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According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. consumers received approximately 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016. It feels like I receive a large number of those calls. It has gotten so bad that I don’t answer my phone (cell or office) anymore from a number I don’t recognize.
The FCC is taking steps to try to stem the tide of robocalls and texts. They do provide some helpful information on how to stop unwanted robocalls and texts. An article on the FCC website – Beating Back Unwanted Robocalls – goes into more depth on the problem.
Even with strong enforcement action, it is unlikely these annoying calls will stop.
For several years I have used an app on my phone that helps me identify potential scams, spam, and telemarketing calls. The app is called Hiya. It is available for both Android and iOS smartphones.
I first heard about the Hiya app when they did a presentation at the semifinal round of the ACORD Innovation Challenge a few years ago.
The app allows you to know who’s calling. You can avoid unwanted calls with real-time phone number detection, fast reverse phone lookup, and a spam checker dialer that warns you if you’re calling a number that’s associated with spammer fraud.
The Hiya app identifies robocall numbers by monitoring billions of calls and texts every month. It combines this information with user reports of suspicious calls and texts to create a database of phone numbers associated with scams and spam.
Real-time spam detection: Hiya alerts you in real time when the scammer or spammer is calling so you know not to pick up. Spammers regularly change their numbers to avoid detection, but Hiya updates their spam list multiple times a day to give you the most current information.
Fast reverse phone lookup: You can use the app to look up any received phone number that’s not already contained in the database to see who’s calling. If you’re using iOS 8, you can look up numbers even faster with the widget.
Spam checker dialer: Use the spam checker dialer to dial unknown numbers and be confident you’re not calling a spammer or scammer. If there’s no spam detected, the call goes through automatically. However, if it’s a known spam number, Hiya will ask if you want to continue the call.
Blacklist individual numbers: Create a personal blacklist of phone numbers you don’t want to pick up. It’s an easy way to avoid ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, or anyone else you don’t want to talk to.
Report spam: Help other users in the community by reporting spam. Hiya detects spam with the help of millions of users who report unwanted calls as they receive them.
I have been using the iOS version of the app for several years and am impressed with the information made available through this app. On numerous occasions, when a phone call was coming in, the app flagged it as spam, and I could ignore the call and add it to my blacklist.
A premium version is available as an in-app purchase for $15 per year. The premium version allows up to 200 phone number lookups per month.
If you want to have better control over the calls coming into your cell phone I recommend you install this app or another that provides a similar service.
What other apps have you found to be effective in managing scam, spam, and telemarketing calls on your cell phone?