Why Am I Getting So Many Spam Calls? 8 Solutions

Why Am I Getting So Many Spam Calls? 8 Solutions
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Our phones are essential to our daily lives, keeping us connected with family, friends, and work. However, with this convenience comes an annoying and potentially dangerous nuisance: spam calls. 

These unwanted calls have become a common problem for Americans, interrupting our routines, attempting to defraud us, or simply causing annoyance. Here’s what to know about why they happen, how spammers find your number, and what to do to prevent them.

What Are Spam Calls?

We probably all know what spam calls are. You know, those unsolicited calls that you hit “Decline” on before thinking twice. Yeah, those.

They’re typically from businesses or organizations attempting to sell you something or get you to sign up for a service. They are essentially the telephone equivalent of junk mail. 

While some are from legitimate businesses, others can be scammers attempting to defraud you, making them a potential risk.


A subset of spam calls, robocalls are automated phone calls that deliver a pre-recorded message. They are usually programmed to dial millions of numbers daily, making them a significant source of spam calls. 

Robocalls can be legal or illegal, depending on their purpose and whether they have obtained the necessary permissions. For instance, political campaigns, charity organizations, and informational messages (like school closures) are typically legal. However, robocalls intended to sell something are often illegal unless the company has your permission to call you.

Scam Calls 

These are malicious calls where the caller pretends to be from a reputable organization or government entity to deceive you into giving them sensitive information or money. 

Scam calls can be incredibly deceptive, with scammers using sophisticated tactics to earn your trust. They might pretend to be from tech support, the IRS, or your bank, and they can even spoof their caller ID to make it appear as though they're calling from a legitimate number.


Caller ID spoofing is a technique used by spammers and scammers to trick you into thinking a call is coming from a different number. This can involve making it appear that the call is coming from a local number, a trusted business, or a government agency. Spoofing makes it more difficult for individuals and law enforcement to trace the call back to the scammer.

Telemarketing Calls

These are calls from businesses attempting to sell you products or services. While telemarketing calls can be annoying, they are not always illegal or fraudulent. 

If a company has your permission to call, or if you have done business with them in the past, they may legally be able to call you. However, most telemarketing calls become illegal if you've registered with the National Do Not Call Registry.

Knowing these different types of spam calls is the first step in protecting yourself. Remember that while some spam calls are simply annoying, others can pose serious threats. Always exercise caution when answering calls from unknown numbers, and never give out personal information unless you know the caller's identity.

Why Are You Receiving Spam Calls?

Here are some primary ways through which your phone number might fall into the hands of scammers and telemarketers:

  1. Data Breaches: Companies hold vast amounts of data about their customers, and unfortunately, data breaches have become commonplace. When a company suffers a data breach, sensitive information, including your name, address, and phone number, can be exposed. This information can then be sold on the dark web, where scammers can easily purchase it.
  2. Online Sharing: Every time you sign up for a service, make an online purchase, or fill out a form on a website or social media, you often provide your phone number. While many businesses take steps to protect your information, some might sell or share your details with third-party companies, leading to a flurry of unwanted calls.
  3. Public Directories and Databases: Many people don't realize that their phone numbers might be listed in public directories or databases, making it easy for spammers to find. This includes phone books, professional directories, and even some social media platforms.
  4. Spoofing and Area Code Targeting: Spammers have become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics. They can use "spoofing" to make it appear that they are calling from a local or familiar number, making you more likely to answer the call. This can include mimicking the area code and even the first few digits of your own number, a tactic known as "neighbor spoofing."
  5. Auto-Dialers: Many robocalls come from auto-dialers, which are computer programs that can dial hundreds of phone numbers every minute. These systems randomly generate and dial numbers, meaning you can receive these calls even if your number hasn't been shared or leaked.
  6. Lead Lists: Some businesses collect and sell "lead lists," collections of potential customers' contact information. If your information ends up on one of these lists, it can be sold to various businesses, increasing the number of marketing calls you receive.

What Are the Dangers of Spam Calls?

While spam calls can be annoying, they can also pose significant risks, particularly if they’re scam calls. 

Here are some common scams to be aware of:

  • IRS Scams: Scammers may pretend to be IRS agents, claiming you owe taxes and threatening legal action if you don't pay immediately. Remember, the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment or threaten to bring in law enforcement.
  • Credit Card Scams: Scammers might pose as your credit card company, stating there's been suspicious activity on your account. They'll ask for your card details to "verify your identity," but they're trying to steal your information.
  • "Yes" Scams: In these scams, the caller will try to get you to say "yes" to record your voice consent, which they may later use to authorize fraudulent charges.
  • Spam Texts: Similar to spam calls, spam texts might promise free gifts or warn you of account problems, encouraging you to click on a link. These links can lead to fraudulent websites aiming to steal your personal information.

What Are the Legal Measures Against Spam Calls?

In response to the growing problem of spam calls, various legal measures have been implemented to help curb this issue and penalize those responsible.

FTC and FCC Regulations 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) both regulate spam calls. The FTC enforces the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which prohibits certain deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts and practices. 

The FCC, on the other hand, oversees the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts telemarketing calls and the use of automated telephone equipment.

National Do Not Call Registry 

Managed by the FTC, the National Do Not Call Registry allows you to limit the telemarketing calls you receive. Once you register your phone number, most telemarketers are required to stop calling you. However, some exceptions exist, such as calls from charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys.

STIR/SHAKEN Standards 

In an effort to combat caller ID spoofing, the FCC has mandated the adoption of STIR/SHAKEN standards by phone companies. These standards aim to verify that the number showing up on your caller ID is indeed the number from which the call originated.

Penalties for Illegal Robocalls

Both the FTC and FCC can impose hefty fines on entities making illegal robocalls or using spoofed caller IDs. These penalties serve as a deterrent and a tool to hold violators accountable.

While these measures can help, it's worth noting that they aren't foolproof. Scammers and unscrupulous telemarketers often find ways to circumvent the rules and continue their operations. Therefore, in addition to relying on these protections, it's important to take proactive steps to safeguard yourself from spam calls.

8 Solutions to Block Spam Calls

While it can seem like an uphill battle, there are several effective strategies that you can use to block unwanted spam calls:

Register on the National Do Not Call Registry 

This is one of the first steps you should take to limit telemarketing calls. You can register your number at donotcall.gov. It's a free service, and most legitimate companies respect the Registry and refrain from calling numbers listed on it.

Use Built-In Features on Your Phone

Both Apple and Android have built-in features to help you manage unwanted calls: Apple: iOS 13 and later versions have a feature called "Silence Unknown Callers," which sends calls from numbers not in your contacts list straight to voicemail. On Android phones, you can use the "Caller ID & spam" option to warn you about potential spam calls or block them.

Utilize Your Service Provider's Tools 

Many service providers offer free or low-cost tools to help customers block unwanted calls. For instance, Verizon has the "Call Filter" app, T-Mobile offers "Scam Shield," and AT&T provides "AT&T Call Protect."

Use Third-Party Apps 

Apps like Nomorobo, RoboKiller, and Hiya can identify and block spam calls in real-time. These apps maintain extensive databases of known spam numbers and use algorithms to detect and block unwanted calls. However, be sure to read their privacy policies, as some may collect your data.

Be Careful with Your Phone Number 

Try to limit who you give your phone number to. Avoid sharing it on social media or online forms whenever possible. If a website or service asks for your number, check their privacy policy to see how they protect your data.

Screen Your Calls 

If a call comes in from a number you don't recognize, let it go to voicemail. Scammers rarely leave messages, and legitimate callers will usually leave a message explaining why they've called.

Report Unwanted Calls to the Authorities 

If you continue to receive unwanted calls after trying these steps, report the calls to the FTC and your service provider. You can file a complaint at ftc.gov or with the FCC at fcc.gov. Be sure to provide as much information as possible. Your reports can help these agencies track down and penalize violators.

Use Burner to Protect Your Privacy

Another way to protect your primary phone number from spam is to use a secondary number. Burner offers this solution by providing temporary phone numbers that you can use for online forms, businesses, and acquaintances. 

By doing this, you can keep your real number private and limit its exposure to potential spammers. If a Burner number starts receiving too many spam calls, you can easily “burn it” and get a new one. Also, Burner doesn't directly expose your real number to callers, which adds an extra layer of privacy and protection.

Get Rid of Spam Once and for All

It goes without saying that no one likes spam calls. They’re annoying, waste our time, and sometimes make us want to throw our phones out the window. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions, with Burner being one of the top options.

Yes, Burner helps you rid your primary number of unwanted phone calls, but it also allows you to get rid of your new secondary number any time it gets clogged with spam. This means you can start fresh any time you want, with no annoying calls in sight. 

Try Burner today to get your hands on a second phone number. Keep your information organized and secure.


What Is Spoofing? How Scam Works and How To Protect Yourself | Investopedia

National Do Not Call Registry | donotcall.gov

Cold Calling – Know Your Rights | U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Tax scams/Consumer alerts | Internal Revenue Service

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