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Stop Unwanted Calls and Messages

Updated on August 20, 2014

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

There are steps that you can take to try to stop unwanted calls and messages before they even happen. Some of the unwanted calls and messages from businesses, marketers, or spammers are particularly easy to prevent.

Keep your cell phone number private. Provide it only to those individuals you trust. Be aware of the privacy policy of any business before you provide your cell phone number. Providing it may not only allow them to contact you with additional offers but in some instances, they will sell your information for others to use. Keep this in mind even in the non-internet world. Be particularly wary of downloads to your cell phone. Your cell phone number is then available to this company and it's especially critical to use these online services only if they are a trusted site. Look for check boxes indicating that you are giving permission for further marketing contacts when you sign up for anything online; whether you are making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting membership in something. If such additional messages or calls would be unwanted, uncheck the box, or if preferred, provide an e-mail address only. Signing up for the "Do Not Call Registry" should be your first step if you want to stop unwanted calls and messages. You can register your number at DoNotCall.gov. Never open any unwanted text messages or respond to them in any way. Either delete them or forward them to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.

Work to prevent phishing operations from discovering your e-mail address and number. Use an e-mail address that would be hard to guess, use both letters and numbers in it.Be sure all members of your family are aware of these precautions so that they don't accidentally agree to unwanted calls and messages or provide your contact information to unreliable sources.

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.

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.

Reader Suggested Software for Blocking Calls and Messages

Just a few items which readers have recommended. We have not tested these out.

Photo Credits

Introduction: Claudecf.

Preventing Unwanted Calls and Text Messages: timsamoff. (no derivative work allowed)

Blocking Cell Phone Calls from Unknown Numbers: qwrrty.

Blocking Text Messages: Nate Steiner.

Stopping Harassing Cell Phone Calls and Text Messages: Conner 395.

Stop Unwanted Calls and Messages: Was this page helpful? Let us know!

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    • profile image

      Ilori 2 years ago

      אני התקנתי את האפליקציה לאייפון שלי אבל זה כותב לי:an internet coiecntnon is requied to place free viber calls. check your coiecntnon and try again/place a regular call instead. מה אני אמור לעשות?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I get text messages and have to pay for the priviliage (shocker) I applied all the settings on phone to block texts (does a wonderful job) but hey ho Im still getting charged even though I now personnally don't get the text message. Can any one suggest a solution

    • ladyyummy profile image

      ladyyummy 4 years ago

      Thank you, it was helpful :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You might want to add that Virgin Moblile doesn't "support phone number blocking", as stated on the Support section of their website. For those of us that don't have a smartphone and therefore can't use SMS Blocker, it can be a real pain. I wish I'd stayed with AT&T, dead zones and all.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I know these people too good. They called me once or twice a week. It was just disturbing. 6 months ago I bought a phone with a blacklist feature and fed the thing with the top 10 numbers from tellows.com every month. Live couldn't be better scince then :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Beware of (250) 554-1235. Makes quite a few fake solicitation calls...

    • profile image

      antoniow 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you. Very helpful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks man! very useful tips!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: usually reply with just STOP is an automated way to unsubscribe to those. hope this helps

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      why does the government grow some balls and do something about all this BS??? do not call... means... DO NOT CALL/TEXT/COMMUNICATE in any way at all!!! MERCY... wish I had 5 minutes with those bastards in a ring :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      how to stop an unwanted call using www.donotcal.gov.

    • profile image

      cooloo3z 5 years ago

      Excellent report on all aspects of unwanted cell phone situations. When I receive a call from an 800 or 866 number, I do a quick Google search for that number. Most results show either the name of the person or company calling and if it's spam or a bill collector or whatever.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was able to block text messages, but now that person is sending message from the internet to my cell from a site called "txt2day", is there a way to block those?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: DEAR CALL HER NEXT SUNDAY AND ASK HER TO TIE A RAKHI AND PRESENT HER SOMETHING FOR THIS SISTER BROTHER RELATION.O.K.

    • profile image

      dividi 5 years ago

      Thanks for these useful tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Not a program, but contacting the police can be very effective. They have a way of getting through to psychos when nothing else works. Along those same lines, you can apply for a "no contact" order. All of which might seem like a hassle, but it's less of a hassle than being constantly harassed by a psycho.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is what works for me when I need to block cell numbers http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-b...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is what works for me when I need to block cell numbers http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-b...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Help! This number keeps on sending text at the wee hours of the moring > +63 917 806 0382

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Help! This number keeps on sending text at the wee hours of the moring > +63 917 806 0382

