Here’s how to block robocalls on iPhone and Android

Unwanted calls are often harmless but some are after your credit card information, IDs or passwords. All are a distraction and a waste of your time. Robocallers have gotten more devious by masking their calls with phone numbers that use the first three or first six digits of your phone number. But the scams are … Continue reading “Here’s how to block robocalls on iPhone and Android”

Unwanted calls are often harmless but some are after your credit card information, IDs or passwords. All are a distraction and a waste of your time.

Robocallers have gotten more devious by masking their calls with phone numbers that use the first three or first six digits of your phone number.

But the scams are old. They pretend to be major banks, big tech companies, or government organizations like the IRS.

NEARLY HALF OF ALL CELL PHONE CALLS WILL BE SCAMS BY 2019, REPORT SAYS

Whatever the scam, here are several ways to stop unwanted calls on your smartphone – and one way to stop them cold.

Manually: if you don’t get a lot of unwanted calls, you can block calls one at a time. On the iPhone you do this by selecting “Phone” then tapping the information icon (the encircled lowercase “i”), and selecting “Block this Caller.” On Android, it’s similar, you tap on the caller’s name, then long-press the number and tap “Block/report spam” (note that this procedure can vary slightly from device to device on Android).

Blocking calls manually, however, is usually futile because scammers and spammers are constantly changing their numbers, usually on a daily basis.

Use an app: there are lots of apps that take on telemarketers and suspicious calls, some are better at blocking calls before they get through than others. AT&T and Verizon, as with other carriers, offer apps that let you block calls by identifying likely fraudsters. To identify a suspicious call, numbers are run against a massive list of robocallers that is updated daily.

For instance, the basic setup of the Verizon Caller Name ID app ($2.99 per month per line) is like any call blocker app on the iPhone. After installing the app, under the iPhone’s Settings you tap on “Phone,” then “Call Blocking & Identification,” then toggle on the Verizon “Caller Name ID” app.

If you want to take this a step further, the Verizon app will also try to block suspicious calls and send them to voicemail. This requires going into the Verizon app and tapping “Block” then “Spam filter on” then setting a risk level.

For Android devices, you open the Verizon Caller Name ID app, tap “Block management,” tap “Spam filter”, then toggle the feature on and select the risk level.

HOW TO STOP APPLE AND GOOGLE FROM TRACKING YOU

AT&T has its Mobile Security & Call Protect Plus ($3.99 per month) service that has Automatic Fraud Blocking, which can detect and allow you to block incoming suspicious calls.

Samsung offers a “Smart Call” feature on its phones that can tell you if the call is suspicious and allows you to block the call. Go to “Caller ID and spam protection” in Call Settings, then turn on “Caller ID and spam protection.” Note that is not made available by all carriers.

And Google offers caller ID & spam protection for Android. With this, you can stop spam calls from ringing on your phone. "You won't get missed call or voicemail notifications, but you'll still see filtered calls in your call history and be able to check any voicemail you receive," according to Google.

There are third-party apps that you can try for free such as Nomorobo and RoboKiller. After the trial period, both ask for a small monthly fee, which typically starts at $0.99 or $1.99 per month. There’s also an app called Hiya that is free.

The best advice is to try these services and see which one works for you.

Kill all suspicious calls: the most effective method is to limit calls to your contact list. On the iPhone, this will stop all unwanted calls from ringing on your phone. The only calls that get through are people on your contact list. Other legitimate calls typically go to voicemail.

On the iPhone, you go to Settings, then tap on “Do Not Disturb” then select “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.” This is deadly effective and may be a good option for people hounded by spam calls. For Android, you can do this with apps such as Calls Blacklist.

5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

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5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

More from Minitime

5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

More from Minitime

5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited