Anyone with a phone knows that robocalls have become an epidemic. Around 3.4 billion of these unwanted (and occasionally fraudulent) phone calls are placed every month in the United States, leaving consumers across the country feeling harassed and fed up. Putting your number on the National Do Not Call Registry is a good idea, but it’s not enough to stop callers who don’t care about the law. When you have an industrial-strength problem, you need an industrial-strength solution.
Top 3 Apps To Block Robocalls
That’s where the apps in our list come in. The last few years have spurred a gold rush, as app developers from around the world cook up new ways to filter out spam calls and block them. Below, you’ll find 3 of the top robocall-blocking apps in existence, including options for both mobile and landline users.
Hiya is a free option that works on both Mac and Android devices. It’s kind of hard to figure out how Hiya works; the developer’s are pretty tight-lipped about their proprietary software. It works by analyzing incoming phone calls (around 5.3 billion a month), then using an algorithm that identifies the spam calls. There’s definitely some crowd-sourcing going on here, since Hiya has a reporting feature that allows you to submit complaints to the company about spam calls.
Control is the essence of Hiya. Unlike the other apps on our list, Hiya doesn’t automatically block spam calls so you never see them. You can tell it to block spammers if that’s what you want (those calls will still go to voicemail, however), but you can also ask to be notified of every call, then make your own choices about when to pick up.
How Hiya Works
Using proprietary software, Hiya somehow analyses incoming calls and develops its own suspicions. So if you get a robocall, Hiya might pop up a message that says “suspected spam,” giving you the option of declining the call. If you actually recognize the number (and Hiya got it wrong), you can pick up as normal.
Hiya also happens to be the top-rated call blocking app on the web. With nearly 100,000 ratings on the App Store, Hiya’s current rating (4.7 out of 5 stars) is impressive.
For $2.99 a month, RoboKiller will intercept unwanted telemarketing calls for you. It works for spoofed phone numbers, too, and gets stronger the more you use it. The app’s developers, Teltech.co (who, interestingly, also make a caller ID spoofing app), say RoboKiller can block around 90% of unwanted calls. Users generally agree. With nearly 50,000 reviews on the App Store, RoboKiller is pushing a 5-star rating.
Nomorobo and Hiya do pretty much the same thing, but RoboKiller goes a step further, with decidedly more active tactics. Telemarketers and other unwanted callers are transferred from your phone to a legion of “answer bots,” little pre-recorded characters that waste the telemarketer’s time.
How RoboKiller Works
RoboKiller turns the tables on telemarketers in more ways than one. It’s not an advanced AI under the app’s hood, but an ever-expanding list of spammers. RoboKiller instantly checks every number that calls you against their list, then blocks the known harassers. It’s the opposite of an autodialing system, the technology telemarketers use to rifle through a predetermined list of phone numbers to make their spam calls.
That tech sounds kind of old-school until you learn how RoboKiller identifies spammers in the first place (this is where the AI comes in). The app records every spam call and analyzes the caller’s voice to identify their vocal “fingerprint.” Since voices are unique, the app’s technology can take that vocal fingerprint and compare it to a vast database of other fingerprints, ultimately identifying telemarketers who have switched phone numbers and blocking all of their calls, no matter what number they’re using. At the time of this writing, RoboKiller’s team had gathered a list of 107,721 spammers to block.
A slightly-creepier feature (shared by Hiya) has been dubbed Super Caller ID. Let’s say you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, but RoboKiller determines that it’s not spam. The app will scour social media to determine the caller’s name and address to display as caller ID information.
Download RoboKiller today and try it out for yourself. Teltech.co gives you a 1-week trial period to test out the service.
Winner of the FTC’s Robocall Challenge, Nomorobo is unique in offering call blocking protection for both landline and mobile phone numbers. To sign up for the landline service, all you need to do is select your phone service provider and submit some information on NomoRobo’s site. But watch out – some major players in the landline market, including Verizon, aren’t supported yet. The coverage is much better for voice over internet protocol, or VOIP, users.
On the mobile side, Nomorobo is an app offered for Apple and Android devices. The service costs $1.99 per month (or $19.99 per year) after a free 2-week trial period. Using Nomorobo is a little disconcerting at first but it definitely works.
How Nomorobo Works
When you get a call, it’ll “ring” twice – once on your phone and, at the same time, in Nomorobo. Nomorobo screens the call, matching the spammer’s number to the company’s internal database of telemarketers, then hangs up if it’s an unwanted sales call (or fraud). Real calls (the ones you want) are allowed through the filter seamlessly, ringing as normal until you pick up. Spam calls are intercepted and disconnected; your phone will ring once, then stop.
The inconvenience here is that you have to wait for the second ring to know if it’s a legit call or something suspicious, since Nomorobo needs the first ring to screen the call.
Who Will Win The Call-Blocking Race?
In the coming years, Nomorobo will probably turn out to be the loser in the race for mobile customers. As a free service, Hiya’s outstanding reviews are likely to carry it to the top of the call-blocking heap. And RoboKiller, while comparatively-expensive, tries to distinguish itself by exacting revenge on telemarketers.
Nomorobo’s reviews, on the other hand, are mixed. A few users over at Trustpilot even say that their robocalls increased (“tripled”) after downloading the app. There are also reports that a lot of legitimate calls get blocked, too. But as the only current player in this space taking on VOIP and landline numbers, there’s definitely a place for Nomorobo in the pantheon.