How to Block Spam Calls: 4 Ways

How to Block Spam Calls: 4 Ways
Table Of Contents

Are you tired of incessant ringing only to pick up and hear a pre-recorded message or a telemarketer on the other end? 

Millions of people are plagued by spam calls every day. Blocking these unwanted calls saves you time and energy and safeguards you from potential scams.

What Are Spam Calls?

Spam calls are like that sudden knock at the front door — they just show up without warning and often at the most inconvenient times. They're primarily from businesses that are a little too eager to introduce you to their services or products. But not all spam calls are created equal. 

Let's break it down a little further:


Here’s a scenario that’s all too common: Your cell phone rings, but instead of a human on the other end, you're greeted by a pre-recorded message. That's known as a robocall. They have a variety of uses, from political campaigns to public service announcements, but they're also used for marketing purposes and can be the first part of a scam. And let's be honest…unless it's a call to let us know our favorite band is coming to town, we're not exactly thrilled to receive them.


Most of the time, the type of call with an actual person on the line is telemarketing calls. These people are almost always trying to sell you something you didn't even know you needed (or wanted). Some of these callers represent legitimate businesses, but others are as sketchy as that guy selling “genuine” Rolex watches out of the trunk of his car. 

Scam Calls

Now, the real troublemakers you need to be on the lookout for are scam calls. These callers are like master illusionists, using a variety of tactics to trick you into parting with your money or personal information. They can be pretty convincing, posing as government officials, tech support, or even your bank. It's a jungle out there, and these guys are the predators waiting to pounce.

How Do Spam Callers Get Your Number?

Ever wondered how spam callers seem to magically get hold of your number? It's not quite magic but rather a mix of sneaky tactics and digital trickery. Here's how they do it:

  • Data Breaches: It all starts when a company you've trusted with your personal details gets hacked. In the blink of an eye, your phone number, along with your other information, could be scooped up by spammers. Next thing you know, you’re receiving countless phone calls and text messages all throughout the day. 
  • Random Dialing: Some spammers operate like a broken slot machine, using automatic dialing equipment that spits out numbers in sequence or randomly. It's a numbers game for them — the more spam calls they make, the higher their chances of hitting the jackpot.
  • Public Directories: Remember those old phone books that used to gather dust on your bookshelf? In the digital age, those have been replaced by online directories and sites where you've used your number for registration, authentication, or identification. Spammers can easily pluck your number from these sources, like picking apples from a tree.

How Can You Identify a Spam Call?

Some spam calls can be sneaky, but there are certain red flags that can help you spot them:

  • The "Scam Likely" or "Potential Spam" Warning: Naturally, if your phone's caller ID flashes either of these warnings, then consider it as a neon sign screaming "Beware!" Your phone is trying to tell you that the incoming call might be from a spammer, so it’s best to avoid it.
  • Requests for Personal Information: You’d be stunned if a stranger walked up to you and asked for your bank details, right? Well, the same principle applies to phone calls. Legitimate companies have strict rules against asking for personal info over the phone, so if a caller does that, then it's time to raise your guard.
  • Making Urgent Ultimatums: Scammers are like the worst version of car salespeople. They’ll often try to pressure you into making snap decisions. If a caller is pushing you to act immediately, take a breath, stay calm, and don’t do anything without seriously thinking about the consequences first.
  • You Hear Robotic Voices: If you answer a call and hear a pre-recorded message instead of a live person, it's likely a robocall and quite possibly spam. Unless it's your dentist's automated appointment reminder, hanging up is usually safe.
  • Beware of Area Code Spoofing: If you think you can trust a call just because it has a local area code, think again. Spammers use a trick known as “spoofing” to make it appear as if they're calling from a local number. It's like a wolf in sheep's clothing — it might look familiar, but it's anything but friendly.

How Can You Block Spam Calls?

If you feel like your phone is a magnet for spam calls, then don’t worry — we've all been there before. Thankfully, there are several ways to regain control and block these annoying calls:

1. Use Your Built-In Phone Settings to Block Numbers

Your smartphone is even smarter than you think. Android phones and iPhones have built-in settings that block specific numbers. Here’s how you can do it:

For Android:

  1. Open the Phone app on your device.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon at the top right corner of your screen.
  3. In the dropdown menu, select Settings.
  4. In the settings menu, look for Blocked Numbers and tap on it.
  5. Here, you can manually enter the numbers you want to block.

