Silence Unknown Callers In iOS 13

In case you have Apple’s iOS 13 or higher installed on your iPhone, there’s a feature on it that can help you block robocalls from call centers and telemarketers. It helps to silent calls from unknown callers, sending them to your voicemail, where they appear on your recent list. Also, you can easily go to the list and return calls, in case there’s an important phone number of the recent lists.

To enable the feature, you need to go to your Settings app and click the Phone section. After that, scroll down and toggle the Silent Unknown Callers button to help you enable the feature.

2- Block Phone Numbers On iPhone

Robocallers make use of thousands of phone numbers over and over again. However, one thing that’s interesting about the numbers is that most of them utilize the same prefixes as your phone number. In case you want to know how to block robocalls and other irrelevant calls on your iPhone device, here’s a simple step:

  • Go to your phone app, and tap on recent calls. From there, you’ll be able to choose the number you want to block.
  • Next, tap on the info icon right beside the number.
  • Tap Block this Caller, then proceed by tapping Block Contact.

By doing that, you won’t have to worry about receiving calls from the number anymore.

3- Block Numbers From Android Phones

In case you are interested in knowing how to block robocalls from telemarketers on your Android devices, here’s a simple step for you:

  • Open your device’s phone app, and choose recent calls.
  • Tap the specific number you’re interested in blocking, and tap the block/report spam icon.
  • Then, proceed by confirming the action.

Apart from this process, there are also some Android phones that can enable users to block unknown calls through their Settings app.

In case your phone has that feature, all you need is to go to the Settings app, and select the block number option and activate it.

4- Scam Block And Scam ID Feature On T-Mobile

With T-Mobile, you can easily enjoy the Scam ID and Scam Block feature free of charge. The Scam ID helps to detect calls from scammers, while the Scam Block enables you to block the calls before coming to your phone.

Furthermore, you’ll get to enjoy the Name ID feature when you subscribe to $4 per month. That helps to show the location and name of the callers, and block irrelevant and robocalls.

5- Verizon Call Filter

You can also block robocalls on your device with the Verizon call filter. Although the offer by Verizon is about $3 per month, the wireless network provider also offers it free of charge to compatible devices.

For the free plan, the call filter helps users to detect and filter spam calls. That, it does by signaling you any time there are robocalls or spam calls. For the prepaid plan, the call filter helps to kick in the caller ID and some other features.

You can always download the call filter app on the Apple Store or Google play store.

@chrisbhoffman
November 21, 2016, 6:40am EDT

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

Modern robocalls aren’t just telemarketers trying to sell you something. They’re often scammers trying to trick you into parting with your money or identity information. So how do you stop them from coming in?

Get on the Do Not Call List

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

In the USA, you can register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are not supposed to call numbers on the list. Some other countries have their own “Do Not Call” registries, so check to see if your country offers something similar if you don’t live in the USA.

Just head to that government website and register all the phone numbers you use to avoid getting telemarketing calls. If you’re not sure whether you registered your number previously, you can verify whether the phone number is on the list or not.

Telemarketer calls should stop within 31 days of you adding your number to the list. Initially, numbers put on the list were set to expire after five years, forcing people to re-register their numbers. However, this requirement was removed. Your phone number will now never expire from the list.

Unfortunately, the Do Not Call list won’t stop all robocalls. It will stop legitimate telemarketing calls, but telephone scammers—which are generally located outside the USA, anyway—won’t bother following the rules. This also only applies to telemarketing, so political campaigns, charities, and surveys are still free to call you as well.

Ask Legitimate Callers to Stop

Callers with whom you have an “existing business relationship” are free to place robocalls to you, even if you’re on the Do Not Call list. However, if you ask the caller to not call you again, they are supposed to stop calling, or face a potential $40,000 fine.

If you asked the company to stop calling you and they continue, keep a record of the date and time you asked. You can then report the company to the FTC.

