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How to block spam calls and robocalls on iPhone and Android

Tired of random suspicious numbers calling you? Don’t let spam stress you out. Fight back against annoying spam and robocalls with these quick tips.

Zen Bahar

Zen Bahar

Feb 20, 2022 · 4 min read

How to block spam calls and robocalls on iPhone and Android

What are spam calls, robocalls and fraud calls?

Ok, so besides being annoying and infuriatingly distracting, what’s the difference between spam, robocalls, and fraud calls?

  • Robocalls: Robocalls are when you answer the phone and you hear a pre-recorded, automated message.
  • Spams: Unwanted calls from retailers, and charities for instance, who often contact a large number of people with the same generic opening lines. You may have even given consent for them to contact you without fully realizing. (See tip 1 in the final section).
  • Fraud calls: A call from someone malicious pretending to be who they’re not – like your bank, university, or doctor.

You might think it's easy to spot a fraudster, but when you’re distracted and get a call from an illegitimate third party who nevertheless has all the right information, you could easily be swindled. For example:

  • Robocallers are now able to mask their number with local, genuine-looking phone numbers. That makes it a lot easier to catch you off guard.
  • Sometimes, the caller will already know your name and address, making them seem like the real deal.
  • In whaling and phishing attacks, a spammer will impersonate your boss, colleague, or even the CEO of the company you work for. Austrian plane company FACC lost 56 million dollars to whalers in January 2016. And in the same year, Seagate’s HR department leaked the details of 10,000 employees to a scammer impersonating the company’s CEO.

How to block spam calls and robocalls on iPhone and Android

It’s fairly easy to block spam numbers one by one from your phone' settings. To find out how to block spam text messages on iPhone, scroll to the end of the list. For long-term protection against spam calls, you might want to try our tips in the final section.

How to block spam calls on iPhone

    1. Go to the Phone app.
    2. Tap on “Recents.”
    3. Find the number you want to block and tap on the blue information icon to the right of the number.
    4. Select “Block this Caller.”

Want to know more? Click here to find out how to stop spam text messages on iPhone.

How to block spam calls on Android

    1. Go to the Phone app.
    2. Tap on “Recents.”
    3. Long press the number you want to block and choose “Block.”

More ways to block spam, spam calls, and robocalls

    1. Trust your network provider to protect you
    2. Some mobile network providers offer some level of spam blocking as part of their plans offered to customers. Improvements to the network and technologies like SHAKEN/STIR make it possible to verify legitimate calls and detect spoofed numbers from your local area code.

    3. Use an app for spam protection
    4. Apps like Truecaller, YouMail, Hiya, UnknownPhone, and Calls Blacklist identify spam and robo-messages, block malicious phone numbers, and even let you form a personal blacklist.

      Most of these apps require a monthly or annual subscription, relying on a constantly updated list of robocallers, spammers, and fraudsters to stop nuisance calls.

    5. Add yourself to the Do Not Call Registry
    6. Sales agents are supposed to honor the National Do Not Call Registry in the US. You can add yourself to the list by visiting www.donotcall.gov.

      The Do Not Call Registry only stops sales calls. Charities, political groups, debt collectors, or those collecting responses for surveys will still be able to call you. Robocallers and fraudsters won’t respect the Do Not Call Registry, so you’ll need extra protection to block them.

How to stop spam and robocalls forever

Ok, we can’t promise forever. But these tips are bound to stop spam and robocalls for the long term.

    1. Stop giving away your information unknowingly
    2. When you sign up for an app or create an account with an online store, check its privacy policy. Quite often you’ll be signing up to receive phone calls, emails, and text messages about its services as well as allowing it to pass on your information to third parties.

    3. Use a throwaway email account
    4. Create a spare email address and use that to sign up for online shopping accounts, forums, and video platforms. That way, if these companies suffer a data breach, your main email address won’t get leaked.

    5. Think twice before you click on links
    6. In a phishing email, the links can be malicious. If you click on links within suspicious emails, they can direct you to spoofed websites designed to steal your details.

      Let’s say a scammer spoofs FedEx’s email address and sends you a message asking you to reschedule your delivery and pay a small fee. You click on the link to reschedule and enter your name, address, and bank details onto the scammer’s spoofed website. Now the scammer has all of your details, and there’s little you can do to track them down.

      NordVPN's Threat Protection feature can help you here as it blocks access to spoofed sites and identify malware-ridden files. It reduces the possibility of cyber threats damaging your device.

    7. Learn how to detect spam
    8. Scammers aren't the brightest bunch, so look out for simple errors like spelling mistakes, warped logos on websites, and weird language. Take this common trick where a scammer swaps the “l” in PayPal, for a capital ‘i’ instead. https://www.paypal.com/us/home instead of https://www.paypaI.com/us/home. This lets the scammer create a fake PayPal website to steal your details, so beware!