Consumer Reports’ advice on stopping robocalls

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — You’re probably still getting plenty of annoying robocalls. Believe it or not, they’re reportedly declining, even though we received nearly 46 billion robocalls last year. That’s according to the blocking and tracking service, YouMail.

So why the drop? Improved blocking technology, increased enforcement, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, Anne Bettinger, who receives robocalls, says she’s actively fighting them every day.

“It makes me angry that people feel like they can set up a computer and intrude on my life,” Bettinger said.

To make it stop, Bettinger decided to get an app called Nomorobo, which claims to block robocalls for two dollars a month. Other call-blocking apps include Hiya, Mr. Number, and Robokiller.

But Consumer Reports says the anti-robocall tools provided by your mobile carrier might be an even better option.

“For the most part, consumers don’t have to do anything to get these services to work. Calls that are legit will be allowed to ring. And calls that aren’t will either be blocked or show up with an alert,” said Octavio Blanco, Consumer Reports Editor.

CR says you can also try a more drastic step: Set up your phone to allow calls only from people on your contact list.

For iPhones with iOS 13 or later

  1. Go to settings
  2. Phone
  3. then scroll down and tap Silence Unknown Callers
  4. and turn on the feature.

For Android

  1. Tap the phone icon usually found at the bottom of your home screen.
  2. Then at the top right corner of the screen tap the three dots
  3. Settings
  4. Blocked numbers
  5. Then enable “block calls from unidentified callers” by tapping the toggle switch on the right.

“With this option, you’ll have to update your contacts list often to avoid missing important calls,” said Blanco.

As for Anne, she’ll keep fighting robocalls as long as they keep coming in. “As a senior citizen on a fixed income, I don’t need this.” 

Depending on your phone and carrier, Consumer Reports says you might have to manually activate the call-blocking services.

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