Does it do any good to "block" spam calls?

I get 3 or 4 calls on my cell phone from out of state callers. Most of the time I just “hang up” when I see that the call is from out of state, but sometimes I answer only to find that someone is trying to give me a trip to Las Vegas or give me a good price on Viagra.

I go to the trouble of blocking the number they called me from, but it doesn’t seem to cut down on the number of calls I get.

Am I wasting my time blocking these numbers? Do they just keep changing the numbers they call from because “yesterday’s” number has been probably blocked by the people they are trying to reach?

I get text messages from a bank. It writes, “Avoid fees, make payment this Sunday”.

I have never dealt with this bank.

I block the sender and get the same message next week. From a different number. This has been going on for a year. I don’t think they are ever going to run out of numbers.

What I do is enter the #'s in my phone’s phonebook so I know not to answer if they call back. I label them BS001, BS002, etc., with each name holding only five numbers before I have to start a new name. After doing this for about two years, I’m now up to BS122 – over 600 different phone numbers in that time.

Some of the more recent ones repeat for a few days or weeks, and occasionally they repeat after months. So ignoring (or in your case, blocking) the calls helps to a small degree, but the great majority are from new (to me) numbers.

It is so easy to spoof phone numbers now that these operations are probably spoofing a new phone number with each call. Or they really do register a ton of phone numbers, not sure which.

Blocking used to help. Not anymore.

Blocking is useless. They’re simply generating random numbers within valid area codes. And separate ones for each call or short group of calls.

Most of the ones I get are from the same area code and first 3 as my phone is. e.g. If my phone is 345-678-9012 the robocalls will all be “from” 345-678-####.

Their hope is that I’ll assume it must be a neighbor or somebody else with a legit need to call. Maybe it’s the dry cleaners or the place my wife took the car to or … Nope; it’s just scammers making up numbers.

It gets worse because every one of those numbers you block really belongs to somebody. And if it does happen to be the dry cleaners or where your wife will someday take the car, well you just screwed yourself.

There’s only 10,000 numbers in a single 345-678-#### block. At 3 per day after a year you’ve got 10% of your local town or suburb blocked. About then you’ll start losing real calls.

Safer for sure to block numbers from area codes where you don’t live and don’t know anyone. But equally pointless.

I’ve gone to simply not answering any call that doesn’t match to a known contact. I just push [Ignore]. If they leave a VM I’ll bother to listen to it within a few minutes just in case it is somebody I don’t know but need to. About 90% don’t leave VMs. Pushing [Ignore] is a heck of a lot easier than going through the steps to create a blocking entry. And is equally effective at dealing with the next call from that number which will never come.

I don’t think blocking helps much. Joining a Do Not Call list does not. Asking them politely not to call again occasionally helps. I don’t know why phone companies can’t crack down on this.

Depends on what you mean by “spam”. My alma mater will just not quit calling to ask if I will donate to them. Blocking that number was pretty effective. Same with Charter. I use them for internet only, I’ve made it very clear I don’t want a cable subscription, but that doesn’t stop them from calling weekly and offering me a Roku + Sling TV subscription instead. Blocking that number stopped the calls. I had a bill collector hounding me once for a bill I did not owe. Blocked that number and it stopped the calls.

But for your average “free trip” or random viagra calls, I doubt blocking will help much. Sometimes I wish I could use wild cards to block whole lists of numbers. Like somebody kept calling me once with numbers of the form (555) 555- 35XX. I finally blocked ten or twelve of them and they stopped, but it would have been a lot easier if I could have blocked that entire 100-number chunk at once.

I am in Canada, but I assume there is not much difference on either side of the border. I find that blocking numbers has some effect; my phone shows the attempts from blocked callers (it just won’t ring if it is a blocked number) and I can sometimes see multiple attempts from the same number. I used to use the phone company’s call blocking service, but I dropped that and got a phone that does the blocking itself - I now can block 60 numbers rather than 12, and I can block any number including ones that the phone company in its infinite wisdom thinks I shouldn’t be able to block.

Another useful thing you can do is to google the phone number that is being displayed. It will often point you to a web page describing what others have found out about that number.