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      My daughter has a problem with a bully sending her text messages on her Blackberry,; while she has blocked her on the BBM service, it seems Blackberry phones have no tool for blocking a single user from txt messaging, the only way is to block everything and then 'except' the numbers you want to allow. On my own phone I can just block a single number from calls or texts. You'd think a more advanced system would have as user-friendly a way to deal, wouldn't you? Great lens, thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Does anyone know of a text/call blocking program for non-smart cell phones? A psychobitch is harassing my family.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: My friend just experienced that same harassment. She set up a google voice account and is now able to block callers. Not sure if you can block texts. She did, however, have to change her cell phone number. If you tell your phone company that you are being harassed they have to change your number free of charge.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for more ammo to keep the undesired from reaching out and touching me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      a girl is calling and irritating... i don't even know her....and talk all non sense. i get call from this number +918885695336 . can any one tell me how to avoid her.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      a girl is calling and irritating... i don't even know her....and talk all non sense. i get call from this number +918885695336 . can any one tell me how to avoid her.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been receiving text messages from a person I don't know. I strictly keep my cell phone number private, however, I still don't know how she got my number. She has been verbally harassing me and texts me degrading words that I really find annoying and abusive. I hope cell phone companies would include a feature that can block these harassers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been receiving text messages from a person I don't know. I strictly keep my cell phone number private, however, I still don't know how she got my number. She has been verbally harassing me and texts me degrading words that I really find annoying and abusive. I hope cell phone companies would include a feature that can block these harassers.

    • blazingzone lm profile image

      blazingzone lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for all the info on how to prevent unwanted calls. I always wanted to stop having so much of those commercial cold calls.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 5 years ago

      i like your lens. i will be bookmarking it. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Mosoma 6 years ago

      Very good lens. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @aesta1: yes thats right hapend to me also ... no contract cell phones

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I haven't had a cell phone for a while now but will sure keep this in mind for future days!

    • profile image

      markets 6 years ago

      If you really wanted to stop unwanted calls and messages, you'd just have to be a better person to those around you, then there would be no unwanted calls or msgs. Just my 2 cents here :)

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      Important lens. Good to know stuff! Thanks

    • DrDebbieThompson profile image

      DrDebbieThompson 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great information! Unsolicited calls do not work for me on so many levels. When I had a public business phone is was even worse. My cell phone has been solicitor-free until this past 6 months. I think it has something to do with my new web connection and text messaging. You gave me some great ideas on how to deal with that.

    • TeamDealStartsH profile image

      TeamDealStartsH 6 years ago

      Lately, I've been getting calls from a collection agency that says I owe them money, but I told them I have no idea what they're talking about. They said it's fine, but they keep calling me. Definitely going to block 'em. Thanks for the great Lens!

    • profile image

      wectery 6 years ago

      i am an expert in cell phone batteries. if you have any doubt in this field, please visit my site lg cell phone batteries, i will share my information with you.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      fantastic information

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great article,very informative.

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Lucky Leprechaun Angel Blessings!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Some people just dial series of numbers and when they get an answer, they call and call and call. This happened to us once and we told him we will report him to the police. It did not stop so we thought of another idea. Since each time he calls, it costs him, we press answer and just leave it on. Then, we called him from our computer as often as we can especially during work hours that he finally had to turn his phone off so he could not get calls from his friends. He finally gave up and never bothered us again.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am getting more unwanted calls. Because My number is fancy one, so getting many wrong calls. And the marketing calls from the service provider are also increased now. Thanks for sharing. M6.Net Windows Hosting

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very useful information. Thanks

    • profile image

      mockingbird999 6 years ago

      I hate getting unwanted phone calls. Thanks for the info.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 6 years ago

      A really informative lens.

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 6 years ago

      Very informative lens! I have added it to my Cell Phones Are a Public Nuisance lens.

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 6 years ago

      Great information!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      Very useful information. More than half of my calls and texts seem to be people trying to sell me things.

    • bt55 profile image

      bt55 6 years ago

      Good information. This is helpful. Some of the marketing companies do not stop,even when you are listed on the do not call list. Thank you very much!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Yes, this was helpful. I'm on the do not call list, but still get unwanted calls. I don't answer any call if I don't recognize the phone number.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The do not call registry has been working well for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Try NumberCop. They block calls and text on BlackBerry and Android. http://www.numbercop.com

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 6 years ago from France

      Stopping unwanted contact in whatever form it takes is becoming more important every day in this world of instant communication. Great subject, thanks for sharing this way of stopping unwanted calls, they can be a real nuisance.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very helpful info-thanks!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Lots of great informations. I just got my first cell phone (no I am not technologically challenged lol, just never had the need for one before) and the last thing I want is spam! We have enough on the regular phone at home.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is great information and a big help with the resources you provide. I suddenly got a rash of spam calls when Facebook opened up their members to advertisers. I ignored every call from a number I didn't know and it eventually calmed down.

