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Simple Tips to Stop Unwanted Spam Phone Calls

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stop spam calls

Ring, ring… 📞

Ever wish you could stop unwanted spam phone calls?

Picture this: You just sat down to a lovely dinner with the family when your phone rings. Your heart skips a beat when you hear that it’s an agent from the IRS and you owe them money… lots of money. He recites his badge number and confirms the last four digits of your Social Security Number along with your place of employment, so you fear this call must be legit. I mean who knows that kind of information?!

So, what do you do?

Well, unfortunately, thousands of people every day receive these scam phone calls. The first thing you should do is hang up the phone as fast as you can and call the real IRS. And just to clarify, the IRS does NOT call taxpayers to collect money – scammers do!

Getting a phone call from someone you don’t want to hear from is annoying and time-consuming. But there are several ways to prevent these types of calls – and it takes just a few minutes of your time.

1. Register with the National Do Not Call Registry.

stop unwanted spam phone calls – national do not call registry

One way to stop spam phone calls is to register your phones with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register your home and/or mobile phone for FREE – and registrations NEVER expire!

To register online, visit the Do Not Call website and follow the directions. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY) – note that you must call from the phone number you wish to register. If you have previously registered your number, there is no need to register again.

A few things to note:

  • After you register, other types of organizations may still call you, such as charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys. To learn more, read their FAQ section.
  • If you received an unwanted call after your number was on the National Registry for 31 days, report it to the FTC.

2. Download FREE apps.

stop unwanted spam phone calls – app on a cell phone

Another way to stop those pesky telemarketers from contacting you is by downloading FREE third-party apps. These apps can alert you of a possible spam call by checking an incoming number against the app’s database. And, if you want to ensure that no annoying calls will get through, you can even install multiple apps and have them work simultaneously.

Here are just a few that we found…

  • True Caller – See who’s calling with caller ID and block unwanted calls.
  • Mr. Number Call Block & Lookup by Hiya – Avoid unwanted calls with spam detection and fast reverse phone lookup.
  • Hiya Caller ID & Block – Benefit from caller ID, call management options like auto-blocking, and reverse phone lookup capabilities.
  • Calls Blacklist (Android) – Block calls and text messages from undesired sources.
  • Safest Call Blocker (Android) – Block any number not in your contacts list from your call log or add unwanted numbers manually.

NOTE: Once you’ve downloaded the spam blocking app of your choice, you’ll have to actually enable it in your iPhone’s settings. Go here to see how to enable it on your iPhone.


3. Check with your phone carrier.

stop unwanted spam phone calls – T-mobile storefront

Look into which spam and robocall controls your phone carrier provides to block unwanted and anonymous calls, like AT&T’s Call Protect or T-Mobile’s Scam ID and Scam Block. Most of them are FREE so it may be worth checking out your phone company’s website to see what’s available.

Are you an AT&T customer? You can install the FREE and highly rated AT&T Call Protect App (available for iOS or Android) as it detects and blocks calls from likely fraudsters and helps identify telemarketers and other suspected spam calls. Also, it manually blocks unwanted calls.

Are you a T-Mobile customer? T-Mobile offers Scam ID FREE of charge so you can immediately see when calls come in from likely scammers. Scam Block allows you to block all likely scammers before they reach you. Both options are included at no extra cost for T-Mobile customers.

Are you a Verizon customer? Verizon has four ways to help you block calls on your home phone. If you haven’t already, sign up for: Call Block, Caller ID, Anonymous Call Rejection, and Caller ID/Call Waiting. Go here for more details about how to block calls with Verizon.

Have a different carrier? Go here and click on the Call Blocking Resources tab for tips on how to block unwanted calls with your carrier.


4. Block numbers manually on your phone.

If you don’t want to use dedicated call blocker apps, there is a simple solution for the iPhone to block calls and texts without any third party caller ID apps. Whenever you receive a suspicious phone call, simply tap on the information of the contact and scroll down until you see “block this caller”. Alternatively, you can go to iOS Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact.

If you have an Android, you can follow these instructions for whichever phone model you have.


5. Be prepared & know who to contact.

stop unwanted spam phone calls – woman considering whether to answer the phone

Note that the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment without having mailed you a bill first (and they won’t threaten to bring in local police for not paying). They will also not require you to use a specified method of payment, such as a prepaid debit card or ask for your credit/debit card information over the phone.

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • Report an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.
  • You can also file a complaint with the FCC if you believe you’ve received an illegal call or text.