This won’t help if you’re dealing with a scammer. But, if a legitimate company is placing robocalls to you, it should follow the rules when you ask it to stop.

Block a Database of Numbers on Your Smartphone

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

The Do Not Call list is a great first step. Unfortunately, there are many telephone scammers out there who don’t want to follow the rules. And you may not want to receive calls from political campaigns, survey companies, charities, and other organizations that are exempt from the Do Not Call list.

To block those robocalls, you can download a third-party app for your smartphone that blocks a “crowdsourced” list of phone numbers that other people have reported.

There are quite a few apps for this, including Mr. Number, available for both Android and iPhone. When a robocall dials your phone number, you’ll see a warning that the caller is a suspected telemarketer or scammer. The app can also block these calls completely, so you won’t even know these numbers are calling you. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll need iOS 10 to take advantage of this app.

Block Individual Phone Numbers

Lastly, you keep receiving robocalls from a specific phone number—or a few specific phone numbers—you can block that number right on your smartphone. Both Android and iPhone have built-in ways to block specific phone numbers so you won’t receive phone calls from it ever again. You can do this right from the call history in your dialer app.

Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof solution to block all robocalls. Apps that do the dirty work for you are the best option, but that won’t help if you’re using a landline phone. In 2015, the FTC ruled telephone carriers could offer call-blocking tools to their customers. Telephone companies will hopefully provide better call-screening tools for all customers in the future. For now, though, these solutions should help diminish the problem, if not eliminate it entirely.

How to block robocalls on iPhone and Android

Tips on how to block unwanted robocalls on the iPhone and Android device.

Unwanted calls are often harmless but some are after your credit card information, IDs or passwords. All are a distraction and a waste of your time.

Robocallers have gotten more devious by masking their calls with phone numbers that use the first three or first six digits of your phone number.

But the scams are old. They pretend to be major banks, big tech companies, or government organizations like the IRS.

Whatever the scam, here are several ways to stop unwanted calls on your smartphone – and one way to stop them cold.

Manually: if you don’t get a lot of unwanted calls, you can block calls one at a time. On the iPhone you do this by selecting “Phone” then tapping the information icon (the encircled lowercase “i”), and selecting “Block this Caller.” On Android, it’s similar, you tap on the caller’s name, then long-press the number and tap “Block/report spam” (note that this procedure can vary slightly from device to device on Android).

Blocking calls manually, however, is usually futile because scammers and spammers are constantly changing their numbers, usually on a daily basis.

Use an app: there are lots of apps that take on telemarketers and suspicious calls, some are better at blocking calls before they get through than others. AT&T and Verizon, as with other carriers, offer apps that let you block calls by identifying likely fraudsters. To identify a suspicious call, numbers are run against a massive list of robocallers that is updated daily.

For instance, the basic setup of the Verizon Caller Name ID app ($2.99 per month per line) is like any call blocker app on the iPhone. After installing the app, under the iPhone’s Settings you tap on “Phone,” then “Call Blocking & Identification,” then toggle on the Verizon “Caller Name ID” app.

If you want to take this a step further, the Verizon app will also try to block suspicious calls and send them to voicemail. This requires going into the Verizon app and tapping “Block” then “Spam filter on” then setting a risk level.

For Android devices, you open the Verizon Caller Name ID app, tap “Block management,” tap “Spam filter”, then toggle the feature on and select the risk level.

AT&T has its Mobile Security & Call Protect Plus ($3.99 per month) service that has Automatic Fraud Blocking, which can detect and allow you to block incoming suspicious calls.

Samsung offers a “Smart Call” feature on its phones that can tell you if the call is suspicious and allows you to block the call. Go to “Caller ID and spam protection” in Call Settings, then turn on “Caller ID and spam protection.” Note that is not made available by all carriers.

And Google offers caller ID & spam protection for Android. With this, you can stop spam calls from ringing on your phone. “You won’t get missed call or voicemail notifications, but you’ll still see filtered calls in your call history and be able to check any voicemail you receive,” according to Google.

