Scam Call Apps & Tools for Consumers

Disclaimer: The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission does not endorse or promote any apps, tools or services mentioned. The following list is provided to consumers for informational purposes only. Some tactics mentioned may not work for all consumers and those that do work for you may vary in effectiveness.

 

To find the best course of action, it is recommended you contact your service provider directly. They can provide more information about options that pair well with your phone, service and plan.

 

If you are one of the millions of consumers that regularly receive scam calls, there are a number of options to help minimize these occurrences. Most of these tools apply to wireless subscribers. Landline subscribers may have fewer options due to the technology.

 

Option 1: Block single numbers.

 

While blocking a single number may work if a persistent phone number continually calls you, it isn’t likely to eliminate unwanted calls. This is partly due to spoofing technology. Spoofing allows callers to misrepresent the number they are calling from. Your phone’s call blocking feature blocks the number shown on caller ID, but that may not be the scammer’s true phone number. You may be blocking an unassuming, law-abiding person’s legitimate phone number instead.

 

Option 2: Ask your carrier to protect you.

 

Most major phone service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, have created tools to act as a barrier between customers and unwelcome callers. The functions available in these tools and the effectiveness may vary from provider to provider. Some options may have additional fees associated with the service.

 

Contact your service provider to find out what tools they offer or recommend.

 

AT&T – Visit an AT&T store or contact customer service by calling 1-800-331-0500.

 

Verizon – Visit your local Verizon store or call 1-800-922-0204 to speak with a representative.

 

Sprint – Visit your local Sprint store or call 1-888-211-4727 for more information.

 

T-Mobile – Visit a T-Mobile store or call customer service at 1-877-746-0909.

 

Option 3: Protect yourself with third-party apps.

 

There are tons of call blocking apps available for download to both Android and iOS phones. Many require a subscription and some even require access to your personal contact list, so do your research before selecting an app and read the terms of service thoroughly.

 

Call blocking apps rely on constantly updated databases that track robocallers, spammers and fraudsters to block nuisance calls. Generally, the services function in a similar way. When a call is placed to your phone, the service compares the caller’s number to its database. If the caller matches a number the service has flagged, the incoming call is shut off before it reaches you.

 

These services also have features that allow users greater control over what calls reach them. Each user has a personal blacklist to block specific numbers that aren’t in the app’s database and a whitelist to specify numbers allowed to reach them regardless of the number’s presence in the app database.

 

There is a wide selection of call blocking apps available for download. Some of the most popular and widely well-reviewed apps to block unwanted calls are Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Hiya and TrueCaller.

 

        Nomorobo is available to Android and iPhone users and offers a free 14-day trial. After your free trial, the service will cost
        you $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. The company also offers the same call blocking services to VoIP landlines for free.

        RoboKiller is available to iPhone and Android users and offers a free seven-day trial. After your free trial, the service will
        cost $2.99 a month or $24.99 a year

 

        Hiya partners with Samsung and T-Mobile and provides their free spam ID services. The company also provides
        standalone apps for non-Samsung phones or those with providers outside of T-Mobile’s network. Both Android and iOS
        users candownload the app and utilize Hiya’s spam ID services for free.

        TrueCaller is free and available to iPhone and Android users.

 

Option 4: Use Do Not Disturb to only receive calls from your contacts.

 

This is an extreme solution to the scammers and robocalls problem. Both Android and iOS operating systems have a Do Not Disturb function that only allows phone calls from people and businesses in your contact list to reach you. If you go this route, you’ll likely miss some calls from people trying to contact you for legitimate purposes. Those calls will still go to your voicemail and you can then add the number to your contacts for the future.

 

If you aren’t meticulous about keeping contacts updated or frequently work with new people and businesses, this option isn’t for you. In fact, it’s not a widely recommended solution, but it may work for a select few looking for an extreme solution.