How do you stop unwanted phone calls?

Join The Discussion

Comments 64

  1. Denise

    great post! I love that you post about all sorts of things…not just saving money! forwarded to my parents…they r always freaked out about this

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Thanks for the kind feedback! SO glad you can share this with your parents!

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Thanks Denise!

  2. Lana

    A few months ago I started putting the calls on hold until they hang up and after 2 weeks the calls completely stopped. I did not say anything before putting them on hold.

    • Lauren

      That’s brilliant.

  3. chester5

    Thank you! I’m going to try the apps right now. Fingers crossed.

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome! Hope they work well for you!

  4. stacy

    fake irs calls have been awful!! When I kept questioning them why they keep calling me they called me a criminal and then actually said they were coming to my house to rape me… nice huh – yes I did report it but they yet again call me from another number

    losers

    • Tia

      That’s awful!

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Oh man – that IS awful! 😳

    • Katie’s

      I am a tax accountant. The irs will never call you unless you have take to them and they are calling you back. They also will never email you.

  5. Juma

    These kinds of calls annoy the heck out of me at work . Did all the things suggested above and started keeping a log of calls reported those also. One day I was just fed up so I decided to hold up their phone line and the potential of harassing others and making money. So I just started talking to them about off the wall stuff I read them labels on the water bottle I had. I acted as if I knew them personally and just talked crazy stuff nothing mean though. Finally I heard the gentleman on the phone saying this lady is nuts she won’t let me speak. Haha I never heard from them again. My whole point in wasting their time was to prevent some unsuspecting person getting caught up in their bull and to give them a dose of their own mess

    • Sonya

      Wow, that’s great!!! I usually try speaking another language.

      • Chloe

        A telemarketer called once and I told her several times to stop calling our house and take us off their list. She started talking Spanish. Well my husband speaks Spanish so I went and woke him up from his nap and told him to tell her in Spanish not to call and take us off the list. She hung up on him and never called back. Lol

    • Cw

      Love what you did, how you got even!

    • AMY

      Ha! I kinda do the same thing, I let my 3 yr old son talk to them or my 1 yr old daughter scream in their ear. 🤣

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      LOL love it! 🤣

  6. cw

    Thank you for this post. I already have all of the listed apps and by far the most helpful one has been the one from AT&T, my cell phone provider.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Good to know! 👍🏻 And you’re most welcome!

  7. Juma

    I got caught one day by my boss and his jaws dropped. So when bi got off the call I explained to him what I was doing he shock his head and said if it works and makes you happy go for it. The stories I could tell from the past couple of years would have you on the floor cracking up .

    • beth pitt

      Agree! I’ve been getting robocalls several times a day for the last several months! It’s crazy, nothing I have done works. They come from numerous different numbers but all from my state or neighboring states. I never have answered them but yet they continue. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to know. Thanks.

      • Wren

        Seems the same for me, has been the last several months with somewhat familiar numbers. Or the number will have the same prefix as mine. SO annoying.

  8. LChapman

    You all are so awesome! 👍👍

  9. Tolu

    I was almost scammed by the fake IRS caller once. It left me in tears. I was literally on my way to the bank to withdraw money but God so good, I googled the number calling me and saw it was all over google as a scam number. It left me terribly shaken.

  10. Morna

    The calls have been getting out of control. My phone has hiya built in which helps. I block left and right, they just call from another number. Lately, I have been getting calls from a bunch of numbers similar to mine. I guess they think spoofing numbers close will make me more likely to answer. Also, if you don’t leave a message, I don’t call you back.

    • Vanessa

      Omg! That is so weird! I’ve been getting calls from. Numbers that are almost identical to mine too!

      • Dealzgurl

        Me too! So weird. They call constantly and even though I block them, they call from another number. I always look up the number online to see if I can figure out who it is. Great tips in the post!

    • Debi

      Me too! Same first three numbers. One lady called me and left a message that she was going to the police if my number called her one more time about paying off a credit card. I never called this lady once!!!! I called Verizon and they said people in all cell carriers are having problems with scammers using people’s legit phone numbers to make phone calls. So someone used my number to call her and when she called back she got my voicemail. Not cool 😡

      • Wendy

        Hi Debi, it’s called spoofing. They call using a number that is entirely different than your phone number however to the person that they called sees your number. It’s like they steal your number and use it to show up on caller id in the place of the number they are actually using. So annoying. I had it happen to me and people were calling me saying that they got calls from my number . It wasn’t even me actually calling them. Ughhh. They acted like I was lying.