For iPhones:

  1. Open the Phone app on your device.
  2. Tap Contacts, located at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Scroll to find and select the number you want to block.
  4. Once you've opened the contact, scroll to the bottom and tap Block this Caller.

Of course, you could simply block the number from the call screen whenever a spam call is incoming. Whenever it’s ringing, you’ll see an option to block the specific phone number. Tap it, and you won’t have to worry about being bombarded with spam calls from that number anymore. 

2. Block/Silence Unknown Callers

Whether you’re an Android or iPhone user, you’ll have the option to silence all calls from numbers not in your contacts. Any calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent straight to voicemail, and the only notification that you’ll receive is in your Recents list. It’s a pretty simple process for both: 

For iPhones:

  1. Go to your main Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Phone.
  3. Toggle on the Silence Unknown Callers option in the call silencing and blocked contacts section.

For Android:

  1. Open your Phone app.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon at the top right corner of your screen.
  3. In the dropdown menu, select Settings.
  4. In the settings menu, look for Blocked Numbers.
  5. Toggle on the option that says Block Unknown Callers.

3. Install Third-Party Apps 

Mobile phone apps like Nomorobo, Hiya, and RoboKiller can be your digital knights in shining armor. These spam blockers ride in from the App Store and Google Play Store, ready to identify and block spam texts and calls. Just download, install, and let them keep your line clear. 

4. Enlist Help From Your Carrier Service

Your phone service provider can also lend a hand in this battle against spam. If there is one group that’s sick of spam more than you, it’s your service provider. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all offer services that can alert you of potential spam calls. Verizon has the Verizon Call Filter, AT&T has ActiveArmor, and T-Mobile has Scam Shield.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Future Spam Calls?

Just like a good sunscreen shields you from harmful UV rays, there are ways to protect yourself from future spam calls:

  • Be Selective: Treat your number like a secret recipe — only share it with trusted individuals and reputable companies. If a website or app is asking for your number, ask yourself, "Do I really need to give it?" and “What are the risks if I do?”
  • Read Before You Click: Before handing over your number, take a moment to read the company's privacy policy. Ensure they're not the type to share your info with third parties. It’s always a good idea to read the fine print and make 100% sure what you’re signing up for. 
  • Report, Report, Report: Anytime that you do encounter spam, don’t just ignore it. It’s better if you report spam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The more these institutions know about spam, the better they can be at shutting it down. 
  • Maintain a Current Contact List: Keep your contact list up to date. It's easier to spot unknown numbers when you've got your known numbers neatly organized. Knowing your friends' faces makes the strangers stand out even more. 
  • Join the “Do Not Call List”: Register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry. All that you have to do is go to and register your number. You might not be rid of the ruthless scammers, but it should help to reduce sales calls.
  • Use a Second Number: Having a second number allows you to keep your private number, well, private. You can use the second number for non-essential services and protect it from spam exposure. At Burner, second numbers are our specialty and can help eliminate spam calls. 

Blocking Spam Calls for Good

Spam calls are an annoyance that always seems to pop up at the worst times. In many ways, these spam calls are like playing a game of hide and seek — you might not be able to avoid them entirely, but you can stay several steps ahead with the right strategies. 

The good news is that so many options can help. You can use your phone settings, opt for third-party spam-blocking apps, or have your cell phone carrier help out. Any of these options can be an effective spam filter. 

In the end, it's all about taking back control of your phone and your peace of mind. After all, your phone should be a tool for connection, not a source of frustration. With these tips and tools, you can make that a reality.

And remember, you're not alone in this. We're here to help. Try out Burner for your Apple or Android device and put us to the test. Start your free seven-day trial today and experience the unique joy of being anonymous!


Study Shows Americans Receive an Average of Over 3 Scam Calls a Day | ABC4

What Is a Robocall? | Experian

Phone Scams | FTC Consumer Advice

Here's How Telemarketers Keep Getting Your Number | Reader's Digest

Verizon Call Filter | Verizon

AT&T ActiveArmor - Wireless, Internet, Cybersecurity | AT&T

T-Mobile® Scam Shield App – Block Scam & Unwanted Calls | T-Mobile 

FCC Complaints | Federal Communications Commision (FCC)

National Do Not Call Registry | Federal Trade Commision (FTC)

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