There are third-party apps that you can try for free such as Nomorobo and RoboKiller. After the trial period, both ask for a small monthly fee, which typically starts at $0.99 or $1.99 per month. There’s also an app called Hiya that is free.

The best advice is to try these services and see which one works for you.

Kill all suspicious calls: the most effective method is to limit calls to your contact list. On the iPhone, this will stop all unwanted calls from ringing on your phone. The only calls that get through are people on your contact list. Other legitimate calls typically go to voicemail.

On the iPhone, you go to Settings, then tap on “Do Not Disturb” then select “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.” This is deadly effective and may be a good option for people hounded by spam calls. For Android, you can do this with apps such as Calls Blacklist.

The FCC just passed a measure to help block the annoying (and illegal) calls.

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

Gone are the days I used to be excited when hearing my phone ring. Is it a friend, family member, or perhaps a colleague? Nope — just another scammer offering a “free” vacation in the Bahamas or a machine demanding payment for “unpaid medical fees.” When I think about it, I might actually receive more scam calls than actual calls.

The reality for millions of Americans is that we receive way too many robocalls on a daily basis. Nearly 48 billion robocalls were made in the US last year, and they certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Wait, what are robocalls and how do they work?

Often, a computer program leverages voice over internet protocol (VOIP) to quickly and cheaply call you. A computer-generated number comes up on your phone, which is often made to appear similar to yours to prompt you to answer. This technique, known as spoofing, disguises the true identity of the call origin and instead makes it show up as an unknown or generic number (like 123456789).

FYI: Robocalls can also show up as real numbers that belong to someone else. That means if you ignore the call but dial it back later, you might reach someone who has no idea their number was misused.

What is the FCC doing about robocalls?

Good news: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking some major steps to reduce the amount of illegal and unwanted calls. On June 6, 2019, the FCC unanimously passed a new measure that would help block robocalls. The ruling would allow carrier companies (like T-Mobile and Verizon) to automatically block illegal and unwanted calls before they reach consumers’ phones. Previously, carriers were allowed to block certain calls — but only after a subscriber agreed to opt in. Under the new measure, carriers can now do so without the consumers’ permission.

Like most things that seem too good to be true, there’s a catch: Carrier companies are not required to provide blocking services free of charge, meaning you might have to pay extra for it. Also, automated calls from legitimate companies (like reminders from your doctor’s office or an airline) may be blocked too. Credit, banking, and healthcare groups are advocating for change to make sure their auto-generated (and legitimate) calls can still get through.

With or without these new changes, there are still plenty of steps you can take to block these unwanted calls.

How to stop robocalls for good

The most important thing you can do to stop robocalls is not answer any unknown numbers. If you answer a robocall, you’ll be put onto a VIP list of people that the scammers know are more likely to pick up. Then, you could actually be passed onto a real person who may try to solicit information from you or trick you into buying something.

To be safe, let unknown calls go to voicemail and see what the message is. While you can often block specific numbers, it usually isn’t helpful since the number can easily change on the next robocall.

If you think you’re receiving robocalls, you can:

  • File a complaint with the FCC, noting the time and date of the call, the number that appeared, a description of the message, and your number.
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, so it becomes illegal for telemarketers to call you. (It’s not foolproof, but it’s an easy first step.)
  • Download a robocall blocking app from your cell phone carrier or a third-party.
  • Utilize the “Do Not Disturb” function on your iPhone or Android — scroll down for step-by-step instructions.

The best robocall blocking apps and tools

AT&T Call Protect: A call-blocking app for AT&T customers that detects and blocks calls from likely fraudsters, identifies telemarketers and other suspected spam calls, and lets you block unwanted calls by number. Available on iOS and Android for free.

Sprint Premium Caller ID: A service that allows Sprint customers to identify unknown callers by name and get warnings on spam calls. Activate from your Sprint account for $3 a month.

