Stop Unwanted Calls and Messages
How to Stop Unwanted Calls and Text Messages on Your Cell Phone
Cell phones are very handy communications tools and we keep them with us nearly all of the time. This becomes a problem with unwanted calls and messages. This type of communication can be frustrating as well as expensive since we pay to receive even unsolicited messages and calls.
If you want to stop unwanted calls and messages, you've come to the right place. From irritating spam to frightening harassment, some calls need to stop. This page will discuss some of the options.
About Unwanted Cell Phone Calls and Text Messages
Unwanted calls and text messages can come in the form of either SPAM or harassment. SPAM is most common and is more easily dealt with but harassing calls are more serious and sometimes require more radical action.
This page will review the precautions you should take to prevent unwanted communications and the actions you can implement to eliminate an existing problem.
Preventing Unwanted Calls and Text Messages
Learn More (or Laugh) About Spam
Blocking Cell Phone Calls from Unknown Numbers
Many spammers call from "private" numbers and other individuals may block their number as well so that it can't be identified. There are a few options available to help eliminate the frustration of such calls.Many modern cell phones allow the user to program their phone to block unknown and private calls which will go a long way in reducing unwanted calls and messages. Reading through the owner's manual will reveal how this can be accomplished as well as how to activate any webmail filter. This article also covers some of the basics of blocking calls. Check your cell phone company's website. It often allows you to set up filters as well, to help eliminate unknown callers and spam. Some even allow you to block roaming and/or international calls to eliminate such excessive charges. Another option is to program the cell phone to have all private/unknown calls assigned a silent ringtone so that it goes unanswered and instead ends up on voice mail where the user can later delete it just as they do e-mail delivered to their spam folder. Many unwanted calls come from blocked or restricted numbers. There is now a service that can identify such callers to help you deal with them. TrapCall can do this within seconds for a fee.Spam filters are also available. Some are even free such as Spambayes and BullGuard. A final option is to have all calls which originate from callers not on your contact list to roll to voicemail. Again, you can delete any unwanted calls later. If the above efforts aren't satisfactory there is software available to help users blacklist numbers. This Google SMS Blocker for Android, AppWorld BlackBerry SMS Blocker and iBlacklist for iPhones are examples.Using Google Voice may be an option for blocking both unknown and known unwanted callers. Using a single Google Voice number to direct your calls to your cell phone, work phone, or home phone can provide a number of advantages but blocking unwanted calls is a major one.
Learn More About Google Voice - To Block Unwanted Calls
Get Tips from Other Users about Blocking Calls
You are not alone in the fight to stop unwanted calls and messages; many consumers before you have fought the same fight. Sometimes inquiring with other users of a service can produce a quick and useful response that will get you on your way.
For example, this Wireless Advisor Forum offers a section of each of the major providers and Mobiledia has a Verizon Wireless specific forum. The AT&T User Forum is useful and this T-Mobile forum can also help provide answers. This page offers a Sprint Users Forum to ask and answer questions. These are only a few of the options; a search online can reveal a number of other sites which can prove useful.
Blocking Text Messages
There are a few things you can do if you are receiving unwanted text messages.Disable text messaging altogether. Go to the cell phone company's website to set up your preferences. You can often block certain domains or eliminate messages originating from the internet which is where most spam is generated. Call your cell phone company to make them aware of the situation. See if they can block a specific number/develop a block list and have them reverse any charges. If the above suggestions don't achieve the desired results consider additional software to block messages such as that mentioned in the previous section. Text Guard is a newer example of a downloadable program that does this.
Use the Tools Your Cell Phone Company Provides to Block Messages - These handy links can get you started
- Verizon Wireless
Set up Text Blocking through this page. Text Blocking is about 2/3 the way down the list.
Set up your preferences for allowing and blocking text messages.
This page explains what messages you can block and how to do it when using T-Mobile service.
This page provides specific instructions on how to block messages from specific numbers, e-mail addresses, and domains.
Stopping Harassing Cell Phone Calls and Text Messages
Spammers and persistent marketers are not the only source of unwanted calls and messages. Other individuals may choose to harrass you. Harassing another individual via their cell phone is illegal. If you've asked a caller to stop, ignored them, and still receive calls or messages, you should report it to your cellular company.
Your company can often assist in getting a caller blocked or, if necessary help track the caller. The police should also be notified for your safety. Keeping a record of the dates, times, and a description of any call is advisable for assisting in any investigation or prosecution.
In some cirumstances it is advisable to change your cell phone number.
This article on Stalking and Harassment provides more tips on how to handle the situation. This Privacy Rights article defines harassment, offers links to cyberstalking laws, and provides additional tips.
Kids and Harassing Cell Phone Calls and Text Messages
Young children who are given a cell phone often have one that doesn't connect to the internet and thus the risk of spam is greatly reduced. In addition, the phones for young kids often allow calls only from those programmed into their contact list reducing the likelihood of bullying as well other unwanted calls and messages.
However, when more sophisticated phones enter the picture, risks increase. Kids need to be well versed in how to handle any inappropriate messages and calls and should be advised of some of the "rules" listed above for starters.
See Best Cell Phones for Kids for phone recommendations, plans that can help protect them, and additional reading on the topic of how to stop unwanted calls and messages.
Learn About Cyber Bullying
Reader Suggested Software for Blocking Calls and Messages
Just a few items which readers have recommended. We have not tested these out.