The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that if you answer a phone call and you're talking to a computer and not a human being, you have received a robocall. While some can be useful, such as severe weather alerts, appointment reminders, or community updates, other robocalls with sales pitches, political messages or scams are annoying, or even dangerous. In July 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Traced Act, a law that toughens punishments against illegal robocalls and requires phone companies to check if a call is genuine.
Unfortunately, while tougher punishments and better caller verification may help reduce robocalls, some still sneak through. Smartphone owners can reduce the chances they'll receive unwanted calls by installing apps on their phones that can identify robocallers and screen them out before they get through. One of the most well-known of these apps is Nomorobo, a service available for both landlines and cell phones.
Smartphone users can download the Nomorobo app via the Apple App Store or on Google Play. As calls come in, the app checks the number against a list of known robocallers. The service identifies more than 1,500 new robocallers each day. If you sign up, you have two choices when a call comes in. The app can tell you if a call is a possible robocall but let it ring through for you to check, or you can set the app to send possible robocallers directly to voicemail. In that case, your smartphone won't even ring.
Nomorobo's apps are also able to screen text messages for spam. If the app determines you got a junk text, the message goes to an SMS Junk folder for you to review.
Here's how to set it up: On your smartphone, first download the app. To activate it on your iPhone, click on Phone, then click on Call Blocking & Identification and then enable Nomorobo. For Android, open the app, choose a subscription plan, enter your phone number, select your setting (Identify or Block [Send to Voicemail])