T-Mobile Scam Block: A default-off tool that prevents T-Mobile customers from receiving scam calls. Activate from your T-Mobile account, in the latest Name ID app, or dial #622# from your T-Mobile phone. Offered to customers at no extra cost.

Verizon Call Filter: An app that blocks and silences unwanted calls for Verizon customers based on risk level. Available on iOS and Android for free.

RoboKiller: When someone calls you and their number is verified as spam from RoboKiller’s database, your phone won’t ring. Instead you will get a number that notifies you someone has been blocked. The difference between this spam blocking app and others is that it answers the call with a pre-recorded message, wasting the scammer’s time. Available on iOS and Android with a 7-day free trial, then $4 a month or $30 a year.

Hiya: An app that blocks any numbers and texts you want to avoid. Other services include blocking calls, blacklisting unwanted phone numbers, reverse searching incoming call information, and receiving spam alerts. Available on iOS and Android for free.

How to stop robocalls on iPhones

By using Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature, you’ll only be notified for calls and texts from your contacts. All other numbers will be silenced and delivered in the background. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to Settings →
  2. Do Not Disturb →
  3. Allow Call From →
  4. Select “All Contacts”

How to stop robocalls on Androids

Similar to iPhones, Android phones have a similar Do Not Disturb feature that silences sounds and other notifications from any number outside of your contacts. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Go to Sound →
  2. Do Not Disturb →
  3. Exceptions →
  4. Select “Calls From Contacts”

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If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal. Many are also probably scams.

Here’s what you need to know about robocalls and what you can do about them.

  • Are robocalls legal?
  • Why do I get so many robocalls?
  • How can I know if a robocall is a scam?
  • What kinds of robocalls are allowed without my permission?
  • How can I get fewer robocalls?
  • What should I do if I get an illegal robocall?
  • What else is the FTC doing about robocalls?
  • Why doesn’t the Do Not Call Registry stop robocalls?

Are robocalls legal?

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. If you’re getting a lot of robocalls trying to sell you something, odds are the calls are illegal. Many are also probably scams.

Here’s what you need to know about robocalls and what you can do about them.

A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless a company has your written permission to call you that way. To get your permission, the company has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later.

A few types of robocalls are allowed under FTC rules without your permission, like political calls about candidates running for office or charities asking for donations. Keep reading for more examples.

Why do I get so many robocalls?

It’s cheap and easy for scammers and telemarketers to make robocalls over the internet from anywhere in the world.

How can I know if a robocall is a scam?

If someone is already breaking the law by robocalling you without permission, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. At the very least, it’s a company you don’t want to do business with. Don’t rely on your caller ID. S cammers can fake the name and number that shows up, making it look like a call is from a government agency like the Social Security Administration or a local number. That’s called spoofing.

You can watch out for common phone scams like government imposter scams . If someone calls you out of the blue and a sks you to hand over personal information or wire money or pay with a gift card , it’s a scam.

What kinds of robocalls are allowed without my permission?

Under FTC rules, some robocalls don’t require your permission:

  • Messages that are purely informational. Robocalls about your flight being cancelled, reminding you about an appointment, or letting you know about a delayed school opening fall into this category, as long as the caller doesn’t also try to sell you something.
  • Debt collection calls. A business contacting you to collect a debt can use robocalls to reach you. But robocalls that try to sell you services to reduce your debt are illegal and are almost certainly scams.
  • Political calls .
  • Calls from some health care providers. This includes a robocall from a pharmacy reminding you to refill a prescription.
  • Messages from charities. Charities can make these calls themselves. But if a charity hires someone to make robocalls on its behalf, the robocalls can only go to members of the charity or prior donors. They also must include an automated option to let you stop future calls.

How can I get fewer robocalls?

To get fewer illegal robocalls, look into call-blocking solutions . The call-blocking option you choose will depend on whether you’re getting calls on a mobile phone, traditional landline, or home phone that uses the internet (VoIP).

