Bottom Line: Can you really stop robocalls?

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:40 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - How many of those annoying robocalls do you get a day? Believe it or not, they’re reportedly declining, though we still received nearly 46 billion robocalls last year. And you might say one is too many. The good news: There are easy ways to block them and Consumer Reports explains how to do it.

You may not have noticed, but in 2020 there were actually fewer robocalls than in the previous two years -- That’s according to the blocking and tracking service, YouMail.

Why the drop? Improved blocking technology, increased enforcement, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, Anne Bettinger says she’s actively fighting them every day.

“It makes me angry that people feel like they can set up a computer and intrude on my life,” she said.

To make it stop, Anne decided to get an app called Nomorobo, which claims to block robocalls for two dollars a month.

Other call-blocking apps include Hiya, Mr. Number, and Robokiller.

But Consumer Reports says the anti-robocall tools provided by your mobile carrier might be an even better option.

“For the most part, consumers don’t have to do anything to get these services to work,” said Octavio Blanco, Consumer Reports editor. “Calls that are legit will be allowed to ring. And calls that aren’t will either be blocked or show up with an alert.”

Consumer Reports says you can also try a more drastic step: set up your phone to allow calls only from people on your contact list.

For iPhones with iOS 13 or later -- go to settings, phone, then scroll down, tap Silence Unknown Callers, and turn on the feature.

For Android -- tap the phone icon usually found at the bottom of your home screen. Then at the top right corner of the screen tap the three dots, settings, blocked numbers. Then enable “block calls from unidentified callers” by tapping the toggle switch on the right.

“With this option you’ll have to update your contacts list often to avoid missing important calls,” said Blanco.

As for Anne, she’ll keep fighting robocalls as long as they keep coming in.

“As a senior citizen on a fixed income, I don’t need this,” said Bettinger.

Depending on your phone and carrier, Consumer Reports says you might have to manually activate the call-blocking services. Head to our website for CR’s step-by-step instructions for each carrier.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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