Monday, August 1, 2016

Searching for a Way to Block Unwanted Spam and Robo Calls: TrueCaller

If you have a phone, you are no stranger to robo and spam calls. Towards the end of June things were getting so bad that I was having up to three calls a day. It was frustrating because I couldn't always tell the difference between valid, important calls, and the spam because some of them came from my own area code. Day by day it was getting worse. Finally, after three long weeks of this, I began to research my options.

First and foremost, if you are receiving a large number of spam and robo calls I recommend making sure that you are on the Do Not Call registry. There are actually two of these, state and national, I recommend covering your bases and registering for both. To register, or check your registration simply go online to these websites:

Both registries will allow you to register your cell phone numbers now, and don't require you to re-register unless something has changed. For instance, I kept my number, but switched Cell Phone Carriers. This caused me to drop off the list and receive more calls. Once I re-registered, those calls were cut significantly.

Keep in mind that these will not stop all calls. Many of the calls we get these days are from scammers, and since they are already breaking the law, the Do Not Call registries will not stop them. In the past I have tried blocking the scammers using the blocking options on my phone, but since they use so many different numbers it was impossible to block them all. So that's when I started looking for a technical solution--an app.  I researched a number of websites and the one the experts seemed to like best was TrueCaller, so I thought I would give it a try.

TrueCaller is supposed to identify spam when you get an incoming call and uses your contact list to filter out your friends and contacts. In a perfect world this would have been a perfect solution, but unfortunately it wasn't. My first call TrueCaller identified as spam was actually from my doctor's office, and trying to get TrueCaller to accept it as a legitimate contact after someone else has said it was spam was next to impossible. I actually had a couple of Spam calls come through that weren't identified, so I marked them as spam with TrueCaller. Overall, it has faults, and I wish it were easier to switch calls from Spam to legit, especially in the case of my doctor.  I am no expert on how the program works, but it seems to take input from all the users--if one user identifies a call as spam, it is that for all users. Still, with very little options out there for stopping those calls, this is definitely worth a try. Just remember, you may want to accept some of those Spam calls--especially if they have a local area code because they might be a call you are waiting for.


  • Name of App: TrueCaller
  • Audience: Adult and Teen
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app will allow you attempt to identify spam calls, but keep in mind it is not perfect.
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS 
  • Cost (at time of review): Free

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