What should I do if I get an illegal robocall?

Hang up . Don’t press any numbers. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.

Report the call to the FTC at donotcall.gov . Report the number on your caller ID and any number you’re told to call back, which helps us track down the scammers behind the call. Even if you think the number on your caller ID is fake, report it. The FTC analyzes complaint data and trends to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns.

The FTC takes the phone numbers you report and releases them to the public each business day. This helps phone carriers and other partners that are working on call-blocking solutions. Your reports also help law enforcement identify the people behind illegal calls.

What else is the FTC doing about robocalls?

The FTC continues to bring enforcement actions against robocallers and has already stopped people responsible for billions of robocalls. You can read about recent FTC cases and other robocall-related actions in our press releases .

The FTC also continues to work with other law enforcement agencies and encourages industry efforts to combat robocalls and caller ID spoofing. The FTC has led initiatives to develop technology-based solutions, including a series of robocall contests that challenged tech experts to design tools that block robocalls and help investigators track down and stop robocallers.

Why doesn’t the Do Not Call Registry stop robocalls?

The National Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop sales calls from real companies that follow the law. The Registry is a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. Scammers don’t care if you’re on the Registry.

Even though the Registry can’t stop all of the unwanted calls you’re getting, being on the Registry could make it easier for you to spot scam calls. If a caller is ignoring the Registry or making an illegal robocall, hang up. There’s a good chance it’s a scam.

Learn more about unwanted calls at ftc.gov/calls .

L earn more about the Telemarketing Sales Rule that governs robocalls on the FTC’s Business Center .

You can use Silence Unknown Callers or a third-party app to block spam calls on your iPhone.

Turn on Silence Unknown Callers

With iOS 13 and later, you can turn on Silence Unknown Callers to avoid getting calls from people you don’t know. This blocks phone numbers that you’ve never been in contact with and don’t have saved in your contacts list. If you’ve previously texted with someone using their phone number or if a person has shared their phone number with you in an email, a phone call from that number will go through.

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

To turn on Silence Unknown Callers, go to Settings > Phone, then scroll down, tap Silence Unknown Callers, and turn on the feature. Calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent to your voicemail, and appear in your recent calls list.

Incoming calls will come through from people that are saved in your contacts list, recent calls list, and from Siri Suggestions to let you know who’s calling based on phone numbers included in your emails or text messages.

If an emergency call is placed, Silence Unknown Callers will be temporarily disabled for the next 24 hours to allow for your iPhone to be reached.

Before you turn on Silence Unknown Callers, make sure you have important contacts saved or you could miss a phone call that you don’t want to miss. The call will still go to voicemail and appear in your recent calls list, but you won’t get a notification while the call is ringing.

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

Set up an app to filter and detect spam calls

  1. Go to the App Store and download an app that detects and blocks spam phone calls. You can download and install multiple apps with this feature from different app developers.
  2. Go to Settings > Phone.
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification.
  4. Under Allow These Apps To Block Calls And Provide Caller ID, turn the app on or off. You can also reorder the apps based on priority. Just tap Edit and then drag the apps in the order you want them.

Phone numbers that appear under Blocked Contacts are numbers that you manually block.

When you receive a call, your device checks the caller’s number and compares it to the list of phone numbers in your third-party spam apps. If there’s a match, iOS displays the identifying label chosen by the app, for example Spam or Telemarketing. If the app determines that a phone number is spam, it may choose to block the phone call automatically. Incoming calls are never sent to third-party developers.

If you determine that a number is from a spam caller, you can block the number manually on your device. Phone numbers that you manually block appear under Blocked Contacts.

If you no longer want to use the app, you can remove it.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

Here’s one thing we can all agree on: Robocalls are annoying and intrusive, and we want them to stop!

Despite years of congressional hearings, prodding from the Federal Communications Commission and assurances from the telecommunications industry that it’s working on solutions, our phones keep ringing and ringing and ringing.