Only thing you can really do is get a whitelist app, there’s dozens of them for both iOS and Android, and only allow calls from people in your contacts list. Of course the problem with this is you’ll only get calls from people already in your contacts list. You can shut it off if you’re expecting a call from someone whose number you don’t have, like the cable guy or the plumber or whoever.

On iOS you can also use the “Do Not Disturb” feature, which can do the same thing if you set it up to put through calls from your contacts.

My situation is the same as LSLGuy except that while they are now using the same area code as mine to convince me I should answer it, these numbers are unused or disconnected #'s as I found out after calling back a few of them. Just today I called the phone co (ATT) and talked to a supervisor who told me they were aware of what’s going on and they are working on a software fix. Hope she knew what she was talking about!

They may actually be emails. Every phone has an email address & emails show up like texts; generically it’s <phone #> @ <provider>. Ignoring number portability for a minute, if I know that area code 123 & exchange 555 was originally issued to AT&T, I can send 10,000 emails to,, etc.
If spammer changes the service provider piece to one of the handful of other major providers, a spammer can hit pretty much every phone out there quite easily.

You’re forgetting the fact that some of those may not be out of state at all. Now that people can move across the country without changing their phone number, area codes just don’t mean what they used to.

They could.
But they don’t, because they’re in the business of selling phone calls, and they make money from each one of these ‘spam’ calls. They wouldn’t make any money from blocking them.

We signed up for Nomorobo a while back. Worked great until this fall.

With Nomorobo, the phone would ring once (twice at most) for a number on their list and then cut it off. So that happened every few days and very few spam calls came thru (mostly from local !&*^$# businesses).

Now that never happens anymore. They just spoof a number, usually local, often same exchange #, and it comes thru.

The fact that all the “Donna from card member services”, etc. folk started to do this at the same time suggests that there is basically one organization behind most of these calls.

Yeah, I want to do business that ignores do not call lists, Nomorobo’s list, uses a fake number, etc. Gotta be trustworthy.

Or that a really sweet new robodialer + spoofer app became available for sale via the darker corners of the web.

Often on my land line, I keep them on the phone as long as possible, and press a number to get an agent, just to waste their time. The other day, I asked the rep if he would be interested in the $10,000 whistle-blower reward, by identifying his employer and helping to track him down. He said No. I’m like Really? He said they pay him plenty to do this job. He sounded American, I didn’t ask whee he was located.

What I want to knows is how I can get a piece of this action. Are any of these robocallers listed on the stock exchange?

I use the Call Control app on my Android phone. It automatically blocks calls that other users have reported as spam, scams, and even political calls. I estimate that it blocks about 50% of the spam calls to my phone. The other 50%, I report so other Call Control app users don’t get bothered.

For my home land line, I use a Call Blocker device to block calls. If we don’t recognize the incoming number from the phones caller ID, we leave it go to voice mail. If they leave a message, we quickly know if it’s spam and block that number. If they don’t leave a message, I check the number using the web site to see if it’s been reported as spam. If so, I block that number. During this past political season, the Call Blocker device blocked 34 calls in the previous 2 months. Not bad at all.

I just signed up for nomorobo on my landline a couple of months ago, and I’m finding that it works about half the time. We get quite a few single rings where nomorobo has cut off the call, but we also get about as many spam calls that make it through. I was expecting better, based on the testimony of friends who have used the service.

I get about 3 “one-ring” calls a day, blocked by nomorobo.
The remaining calls are rare enough that it doesn’t bother me to hang up on them and manually block them with my call blocker.

But seriously, it’s 2016 and nobody can do jack about these calls?

I understand the phone companies profit from spam calls or calls “on behalf of” X. Canada is a country of cozy duopolies in many industries. The old SNL skit “We don’t have to, we’re the phone company” echoes the experiences of many. But in 2016, how much benefit would a new company attract just by offering some customer service and by saying “with Paprikatel, these nuisances are a thing of the past. You won’t get garbage calls that waste your time. You won’t get constant phone calls giving you a slightly better deal if you complain a lot. We value your time and offer clear billing and personal prompt and polite service. You have our word on that.” Surely there is a market for that.