  11. Jiya

    Thanks for the tips. I get these robocalls & no one speak. Sometimes you don’t know who is calling & you try to call back no reply.
    Interesting thing is that they keep changing no. But I wonder how they get hold of our no? It’s horrible experience for people who get scammed for just having a phone.

    • Holly K

      Jiya and everyone, don’t ever call back! At least some of the scammers have a way to charge you for a cal to another country even though you think you are calling a local number. Even without that, calling back indicates to them that you are interested and they will persisit.

    • Wendy

      Hi . They get your number because they have a computer program that starts out with one number and it adds 1 to it and continues on and on. For instance they might program it to start calling 910-555-1111. Then the program add 1 to it so the next number it would call is 910-555-1112, next number is 910-555-1113. They don’t actually know your number or which numbers are valid or active. The computer program makes the calls so fast for them, they are just trying to get a hit on a valid number in which someone answers.

  12. Shari M

    Hi there in regards to some of these calls a lot of these apps and helpers out there are not 100% accurate I want you to know that I did receive a call an official call from the actual real IRS the call was labeled incoming as a nuisance call or something to that effect at the time I wasn’t able to get the call but I did see the alleged nuisance attached to it so I wasn’t in a real big hurry to check the messag. bBy the time I did, 48 hours later, it was the weekend and of course I was very upset that I had missed the call and didn’t listen to the message prior. The point I’m making is that many of these apps or I believe the app in question for me was something that was connected to T-Mobile and apparently if a person gets a call from a telemarketer or whatever they can go and identify the caller through some website or application or something I can’t remember now the the ifs ands or buts but I did call T-Mobile to inquire and ask them how this could have happened of course they didn’t believe me that it was a real IRS call at first…and of course this is now 8 months later and yes absolutely 100% sure it was the real IRS and all worked out okay.
    They were not threatening to get money for me within the next day or two or whatever some of those other cause say but they were trying to work some things out with me.

    • Wren

      Your phone marking the actual IRS call as a nuisance sounds about right to me. 🙂 hehe

    • Mitch

      Just so you guys know. The real IRS never call. They always send coorispondance through mail not email or phone call. And if you have ever gotten a real letter from the IRS or the treasury dept then you know the true meaning of the term, “lump in your throat.”

  13. Haseena

    Just today I received one of these IRS calls, but if I don’t recognize the number I almost never answer the phone and just let it go to voicemail. And once in awhile if I do answer and it’s some sales call I just say “my parents are not home” 🤣 never fails to work, they hang up faster than I can finish talking.

  14. Peaches

    FYI, there are also DMAChoice .org to stop unwanted commercial email and Catalogchoice.org to stop unsolicited catalogs clogging your regular postal mailbox. Both websites are wonderful.

  15. Beth

    Thanks for the info. I am going to give the AT&T one a try.

  16. Sera

    Oh my goodness thank you for this! I don’t know how my number got out but I have been getting an INSANE amount of calls and texts that are spam. I have way too much going on in my life right now to deal with this crap! I will take the time to explore some of these steps (I’m already on the registry so no idea where my number leaked)! 😓

  17. Susan B

    I switched to AT&T a while ago and recently started to and their app “Call Protect”… wow! I went from a dozen calls a day to maybe 1 per week!

  18. Alison

    Great article – Thanks!
    I am with AT&T and just downloaded the Call Protect -but it says my line is not eligible – seems this is only for Postpaid not Prepaid plans. Confused about the difference actually – I like paying a fixed price each month $40.75 for Prepaid – is Postpaid generally more expensive?
    Will register with the ‘National Do Not Call’ service – Thanks

  19. Mary

    I found do not disturb in my notifications setting – have it fixed so that it is on 24/7 AND it is set so that only people in my contacts list get thru! Works like a charm 😊

  20. Ashley

    Very helpful! Thank you!

  21. riss

    I’ve been getting these calls for the past 2 or 3 months, numbers I don’t recognize, so I usually just don’t pick up. One time I picked up but I didn’t speak the whole time, not even a hello. I just put in on speaker. The guy stayed on the phone for more than a minute, kept saying hello? hello? may I speak with (my hubby’s name). I googled it afterwards and they flagged it as nuisance call or scam call. That’s what I usually do, not pick up and then google the number and then manually block them. I’m gonna try the AT&T app. I didn’t know there was one. Thanks.