According to YouMail, which makes a robocall blocking app for mobile devices:

  • Americans were bombarded with an estimated 48 billion robocalls last year, an increase of 57 percent from 2017. Thirty-seven percent were classified as scams.
  • Between January and April of this year, more than 20 billion robocalls have been made — about half of them were scam-related.

“We are where email was 15 years ago, where half of all the messages that came in were spam and your inbox was useless,” said Alex Quilici, YouMail’s CEO.

To deal with customer backlash, the major wireless carriers are using new call-filter technology. They also rolled out apps to screen and block robocalls. Despite these well-intentioned efforts, the problem continues to grow because robocalls are such a cheap and easy way for criminals to target massive numbers of potential victims.

We are where email was 15 years ago, where half of all the messages that came in were spam and your inbox was useless.

Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail

You can’t trust caller ID any longer

The average American now gets 150 or more robocalls each year, based on YouMail’s data.

Some robocalls are legitimate and important, such as a reminder about a doctor’s appointment or an alert about a flight delay. But to deal with the flood of bogus calls, a lot of us (myself included) won’t answer if we don’t recognize the number displayed on the caller ID.

Robocall scammers need you to answer; they can’t steal your money or personal information if they can’t talk to you. So, they’ve developed a devious trick: They manipulate the number that appears on caller ID to make it look like it’s coming from your area code or local prefix – or both.

It’s called “neighborhood spoofing” and according to a new report from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, it works. The survey found that most people still use caller ID to determine whether they take a call:

  • Only 18 percent said they would take a call from a toll-free number.
  • More than half (59 percent) said they are more likely to answer a call from a local area code or an area code where family or friends live (44 percent).
  • More than a third (36 percent) are more likely to answer a call with an area code and prefix that matches their own.

“It’s so easy to spoof the number and pretend to be somebody you’re not, that caller ID is not a reliable means of finding out who’s calling anymore,” said Doug Shadel, AARP fraud prevention expert and author of the report. “The vast majority of scam-related robocalls now have spoofed numbers that display the local area code, even when they’re placed somewhere else in the U.S. or even outside the country.”

Aaron Foss, who created the Nomorobo robocall blocking service, says 20 percent of all robocalls are now neighborhood spoofed, and he expects that percentage to go higher because the deception works.

Trump signed the anti-robocall act following its bipartisan support in Congress.

Robocalls: The new FCC crackdown

President Donald Trump has signed a new law aimed at tackling the scourge of illegal robocalls.

The bipartisan legislation expanded the power of the Federal Communications Commission to deter spam calls and reinforced the responsibility of individual phone companies to protect their own consumers.

“With this legislation, phone companies will be required to give all consumers meaningful new protections against these calls and Americans will finally get some relief from the ringing telephone,” Maureen Mahoney, policy analyst with Consumer Reports, told The Associated Press.

However, while consumers may receive fewer spam calls in 2020, they won’t disappear overnight or entirely, she explained.

The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or TRACED Act, increases fines on spam robocallers from $1,500 to as much as $10,000 per illegal call. It also requires phone companies speed up their adaptation of “call authentication technologies” to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before ever reaching consumers, a point Mahoney said is a “big victory.”

“The key is requiring these phone companies to help stop the calls before they reach the consumer and do it at no additional charge,” she told The AP.

While consumers can buy software like Hiya and YouMail to help weed out the billions of robocalls that Americans collectively receive each month on cellphones, this new legislation thrusts the responsibility on service providers to block those calls from ever reaching consumers.

The also requires the Federal Communications Commission and service providers to develop a system which informs customers when they’re receiving a “spoofed” call — when the caller ID is made to look like it’s coming from the same area code, a well-known agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service or company. That system, however, will not work for home phones connected to copper landlines, so the measure calls on the FCC and phone companies to find an alternative for those customers.

