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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
- 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?