How to Stop Unwanted Spam Calls

We are very excited to offer an updated version of our spam blocking feature for our My Choice members. This feature is an improvement from our previous release announced here. Once you enable it, we prevent any spam calls we identify from ringing your phone. You will also have the option to block calls directly from the Android dialer.

To get set up on the new spam feature follow the steps below.

Open the Republic Wireless app, tap on the gear in the right-hand corner, and tap Call and Voicemail settings.

Tap Configure spam call blocking.

Choose from Block spam calls, Block spam calls & voicemails, or Don’t block calls (disabled by default)

Continue reading to learn more about what we’re doing to address unwanted spam calls.

What is a spam call?

While spam is likely ‘in the eye of the beholder,’ I like to think of it in two buckets. The small bucket is telemarketers, callers with whom I’ve had some financial relationship in the past, (ex: alumni association from college, charities to which I’ve donated, businesses I’ve made purchases from, and even children’s schools). The big bucket is scammers, (robo-callers) with whom I have no previous relationship and their goal is to collect my personal information and/or steal my money (ex: fake IRS summons, health insurance offers, credit card offers).

How spam works and how you should respond

Generally, humans place the calls in the ‘telemarketer’ bucket. Occasionally you might also get a pre-recorded message from a school principal or a doctor’s office which I’m including in the ‘telemarketer bucket’. If you no longer want to receive these calls, please ask the caller to remove your number from their list and stop contacting you. The Do Not Call Registry is also a good option. There isn’t a separate do not call registry for cell phones, so you can add your cell phone number to the main registry.

Software is typically placing calls in the ‘scammer’ bucket. Scammers use auto-dialers to cycle through thousands or even millions of numbers daily. Software is also used to ‘spoof’ the caller’s number, often utilizing a local area code and prefix, to increase the chance that you answer. Much like email spam, the cost of each additional call is negligible and spammers only need a few unsuspecting individuals to volunteer their personal information to cover costs. The safest way to avoid scammers is by not answering calls from unknown numbers. Let the call go to voicemail. If it’s legitimate, the caller will leave a voicemail. Often, if you answer one scam call, it’s blood in the water for a host of other scammers that will relentlessly call you.

How Republic is responding

We’ve been thinking about spam for years, but struggled to find an appropriate balance between blocking too much and not blocking enough. We want to stop unwanted calls, but we don’t want to block the important ones, such as a call from your daughter’s school that classes have been canceled due to snow. Ultimately the solution we chose analyzes the frequency at which a single number is contacting the hundreds of thousands of Republic Wireless members, along with a host of other metrics that indicate it’s likely an unwanted call. For high-risk numbers, we partner with a third party that assesses the ‘spaminess’ of the caller’s number based on complaints, past history, and other factors. If the caller’s number has a sufficient high spam score, we block it.

This approach won’t stop all spam. Based on modeling, it should block more than 50% of spam calls. After opting into this feature, we expect the level of spam for more than half of our members to drop to zero.

But if you still get many repeat calls from the same number, you can block it directly in the Android dialer. Simply open the dialer, long press on the call, and choose to block the number. Don’t worry, all of the numbers you previously added to your block list are still blocked and that list can be edited from the Dialer settings menu!

We are always looking for new ways to improve our service experience. This is only one of the many great benefits that our members get here at Republic Wireless. Not a member yet and interested in checking out our spam call blocking feature? Learn more about our service today and the innovative features we have to offer.

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Notable Replies

  1. This sounds like it is done on the R.W. side of things before the call even rings the phone?

    Is this different than the built in Spam Call blocker that is in the Phone app of the Google Dialer, like on the Pixel phones? Would having both R.W. Spam block and the Google one cause any issues?

  2. Hi @SpeedingCheetah,

    Were you able to read the entire blog post? The two features are independent and you can use both.

  3. Actually, the Block call list that is mentioned there is a different feature than the Spam Call block feature/option in the dialer.
    The block list feature is a black list the user populates after each unwanted call.
    The “Filter spam calls” option under Caller ID & Spam in the settings is different and is either on or off and it does a similar thing on the backed as what the description of R.W implantations is.

  4. The feature announced today is completely independent of any feature on your phone and the two will not conflict.

  5. Will this new feature handle spoofed caller ids?

  6. sw_a says:

    Terrific! Every added defense helps.

  7. Cliq says:

    My phone doesn’t have “Call and Voicemail settings” - just “Voicemail settings.” There is nothing there that helps me to block spam calls, though I can do so through my recent calls. Is my J7 Galaxy too old to have this feature?

  8. Cliq says:

    Aha! After I updated the app, all was well. Thank you so much for your quick response. Republic Wireless rules!

  9. I have a 386 area code but live in another state. All the spam calls I get are from 386 spoofing my area code. None of the non-spam calls I get come from area code 386. Can I instruct either RW or my Android phone to block all calls from area code 386?

  10. Kudos for the spam filter however its really not enough. Any number in our address book should be whitelisted, there’d be no worrying about the school calling, I don’t know one parent that doesn’t have the school number in there phone, or doctor, or etc.

    A better solution is NOMOROBO. An antispam app for android work works of a database of known spam numbers thats pretty effective. I’ve use to get 10-15 calls a day, now its 2or 3 a week that slip through and you can add any that do. Also, if you have a landline, its freee for landlines. The phone app is a worthwhile $1.99 a month.

  11. Hi @ashleyc.pluehn,

    This is available on the My Choice Talk and Text plan. We are not able to implement the feature on our 2.0 app.

  12. I just had to update the app, my bad. Thank you though for helping.

  13. Sounds great, but when I went to my phone there was no Call and Voicemail Settings. There was a Call Settings and a Voicemail Settings, but neither of them showed an option to block spam. Is this feature limited to specific phone makes and models?

  14. Hi @vernr.zafwuk,

    As indicated in the blog post, the feature is available only to My Choice subscribers. It is not available for members still enjoying the grandfathered Beta plan, the Unlimited 3G and 4G plan, nor the Republic Refund plan.

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