Current views on Spam Call Apps — April 2021 (Nomorobo, for example)

In the latest feedback episode on Mac Power Users, subscriptions were reviewed. Stephen subscribes to Nomorobo and was curious as to how effective it is and if there was something better on the market since since his subscription was about to come due.

My subscription is coming due as well and I’d like to hear some feedback on what you are using.

I am using both Hiya and Nomorobo. Lately, (and it comes in spurts), I’ve been getting as many as 3-4 spam calls a day. My rule is, if I don’t recognize the contact, I don’t answer and the person needs to leave a voice mail message before I call back. And for the longest time, I received spam calls in Chinese; and I have no clue how spammers could have picked me for that.

So, net, effectiveness is counter-factual - you don’t necessarily know which calls were blocked, just the ones getting through. I get far fewer spam calls than my wife, who does not use a spam blocker app, so I know these work for the most part.

Any comments? Other suggestions?


I subscribe to Nomorobo, and I still get a number of spam calls every day. :man_shrugging:t2: I don’t know if that’s because the service is ineffective, or if the overall volume of spam calls has increased and I would be worse off without it.

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I have had great success with the onboard settings ‘Silence Junk Callers’ and ‘Silence Unknown Callers’

Free - no download or subscription required.

I have the silence junk callers enabled. I don’t want to Silence Unknown Callers because I have too many “vendor” type calls - doctor’s office, vendors on house projects, type of calls — where I don’t know the numbers to put in to Contacts. (I’ve also tried limiting to who is in my Contacts, but same problem).

On the other hand, silencing unknown callers would allow me to just have it go to voice mail and then return the call. I’ve missed important, real time calls in the past because I forget to turn it off when I know I need to answer calls. Certainly worth thinking about, though.

Thanks for the response, Don.

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I stopped paying for Nomorobo years ago. The performance just dropped off — far too many spam calls were getting through.

A few years ago I turned on AT&T’s free service (Call Protect) that flags and blocks calls. Seems to work about the same; some calls get through, judging by the weird voicemail messages I receive. I love the fact that my phone doesn’t even ring for those bogus calls. I never answer the phone unless I recognize the caller.

Unfortunately, this has a severe downside during the pandemic if you’re a pet owner. All the different vets I’ve dealt with will call you to discuss your pet’s exam while you’re waiting in your car. Those calls are often blocked for me (no ring) because the vet techs are calling from a different number. There are, of course, easy ways around this. Primarily, the vet office should tell you all the possible numbers that will call you. And if you’re at an emergency vet, they should tell you this during intake.

I had to temporarily turn off Call Protect when I was dealing with a very sick pet — it was adding to the stress.

I’ve also had problems with home repair people’s calls getting blocked. I’m trying to remember to ask providers to give me ALL of the possible phone numbers that might call me when they’re about to show up at my house.

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Also, does anyone know how Apple determines a “junk call” and therefore silences it?

We have Nomorobo on our landline phone (it’s free for that). I’ve occasionally disabled it because it wasn’t letting real calls through but a week ago we were getting a barrage of robo-calls, some as early as 6AM. So I turned it on again. Very effective. Almost every one is now gone.

On our iPhones we only answer recognized numbers. Everything else goes to voicemail.

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From Apple support:

“With iOS 13 and later, you can turn on Silence Unknown Callers to avoid getting calls from people you don’t know. This blocks phone numbers that you’ve never been in contact with and don’t have saved in your contacts list. If you’ve previously texted with someone using their phone number or if a person has shared their phone number with you in an email, a phone call from that number will go through.”

The flagging of telemarketer, etc, seems to be done with the phone company. At least, with AT&T’s Call Protect app, I see 2 messages about blocked telemarked calls, for example — one from Apple and one from the Call Protect app.

Why is spam/junk/cold calling not just forbidden?

Ditto. I also have a Verizon add-on (can’t remember its name), and very rarely does a junk caller get through. I don’t care to receive any phone calls from someone not on my contact list.

What bugs me is the junk text messaging.

$lobbyists and $political “contributions”.

Sucks. An unknown problem in my country, since forbidden by law and fined.

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Already illegal. It’s not easily stopped, though, for a few reasons. One is that phone networks don’t have the right to refuse routing calls from other networks. The FCC is currently asking companies whose infrastructure is used for junk robocalls to fix it. The next step is for the FCC to give other telecoms permission to refuse connections from problematic infrastructure.

All robocalling can’t be forbidden because it has legitimate uses by pharmacies, libraries, city governments, and so on.

Essentially our law(s) say(s):

  • no calling without consent (if pharmacy has consent, no problem)
  • only for defined purposes (if pharmacy has consent for reminding me to get whatever medication, they can’t market me the new cough sirup)
  • selling/exchange/spread of data is forbidden (if pharmacy has my number, can’t give it to library)
  • consent can always be revoked

As for networks: the pharmacy gets the fine, not the network

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