Sick of annoying calls? 6 ways to block unwanted phone numbers

Whether it’s a pushy telemarketer or someone you just don’t want to speak to, technology makes it easy to block phone numbers and prevent certain callers from getting through to you. Here are 6 ways to help end those annoying calls. [Image credit: iStock.com/Jason_V]

Sick of annoying calls? 6 ways to block unwanted phone numbers

1. Register on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL)

Unwanted calls happen for various reasons, but the bulk of them come from telemarketers trying to push their products or services to consumers over the phone.
A first step towards reducing the number of unwanted calls is to get on the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), managed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

  • It’s quick, easy and free to register your numbers on the National DNCL website, including all of your residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone numbers.
  • You may also register by calling toll-free at 1-866-580-DNCL or, if you use a TTY device, by dialling 1-888-DNCL-TTY.

Although registering on the DNCL will reduce the number of undesirable calls you receive, it won’t completely stop them. Certain organizations, including Canadian registered charities, political parties and businesses to whom you have given consent to contact you, are exempt.

2. Stop telemarketing calls before they start

The next step towards blocking telemarketers from contacting you is to ensure they don’t get your number to begin with – but how does that happen? Through a number of fairly innocent behaviours, including:

  • When filling out online forms for such things as job applications, warranty cards, contests, service contracts, or to register to use the site, you may have forgotten to check the “I do not wish to be contacted” box.
  • Similarly, you may not have unchecked the box that says something like, “I wish to be contacted with product offers and services that may be of interest to me,” often already checked off for your “convenience”.

Always read the Terms of Use. More and more mobile apps are being used by companies to harvest your personal information and then sell it. Reading the terms could save you a lot of hassle down the road.

When it’s time to step up your game…
If you’re still receiving a lot of unwanted calls after registering your numbers on the National DNCL and changing your habits concerning to whom you provide personal contact information, it’s time to up the ante and play hardball. What now?

3. Enable your smartphone’s built-in call blocking features

A modern smartphone has more computing power than the first mission to the Moon. Why not harness it to prevent unwanted callers from getting through to you?

  • The procedure to block numbers on Android phones varies, from choosing a bunch of numbers you want blocked and selecting “Block number” to “Reject Calls”. The owner’s manual for your specific Android phone will provide you with more detail about what to do.
  • To block phone numbers on any iPhone, under “Recents”, tap the lower-case “i” in a circle (which means “information”) next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap “Block this Caller”.

4. Download a call blocking app on your smartphone

You’d be surprised at how many third-party smartphone apps exist specifically for detecting and blocking unwanted calls. They offer features beyond those available on your smartphone for keeping undesirable callers at bay.

  • Although many are free, it might be worthwhile paying a few bucks for one that has received a lot of good reviews from actual users who have bought and used the app. As such, you’ll need to do a little reading. That doesn’t mean you should overlook the free apps. A lot depends on your needs.
  •  Depending on if you have an Android phone or iPhone, you’ll need an app that is compatible with your type of phone.

5. Protect your landline with a call blocker

Getting unwanted calls on your landline? Purchasing an inbound call blocker device might be the best choice to prevent nuisance numbers from getting through. These devices typically connect easily and quickly to your landline.

  • Some require the caller to punch in a code. If a caller doesn’t have it (which a telemarketer wouldn’t) that caller can’t reach you. While this might be inconvenient for friends and family, it’ll put a stop to unsolicited calls and could be worth it if you’re being frequently harassed.
  • Other types of call blocker boxes have call displays, whereby if you answer the phone only to realize it’s a telemarketer or some other undesirable caller, you can “blacklist” that number at the touch of a button and prevent the caller from getting through again. There is usually a feature to “Remove” the number from being blocked if you did so in error.

6. File a formal complaint with the CRTC

Despite your best efforts, sometimes unsolicited calls just keep getting through. For those aggressive and annoying callers (specifically telemarketers) who won’t take “no” for an answer, the solution may be to file a formal complaint to the CRTC, which usually requires four steps on your part:

  1. Ensure all your phone numbers are registered with the National DNCL.
  2. Answer the phone even when a suspected telemarketer calls.
  3. Collect as much detail as possible during the call.
  4. Report the incident without delay, including the details you gathered during the call.

Why unwanted calls are sometimes more than just annoying

Phone fraud (called "vishing") and Internet fraud (referred to as "phishing" or "brand spoofing" by the RCMP) are among the most common types of scams that prey on Canadians from all walks of life. From seniors to students, people who are financially well-off to those who receive government aid, scammers make no distinction: anyone can fall victim to these anonymous thieves whose aim is to trick people out of their hard-earned money.

  • While not every unwanted call you receive may have shady intentions behind it, being aware of the possibility never hurts. For that reason, we encourage you to share this article with the people you care about to help protect them against anyone who may want to take advantage of their trusting nature.

For more information about the latest scams, visit the official visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) website.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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