      I had to call the police on a text message once. Kids from my child's school were sending a text that said, "You will die at midnight if you don't forward this." I told the kid who sent it to MY phone to stop but he kept doing it. I gave his name and number to the police.

    • profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 7 years ago

      You have done here an important job ,Very Impressive lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: use mobiwatchman application by optinno....

      check http://www.mobiwatchman.com

      This is really useful for those who are really annoyed by the spam calls.

      Do try it...

      Download app from http://www.mobiwatchman.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Those who want to block spam SMS can try smsblocker application by optinno.

      check http://www.smsblocker.in

      smsblocker automatically identify spam smses and filter them silently.

      No need to maintain black list or add sender in blocklist every time.

      Its very handy...

      Do try it.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I HAVE A CONTACT PERSON WHO WONT STOP CALLING. DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO BLOCK AN INDIVIDUAL NUMBER??

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information. Just went over to ATT and blocked everything! (Did I mention I hate spammers?)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      There is this app called smsBlocker. I don't know how, but it blocks spam SMS automatically. Check on www.smsBlocker.in.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: hey lisa i need your help. i need to block a caller from my verizon phone. please help...

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 7 years ago

      Very helpful indeed! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      T-MOBILE - Sidekick doesn't allow email alerts (as text messages) and send you a text from number 1-047-600-0000 instead. They are going to have a tool available within three days to fix it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      hello...i have verizon wireless.....found out u can block # from calling. blocked someone and then had to unblock ( long story).....i was curious what kind of a message the caller gets when they are blocked??????

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I like that you think. Thank you for share very much.

    • profile image

      markb3rns 7 years ago

      very helpful! thanks!

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 7 years ago

      Great 5 star lens idea and helpful. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great tips. I've actually had some people use profanity when I asked them to stop calling me. They got really, really nasty with me. It's terrible. Great lens! 5****

    • profile image

      inkserotica 8 years ago

      I think some of the problem occurs because phone companies re-use old numbers. Luckily, I don't get too many because I don't have many friends, lol! ;) 5*

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 8 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Thanks for the great advice on blocking cell phone numbers, I learned a lot!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Thank you for the great tips! 5*

      Now I just hope that my phone company allows me block calls and see if I have the option to disable text messaging..

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I sure could have used your help this morning when that crazy 000-000-0000 person kept calling me. And it said 'out of area' too! Weird. And, later today I got hit by twitter followers trying to give me a free laptop or something else. Very strange stuff! Say -- where is that lens you mentioned -- potato salad?

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to Kat] I remember that option, did they do away with it completely?

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      So what happened to the simple BLOCK function that used to be on most phones? You key in a code and then the areacode/number you want to BLOCK. They just get dead air when they call cuz the call does not go thru. SIMPLE and workable for most calls. The 'block unknown' can be used for a more broad filter.

      I had BLOCK functionality from the late 1980s to at least the new millennium (covering several phones) but when they discontinued analog service, you could no longer do this. hmmm...sounds like it would be even simpler to do with digital tech.

      Once again, we are being technologically 'controlled' by some sort of sales force at work.

      scary...why don't they just put chips in our heads and get it over with.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Canada has just started a national do not call program and from what I have read it has too many exceptions to be of great use. All unwanted calls bother me but the one that bothers me most is the one that comes regularly to my cell phone the number of which I do not give out to anyone -- just my immediate family, schools, that sort of thing. My cell phone almost never rings. One call a week is unusual. Now, however, I get one call a week from the company that wants to let me know my car warranty is about to expire...even though it expired long ago. I will definitely be looking to see if I can block their calls. It never occurred to me that I could do that. Thanks.

      Brenda

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great information and tips. Very well done. I didn't know you could sell old cell phones. I will have to see if we have any around here. I enjoyed the visit. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      5 stars! This is a really professional lens. awesome job! I wrote an article on Cellular Family Plans with some advised that might save people money. When you have a chance check it out. Thanks and keep up a good job!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 8 years ago from Vermont

      Plenty of solid advice - nicely done.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 8 years ago

      Fantastic information, I finally registered for the do not call list.

    • Steelecommerce profile image

      Steelecommerce 8 years ago

      Excellent lens, good info on unwanted calls, 5 Stars.

    • JenniferAkers LM profile image

      JenniferAkers LM 9 years ago

      Great resource! I've had both unwanted calls, messages, and texts. My cell phone provider is pretty good about helping, but it is frustrating.

      Thanks for the extra ideas!

    • profile image

      WhippetTalk 9 years ago

      Great! I'm adding this to my lens about Cell Phones. It's one of my pet peeves about cell phones. Great lens. 5*s