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What is “Spam Risk” and how do I block these phone calls?

When your phone rings and displays “Spam Risk” on the screen, you might wonder who “Spam Risk” is and whether you should pick up the call.

In short, “Spam Risk” typically indicates a spam call. If your Caller ID identifies the incoming call as “Spam Risk,” “Scam Likely,” or something similar, it’s likely that your mobile carrier has flagged it as spam. In most cases, it’s safe to disregard these calls.

What is “Spam Risk”

Why does “Spam Risk” appear?

Spam calls are on the rise, causing not just irritation but also potential harm. In 2021 alone, an estimated US$29.8 billion was lost to phone scams, making it crucial to pay attention to the “Spam Risk” label – it could genuinely protect your finances.

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But how does your mobile carrier identify these spam calls? Through machine learning, an algorithm compares incoming calls with a database of known fraudulent numbers and analyzes behavioral patterns, such as call frequency.

When a call matches a number in the database or displays suspicious behaviour, it’s flagged as “Spam Risk.” While these warnings are generally reliable, there’s a chance of occasional mislabeling due to the automated process. If you’re expecting a call from an unfamiliar number, it’s wise to double-check your call history to ensure it wasn’t incorrectly marked as spam.

One simple way to avoid such misclassification is by adding the number to your contact list.

Can I turn off “Spam Risk” calls?

If you’re constantly receiving calls identified as “Spam Risk,” you’re likely searching for a way to stop them. Here are some settings you can adjust on your iPhone or Android phone to block calls from unknown numbers directly.

How to block “Spam Risk” calls on iPhone

To manage calls on an iPhone, you have the option to activate the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature. This directs calls from numbers not in your contacts straight to voicemail, muting notifications. However, these calls will still be logged in your call history. It’s worth noting, as indicated in the screenshot, that all unidentified calls will be muted, regardless of whether they are spam or legitimate. Here’s how to enable it:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on “Phone.”
  3. Toggle the switch for “Silence Unknown Callers” to activate it.

How to block “Spam Risk” calls on iPhone

How to block “Spam Risk” calls on Android

On an Android device, the “Caller ID and spam protection” feature is activated by default. To enhance spam call management, you can further block notifications from such calls by enabling the “Filter spam calls” option. Here’s how to do it:

  1. If it’s not already set, designate the Phone by Google app as the default phone app.
  2. Open the app and access Settings by tapping the three-dot icon in the search bar.
  3. Select “Spam and Call Screen.”
  4. Scroll down to “See caller & spam ID” and ensure it’s enabled.
  5. Toggle on the “Filter spam calls” option.

Additionally, if you prefer to manage spam calls manually, Android phones offer the “Verified Calls” feature. This feature provides caller information and the reason for the call, empowering you to determine whether a call is genuine or spam. Since spam risk labels aren’t always entirely accurate, this feature gives you more control over call filtering.

Here’s the difference between a regular call and a Verified Call screen.

Verified Call screen

To activate “Verified Calls,” follow these instructions:

  1. If it’s not already set, designate the Phone by Google app as the default phone app.
  2. Open the app and access Settings by tapping the three-dot icon in the search bar.
  3. Select “Spam and Call Screen.”
  4. Scroll down to “Verified Calls” and switch it on.
  5. Finally, choose “Yes, I’m In.”

How to block “Spam Risk” calls on a landline phone

If you’re based in the U.S., a convenient and free way to reduce telemarketing calls is by registering your number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You can do this online at www.donotcall.gov or by dialing 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.

After registering, you should experience a decrease in telemarketing calls within 31 days. However, it’s essential to understand that this method doesn’t block calls from scammers or unscrupulous companies that disregard the registry.

What happens if I answer a “Spam Risk” call?

Similar to how you manage your spam email folder by not opening spam emails (to avoid incentivizing the senders), it’s advisable to refrain from answering calls labeled as “Spam Risk.” Entertaining a spam call can lead to more trouble than it’s worth, so it’s best to decline such calls promptly. Here are some risks associated with picking up scam calls:

  • Increased spam calls: By engaging with a spam call, your number may be flagged as active, resulting in more spam calls being directed towards you.
  • Voice recording for fraudulent purposes: If you answer a spam call, you might unknowingly confirm information, such as saying “yes,” which could be recorded and misused for fraudulent activities like phone banking.
  • Time wastage: While it may be tempting to engage with the spammer, it’s not a productive use of your time. Additionally, interacting with the spam call marks your number as active, leading to further unwanted calls.

If you miss a call that appears to be spam but feel tempted to return it for confirmation, it’s best to refrain. There’s a scam where the caller disguises themselves as a local or domestic number, but in reality, they’re an overseas number that may incur charges upon returning the call.

FAQ’s

Why does “Spam Risk” appear?

Spam calls have become a widespread issue, leading to both annoyance and potential harm. The “Spam Risk” label typically indicates a call flagged by your mobile carrier as spam. This identification is made through a process involving machine learning algorithms that analyze call patterns and known fraudulent numbers.

Can I turn off “Spam Risk” calls?

Yes, you can manage “Spam Risk” calls on both iPhone and Android devices. On iPhone, you can activate the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature to direct such calls to voicemail. On Android, the default “Caller ID and spam protection” feature can be further enhanced by enabling “Filter spam calls” within the Phone by Google app settings.

What happens if I answer a “Spam Risk” call?

Answering a call marked as “Spam Risk” can lead to various risks. It may increase the frequency of spam calls directed towards you, potentially expose you to fraudulent activities if you unknowingly confirm sensitive information, and waste your time engaging with spam callers. It’s best to decline such calls promptly to avoid these issues.

How can I block “Spam Risk” calls on a landline phone?

If you’re in the U.S., you can register your landline number with the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce telemarketing calls. This can be done online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. While this method helps reduce telemarketing calls, it doesn’t block calls from scammers or non-compliant companies.

What are the risks of picking up scam calls?

Engaging with scam calls can lead to increased spam calls directed towards you, potential recording of your voice for fraudulent activities, and wasted time interacting with spammers. Additionally, returning missed calls that appear to be spam can lead to unexpected charges, as some scammers disguise overseas numbers as local ones.

Conclusion

Dealing with “Spam Risk” calls demands vigilance and proactive measures. By understanding these calls and using available tools like call filtering options or the National Do Not Call Registry, individuals can reduce unwanted solicitations and fraud risks. Caution and avoiding suspicious calls help prevent inadvertently sharing sensitive information or falling for scams. Staying informed and taking proactive steps protect privacy, time, and finances in today’s digital world.

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