How many times have you fielded a phone call from a random area code only to hear a bogus message about "urgent info" regarding your credit score, car insurance, student loans or vehicle warranty?
The answer is probably "too many," and you're not alone. According to call-blocking company YouMail, nearly 5 billion robocalls were placed across the United States in April of 2019. That's about 15 annoying as hell pre-recorded messages per person.
It's such an issue that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pushing a proposal that would require phone companies to "block unwanted calls to their customers by default."
That proposal won't be considered until a meeting on June 6. Until then, Inside Hook has curated a handy list of tips and tricks you can use to mitigate, if not eradicate, robocalls and spam texts for good.
1. Add your wireless and/or landline numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry, which will then prohibit telemarketers from calling them. For texts, forward SPAM messages to 7726 (or SPAM). This free service reports the SPAM number to your wireless provider and flags it.
2. If you don’t know a number, even if it says it’s from a local area, don’t answer it. If you do, hang up the phone right away. Failing that, if the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting calls, just hang up. This trick is used to identify potential targets.
3. Talk to your wireless provider about call-blocking tools they have. Providers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon all offer anti-robocall services, some of which are free, some paid.
4. Look into apps you can download to block unwanted calls. Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Truecaller and the aforementioned YouMail are all popular options.
5. Enlist the help of the Jolly Roger Telephone Company at a cost of $11.88 per year. Essentially, the company offers a bot that uses algorithms to waste as much of a telemarketer’s time as possible by making them caller think they are talking with an actual human.
If that’s too hardcore, you can always file a complaint online with the FTC or FCC after getting an unwanted call or text. Has to be a robocall or automated text though — not just your ex calling to “check in.”
Best of luck.