Another key takeaway from the new legislation is that it allows the FCC four years to intervene and collect fines after an illegal robocall takes place instead of only one, as with previous legislation. The additional time may prove helpful. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC collected only 0.003 percent of the fines it imposed between 2015 and early 2019.

The FCC is also now required do more to try to protect hospitals because robocalls can divert staffers’ attention when they appear to come from inside the hospital.

Beyond robocalls, the law also directs the FCC to create new rules that will help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted texts too.

Faking caller ID numbers and placing automated telemarketing calls to consumers without their written permission is already illegal in the U.S., but enforcing their subsequent fines has come with hurdles. While U.S.-based robocalls are easier to trace, many of the robocalls that Americans receive originate from overseas, and Consumer Reports says those will likely continue without sufficient interruption.

While Mahoney praises the final legislation overall, she told The AP that robocallers may exploit some protection gaps that were lost between the House and Senate versions — such as a mandate to clarify that the consumer give or withdraw consent to telemarketers.

Xfinity Voice service works with Nomorobo to block unsolicited robocalls to your home. It’s a cloud-based service that hangs up or blocks illegal robocallers or telemarketer calls.

Let’s show you how to set up Nomorobo with your Xfinity Voice service. You’ll need to be home in order to complete the activation with your Xfinity Voice line. Note: Nomorobo service is not compatible with the Xfinity Voice Unlimited Saver or Local With More call plans.

If you don’t need to instructions, you can go directly to the Nomorobo mobile and landline set up. For instructions, go to set up Nomorobo, disable Nomorobo or frequently asked questions.

Set Up Nomorobo

  1. Go to https://www.nomorobo.com/signup and follow the instructions for signing up.
    • Choose Comcast XFINITY as your landline carrier in Step 1. Enter your email address in Step 2 and click Next. You’ll get an email with a link to activate the Nomorobo service. Click on the link and continue as directed.
      How to block robocalls and telemarketers
  2. When you reach the Setup Your Carrier step on Nomorobo’s website, go to Xfinity Connect.
  3. Sign in using your primary Xfinity ID and password, and then select the Voice tab.
  4. Click the settings wheel at top right and select Settings.
  5. Enter the Nomorobo phone number (provided by Nomorobo during setup) into the Advanced Call Forwarding field and select Add.
    • Make sure that the Nomorobo phone number is not the only number listed in this section.
    • Your number should also be listed as a default. Otherwise, callers may get a busy signal when calling your home phone.
    • The number of rings before voicemail should match the rings for your home number. The service automatically terminates calls after one ring.
      How to block robocalls and telemarketers
  6. After you have completed those steps, go back to the Nomorobo website. Go to Your Phones and click the Test button next to your number. Then select I’m ready. Call me now to perform a test call.
    • You’ll get a call to verify that the service is set up correctly. Wait until the third ring to pick up the phone.

Nomorobo will now screen incoming phone calls to your Xfinity Voice telephone number and automatically hang up if a call is determined to be from an illegal robocaller or telemarketer. Your phone will ring once, letting you know that the robocall has been stopped.

Disable Nomorobo

I’ve enabled and verified Nomorobo on my phone. What do I do now?
Continue to use your phone like normal. All you’ll need to do is to wait for the second ring to answer the phone for incoming calls, as Nomorobo needs the first ring to detect robocallers. If you only hear one ring and then it stops, you know a robocaller was just blocked. If the phone continues ringing, you can answer it.

Will this block my doctor’s office, prescription reminders, school closings, weather advisories, etc.?
No. The only numbers that are blocked are reported, illegal robocallers.

A robocaller still called me. What happened?
Occasionally, a robocaller or telemarketer will slip through, as Nomorobo must constantly adapts to their changes in tactics. If you do get a robocall, please report it here.

Does Nomorobo work with Unlimited Saver and Local With More customers?
No. At this time, Nomorobo isn’t compatible with Xfinity Voice Unlimited Saver or Local With More call plans

Does Nomorobo work with Comcast Business Voice customers?
At this time, Nomorobo isn’t compatible with Comcast Business Voice.