  22. Sara

    Last year I was subjected to scam calls for credit cards, car warranties, solar panels, addiction, home security systems, payday loans, and the IRS. I started keeping track of the states, dates, and time of the calls. I got calls from 25 states and DC. If I answered, I hung up the moment the automated system started talking. I then manually blocked each number.

  23. Sara

    My favorite scam call is one I didn’t answer. The call came from 555-555-5555.

  24. Heather Brown

    Thank you for sharing this information. I think I have done all of them, but I still get calls from unfamiliar numbers until today. I choose to just ignore those calls now. It’s a waste of time talking to them. I have also read an article that might be useful for everyone at https://www.lemberglaw.com/tcpa-compliance-telephone-consumers-protection-act/. I think the government should really think about how to eliminate this practice.

  25. Juma

    There is one important thing I forgot to mention about this subject. Never never reply YES to any of the questions if you get a call. They will record those Yes answers and use it against you and next thing you know is you have agreed to some magazine or other products. It’s a very sneaky thing they do and it will take a lot of work and effort to fix it. Happened to an elderly lady I know and it took me months to help her fix it. I had to threaten them by telling them I would forward it to the attorney general federal government and anyone else to expose their evil practices. I told them that I would make the time to fight for her and others who get scammed by them. Long story short they fixed it and she hasn’t had any issues since. The company was supposedly from GA trying to sell the yellow pages. What a joke we haven’t used yellow pages in what ten or more years. Bottom line though to all these scammers is because the states and federal governments don’t make it tough enough on them and follow through with punishment.

  26. Laura

    Thanks! I also had niticed-after years of being on the Do Not Call registry- that I suddenly began getting tons of spam calls. I had googled what to do, and found nothing helpful. So after each one, I’d do a reverse search, and manually block it, hoping that I wasnt wrong (theres always a chance, right?). I’m gonna try Call Protect.

  27. LC

    thank!

  28. BONITA

    Especially for IRS scam calls, find out the telco that “owns” the number (best if goes to voicemail with callback number to avoid spoofed numbers) (Google is your friend). Report to telco fraud dept. (violates terms of service). After several days, good chance telco will shut down. Sure, they’ll just use new number, but if enough people constantly are reporting, it will make things more difficult for them, raise their cost of business, and maybe save some people.

  29. Judy Trac

    How do I block calls that said unknown

  30. nbrown7977

    There is a secret shopper scam going around from marketingresearch.com They sent a check to me for $1800 to cash or deposit to complete a money gram and Walmart to Walmart transaction. When I brought it to my bank it was a fraudulent check and kept it and a copy of the letter that I received with it. I know this is a little different but wanted to get the word out about it.

  31. Becky

    My husband answered a spam phone call one time with “hello caller… You are on the air!” And the guy just sat there. So then my husband said “go ahead you’re on the air we are listening!” And the guy replied “I’ll remove you from our list“. Ha ha ha.

  32. Jami

    If someone’s calling from a private number, I respect their privacy and don’t answer, haha!

  33. YesIworkforthegovt

    Please understand that the Feds are aware and really are working on these problems. Task forces are working internationally on these con artists who are targeting Americans. Here is a good link: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-calls-and-texts?from=home

    FTC and FCC recommend NOMOROBO.COM and on VOIP home lines its free. Its a couple bucks/month on cell phones for all carriers.
    Be vigilant and PLEASE share this information with your elderly parents, neighbors etc!!

  34. Pat Oswald

    I answer ” Good Morning , How may I help you?” They assume they have reached a business and hang up.

  35. Sisi

    I would look into my detailed bill and find the scam numbers that called and left voicemails. I would compare the the date and time. I found out that the actual number that they calling from is listed on the bill and is not the same as the one that

  36. Sisi

    (Sorry couldn’t see what I was typing) the phone displayed. I would block that number and the calls would stop for awhile. However recently the calls renewed and

  37. Sisi

    Somehow my bill doesn’t show any freaking call at that time! Somehow they managed to avoid even that!

    To make it clear – I created a contact junk and I entered the actual number and I blocked it.

  38. Cari

    After getting on the no call list it seems to gotten worse. A couple weeks ago this guy called and said he had been getting a call from me every day for a week..needless to say I never call ppl aside from doctors.
    Alot of out the country numbers, too.

  39. Chickadee

    I signed up at https://www.nomorobo.com/, the phone only rings one time when it is a robotic call. A few still get through, but this has stopped about 75% of those annoying calls.

  40. Hales

    Jokes on them, I answer the phone for like 8 people.

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