Daily phone spam from a rejected number
July 30, 2018 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Every weekday for the past few weeks I get one or two calls from a number that I have already added to the auto reject list in my Android phone. Each time, my phone rings, I look, and it's that number again. Arrgh! I open the menu to review my options, and "remove from auto reject list" is present, so... What can I do about this?

I called T-Mobile. They told me about a perma-block option that would cost me five bucks a month to block just that number. Ba ha ha! Uh, no. Beyond that, I can change my number. To be fair, the rep understood that they're lousy options and was supportive in spirit.

The number echos my area code and exchange; the last four numbers are different from my number. I doubt the number my phone sees is the number that's calling. Several months ago I had a different scammer calling me from a number I'd recently dialed: a legitimate company I've done business with... whatever was calling me was able to spoof the number to reflect the last number I'd dialed, I think. Nothing's shocking.

I have always diligently blocked spam numbers as they come in, and this is the only one that persists. The message, if it matters, is some credit card bullshit. Press 3 if you're not interested, press 7 to talk to someone... blah blah blah. I always just reject the call manually since my phone can't seem to catch it, or it goes to voicemail.

Galaxy 5S (not one of the shiny new ones that blocks robocalls)
Android 6.0.1
Device is up to date.
Anything I can do here? I don't want to spend money to get someone to stop calling me; that's fucking ridiculous. I've looked around, and I'm not finding an answer to this problem.

posted by heyho to Technology (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are apps (I use Robokiller on iOS) you can use in addition to the native functionality. Would that work better?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:40 PM on July 30, 2018

Best answer: Should I Answer is a decent Android option.
posted by irisclara at 2:46 PM on July 30, 2018 [3 favorites]

I set up my options under Do Not Disturb to Priority only and only allow calls from numbers in your contacts + set the rule to run 24/7, which was my solution. Spammers (and legit callers not in my contacts) can still leave a voicemail, which I will notice at my leisure - it's obvious from the message transcript if it's spam.
posted by momus_window at 3:00 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I downloaded a silent ringtone and set it as my default. Everyone in my contacts gets another ringtone assigned to them, and I never hear the spam numbers. If it's someone I know, or a legitimate business trying to contact me, they can leave a message after which I add them to my contacts and assign them a ringtone. I also use Nomorobo, which still can't keep up with the spammers, but the silent ringtone helps my sanity.

Before I took the nuclear option, I just maintained a special contact that I assigned all spam numbers to called "Do not answer", which had the silent ringtone assigned to it. If I were dependent on receiving calls from unknown numbers for business or something, I'd do that instead.
posted by telophase at 3:26 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

The number echos my area code and exchange; the last four numbers are different from my number.

This is called neighbor spoofing.

NoPhoneSpam works for some people. If your area code was 123 and the prefix of your number was 456, you'd do something like: "+1123456*". That's the app I recommend first, as it does what it says on the can and that's it. However, it's not working for everyone and if it doesn't work for you, there's zero support.

Hiya supposedly blocks them (specific support article), as supposedly does Truecaller. I'd recommend against the latter -- purely in my opinion, it ironically seemed to be a very spammy app, in that it seemed to pop up an upselling notification way too often.
posted by WCityMike at 3:28 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hiya stopped working for me, so I switched to Should I Answer. I set the settings to Only Answer My Contacts, and I also blocked explicitly all calls from my own area code & exchange.

Now when I get an unknown caller, I get about half a ring before it cuts off. The caller can leave a voicemail if they want.

Works well enough.
posted by suelac at 4:01 PM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Add to your contacts; set its ringtone to silence. (I have a contact called "Press One Spammer"--because it keeps saying "press one; press one now"--that's currently up to about 15 different spoofed numbers.)

I recently got barraged with job recruiters (I'm a solid match for a recent opening that doesn't pay anywhere near what I'd consider), so I finally went to the effort of setting all my contacts to one kind of ringtone, and then setting my "default" ringtone to a single chime that I may not hear and I won't find annoying.

If the call coming in sounds like a normal ringtone, it's from someone I know. If it's just a single chime, it's a stranger; I don't need to drop what I'm doing to answer it. If it's important, they'll leave a message.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:36 PM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Answer the phone. Explain that you want their number removed from their list, that you get daily calls, and have been told that once you ask for your number to be removed if they call you again it is considered harassment. This is true for my state. In any case, it's worth a try.
posted by xammerboy at 6:29 PM on July 30, 2018

Explain that you want their number removed from their list, that you get daily calls,

This doesn't work if they're robo-calls. Which are illegal, but the FCC doesn't seem to be doing anything about them. I used to report them; I gave up and just set them to silent ringtones when I can catch them.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:42 PM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

I use Blacklist Plus, which seems to work well. I no longer get the calls that wouldn't stop before. The app is on the Google Play Store.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:48 AM on July 31, 2018

Response by poster: Downloaded Should I Answer, and it's been catching the two calls a day I'm getting, and I don't even know about it unless I look. It's a small thing, but it keeps me happier, so I'm grateful for the tip. Thanks.
posted by heyho at 9:00 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

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