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Security & privacy

How to silence spam calls without downloading any apps

Our smartphones do many fabulous things, from calls (both voice and video) to texting, pictures, game playing and so much more. They nowadays tackle what most of our computers can. 

However, that can come with a drawback: how do you protect yourself from unwanted people connecting with you? You should check your phone daily to ensure that it is always secure and that you are not vulnerable. Tap or click here for five phone security settings that feel like secrets.

So what do you do when you want to stay safe and protect yourself? That is simple. You need to watch everything you download to your phone and who you contact. Keep reading for ways to help stop the spam.

Here’s the backstory

There are apps out there that help you block unwanted calls. But why download an app when you already have helpful tools built into your phone? A little bit of prevention goes a long way when it comes to silencing spam calls.

To get rid of pesky calls from unwanted people, it’s crucial to know safe steps to take. First, who is calling you and where are they calling from? If you do not recognize the number, don’t answer the phone. This is the safest rule to follow because you never know who may be on the other side of that ringer.

You can take more steps whether you are an iPhone or Android user. Here’s what you can do for both:

For iPhones:

Open Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers. Next, slide the toggle next to Silence Unknown Callers to the right to enable it. This means calls from unknown numbers will be silenced, sent to voicemail and displayed on the Recents list.

Incoming calls will continue to ring from people in your contacts, recent outgoing calls and Siri Suggestions.

Just know that silencing unknown callers could silence calls you may want to receive, such as from a doctor’s office, hospital and other important people you may need to hear from that are not in your contacts. But if the call is necessary, the caller will leave a voicemail.

For Android:

Note: Steps to silence unknown callers may differ depending on your Android’s manufacturer and model.

First, tap the Phone icon, generally found near the bottom of the screen. Next, select the three-dot menu in the top right corner > Settings > Blocked Numbers. Finally, slide the toggle next to Block Calls From Unidentified Callers to the right to enable the feature.

In addition to using these settings, you can also register your mobile phone with the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) Do Not Call Registry. Scammers don’t follow the rules or care about this list. That said, it’s still wise to register your number as an added layer of protection against unwanted calls from within the U.S.

Beyond blocking numbers, iPhone users also have the Do Not Disturb option, which doesn’t allow your phone to ring or notify you of calls. But it does let certain people call when in this mode. 

Here’s how to enable it: Open Settings > Do Not Disturb and slide the toggle to the right. Then, tap Allow Calls From and choose All Contacts to ensure no unknown numbers get through.

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