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How to stop robocalls spamming your phone

No matter what your politics, beliefs, or even your sports team, we can all agree on one thing: robocalls are the scourge of modern times.
These unsolicited auto-dialed spam calls bug you dozens of times a week — sometimes more — demanding you “pay the IRS” or pretend to be “Apple technical support.” Even the now-infamous Chinese embassy scam, recently warned about by the FBI, has gained notoriety. These robocallers spoof their phone number to peddle scams and tricks — but the calls are real. Some 26 billion calls in 2018 were robocalls — up by close to half on the previous year. And yet there’s little the government agency in charge — the Federal Communications Commission — can do to deter robocallers, even though it’s illegal. Although the FCC has fined robocallers more than $200 million in recent years but collected just $6,790 because the agency lacks the authority to enforce the fines.
So, tough luck — it’s up to you to battle the robocallers — but it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. These are the best solutions to help keep the spammers at bay.


YOUR CARRIER IS YOUR FIRST CALL


Any winds of change will come from the big four cell giants: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon (which owns TechCrunch).
Spoofing happens because the carriers don’t verify that a phone number is real before a call crosses their networks. While the networks are figuring out how to fix the problem — more on that later — each carrier has an offering to help prevent spam calls.
Here are what they have:
AT&T‘s Call Protect app, which requires AT&T postpaid service, provides fraud warnings, and spam call screening and blocking. Call Protect is free for iOS and Android. AT&T also offers Call Protect Plus for $3.99 a month which offers enhanced caller ID services and reverse number lookups.
Sprint lets customers block or restrict calls through its Premium Caller ID service. It costs $2.99 per month and can be added to your Sprint account. You can then download the app for iOS. A Sprint spokesperson told TechCrunch that Android users should have an app preinstalled on their devices.
How to stop robocalls spamming your phone
T-Mobile doesn’t offer an app, but provides a call screening to alert customers to potentially scammy or robocalled incoming calls. (Image: Farknot_Architect/Getty Images)
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