MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Analysts predict almost half of all cell phone calls will be robocalls by 2019, which is not good news for those of you who already get too many of them.
Phone companies will screen those calls for you, either warning you of possible spam or letting you learn more about why someone’s calling, without having to answer the phone.
A Verizon tech expert showed WCCO’s Christiane Cordero a new feature on Google’s Pixel phone. When you get a call from an unfamiliar number, you’ll have three options: accept, decline, or screen call. The last option sends an automated message to the caller to let them explain why they’re calling, which you see in a live text message.
You also have options on the bottom of the screen to let you interact even more.
Apple and other phone companies haven’t yet released screening technology that advanced, but they have other screening options available. Major phone carriers have apps specifically designed to alert and sometimes block spam calls. Depending on the app, it will usually decide if that phone number seems suspicious and, next to the number, it’ll show some kind of warning, such as the phrase, “Possible Spam.”
Some of them will also block them for you if, for example, you get three missed calls from the same random number within minutes. Those apps typically cost between $3 and $5 a month.
Because not all robocalls are spam, in the traditional sense, that’s why things like the “Do Not Call” list aren’t as effective as a lot of consumers would hope. Calls about your prescription, or from your school district, are all robocalls that most people want. The trick is detecting the spam calls. That’s what these phone companies are trying to figure out.