What about political and charity calls?
Nomorobo does block political robocalls. You can enable or disable this feature by clicking Edit next to your number when signed into your account on the Nomorobo website. Nomorobo doesn’t block charity calls.

Say goodbye to those unwanted calls for good.

How to block robocalls and telemarketers

We’ve all been there: You see a somewhat familiar number pop up on your caller ID, usually with the same area code as your own. You pick up the phone thinking it’s someone you know, only to find that it’s a stranger or a robot trying to sell you something or get you to give them your private information. This has become so common in fact, that according to a September 2019 survey from Robocall Index, about 1,700 robocalls are received nationwide every second. Raymond Huahong Tu, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland, explained to The Washington Post, that today’s telemarketers commonly use automatic dialing systems that allow them to place numerous calls at once and to substitute prerecorded or computer-generated messages for live ones. So how do you stop the madness and prevent your phone number from getting consistent calls from telemarketers? Well, that depends on whether or not you have a landline or mobile phone (and which kind). Below, we’ve gathered the top solutions for getting rid of telemarketers at home and on your cell.

The first step, no matter what kind of phone or phone line you’re using, is to get yourself on the National Do Not Call Registry. This is maintained and enforced by the federal government and applies to all U.S. telemarketers (excluding non-profits). While this is a necessary first step for reporting telemarketers, you’ll likely continue to receive calls from those violating the registry. So, here’s how to further protect yourself from telemarketers.

How to block telemarketers and robocalls on your landline

Anonymous Call Rejection is a service available to landline users that blocks all those numbers that appear as “Anonymous” on caller ID from reaching you. As long as your caller ID is activated, pick up your line, and enter the magic number: *77. After that, you should hear a confirmation message that your Anonymous Call Rejection service has been turned on. And voila, from thereon out, any telemarketer hiding their number will be rejected. (It should be noted that some carriers charge extra for this service and that this should not be used on mobile lines, where dialing *77 will instead connect you with law enforcement.)

How to block telemarketers and robocalls on your cell phone

If you have a major cellular carrier—like AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile—your phone likely comes preloaded with free call-filtering and blocking services. That’s why you’ll see a numbered identified as “Spam?” on your caller ID. But these services can be less than reliable. If you want to keep all unfamiliar numbers from reaching you in full, turn on your phone’s built-in Do Not Disturb Mode, which is available on both iPhones and Androids. While this will block all of those unwanted calls—including telemarketing calls and robocalls—you will likely also miss some legitimate calls when this mode is on, like from your doctor’s office or hair salon if they’re not saved in your Contacts list.

Another, albeit more tedious, option, is to block each individual number once you receive a call from a telemarketer or robot.

On your iPhone, open your Phone app, go to your Recents tab, then tap the “i” (AKA the Information icon) to the right of the number you want to block. On the next page, tap “Block this Caller” at the bottom of the screen to put the number on your Blocked Numbers list.

If you have an Android, similarly open your Recents section in your Phone app, then hold your finger on the suspicious number until the option to”Block/report spam” pops up.

Of course, if you understandably want a faster solution, there are many apps you can download to your smartphone. These major three—Hiya, Nomorobo, and Robokiller—all utilize some version of an extensive call blacklist, which is usually crowdsourced. If low cost and privacy are your priorities, Hiya is the one for you: It’s free, and claims to not make use of client voicemail and call information. If you are willing to shell out a couple bucks per month, Nomorobo and Robokiller are both excellent options, and the latter has a killer perk: The service includes access to so-called “spambots,” which will answer telemarketing calls for you and engage whoever’s on the other end (even other bots!) in pointless bot-conversation. Soon, the telemarketers will catch on and stop calling you. Simple as that! And for more ways to make the most of the supercomputer in your pocket, Here’s the Single Best Way to Make Your Phone Battery Last All Day.

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