10 Tips to Reduce Unwanted Calls, Spam Texts and Emails

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Unwanted phone calls, spam texts, and emails are a growing nuisance that most of us have to deal with regularly. From telemarketers trying to sell us things we don’t want to scammers trying to steal our personal information, these unwanted communications only seem to be increasing despite our best efforts to stop them. The constant interruptions and threats to our privacy can leave us feeling frustrated and powerless.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to reduce the number of unwanted calls, texts, and emails we receive. While we may not be able to stop them completely, implementing a combination of the following 10 tips can help significantly decrease unwanted solicitations. The online verification service Veritel provides an additional layer of protection by allowing users to keep their personal phone numbers private when signing up for accounts and services online. Using a temporary verification number from Veritel means your real phone number stays shielded from potential spammers and scam artists.

1. Use a Temporary Phone Number for Online Verification

Whenever you need to provide a phone number to create an online account, register for a service, or verify your identity, consider using a temporary phone number instead of your primary personal number. Services like Veritel allow you to generate temporary phone numbers that can receive SMS texts or voice calls for account verification and two-factor authentication.

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The main benefit of using a temporary number for these purposes is that your real personal number stays private. Your primary number is less likely to be sold, shared or leaked to telemarketers and scammers if it is never exposed in the first place. This reduces the chances that you’ll receive unwanted calls, texts and voicemails to that number.

Temporary numbers from Veritel are available for at a low cost and work just like a normal number for verification purposes. But because they are temporary and disposable, you don’t have to worry about ongoing spam even after validating your account. Using Veritel to keep your personal number private is an easy and effective way to guard against unwanted communications while still securely verifying your identity online.

2. Register on the National Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call Registry is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission that allows you to list your phone numbers to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls you receive. Once your numbers are registered on the list, most telemarketers should not call you.

To register your landline and mobile numbers, visit www.donotcall.gov and provide the numbers you wish to register. You can also register by calling 1-888-382-1222. Your numbers will remain on the registry permanently unless you choose to remove them. Some exceptions apply, such as political calls, charity fundraisers, debt collectors, and surveys.

Registering on the National Do Not Call Registry can drastically cut down on telemarketing calls but may take up to 31 days to take effect. It’s one of the best tools available to reduce unwanted phone solicitations, so it’s worth adding your numbers to the Do Not Call list. Just be aware that some scammers may still call, but reputable telemarketers will honor the list.

3. Be cautious when sharing personal information online.

The more your personal information is available online, the easier it is for scammers, data brokers and shady marketers to target you. Be very selective about what details you share publicly on social media sites and online profiles. Don’t provide your full birth date, address, or phone number unless necessary.

When signing up for services, creating accounts, and making purchases, look for the privacy policy and opt out of marketing communications whenever possible. Avoid contests and giveaways that seem suspicious or ask for a lot of personal details. Only make purchases and enter payment information on secure sites that you trust.

Your personal information has value, and the more of it you release online, the more likely it is to be used to spam you. Be protective of your details, and only share what is absolutely essential. Never provide sensitive information to an unverified source. Using a temporary number from Veritel to keep your primary number private adds another layer of protection.

4. Use caller ID and Let Unknown Numbers Go to Voicemail

Caller ID displays the number of any incoming call, allowing you to screen and selectively choose which calls to answer. If you don’t recognize the number calling you, let it go to voicemail rather than picking up. This avoids unnecessarily answering an unwanted robocall or spam.

Most legitimate callers will leave a message if you don’t answer. You can then call them back if needed without having your time wasted. Robocalls will often hang up without leaving a voicemail since they are just trying to get you to pick up. Setting custom ringtones for contacts in your phone makes it even easier to identify priority calls that should be answered.

Enabling caller ID and selectively screening or ignoring unknown callers cuts down on pointless disruptions. Over time, you will learn to recognize suspicious numbers and avoid answering. Letting unknowns go to voicemail and not picking up is one of the most effective ways to reduce spam calls.

5. Block unwanted numbers on your phone

Once you’ve identified specific numbers that are consistently calling with unwanted solicitations or scams, you can take the extra step of outright blocking them. On smartphones, you can usually block numbers right from the phone app or contact list. On Android, open the Phone app, tap the three-dot menu button, select Settings > Blocked numbers and add numbers to block. On an iPhone, open the Phone app, tap the info icon next to a call, scroll down and select Block Contact.

For landlines, contact your phone provider to ask about call-blocking options. Many phone companies allow you to set up blocked numbers for abusive or harassing callers. You can often even block full area codes and pay a monthly fee to block anonymous calls.

Blocking chronic spam or scam callers provides peace of mind, knowing those numbers will no longer disturb you. Over time, fill up your block list with annoying callers to significantly reduce interruptions. Just be aware that determined scammers may call back from new numbers, so continue using other precautions as well.

6. Be wary of Unsolicited Offers and Deals

Always be suspicious of any unsolicited offers and deals you receive by phone, text, email or mail. These types of unprompted communications are almost always scams or predatory sales tactics. Examples include:

  • Calls claiming you've won a vacation package or prize but need to pay fees
  • Calls threatening action if you don't pay alleged back taxes or bills
  • Calls offering discounted health insurance or shopping club memberships
  • Texts and emails claiming you have an unpaid delivery shipment
  • Letters saying you are pre-qualified for a loan or credit monitoring service

No legitimate company will contact you demanding payment out of the blue, so never provide any personal details if receive a suspicious offer. Don't press any phone buttons, open links or provide account numbers. Common tactics like saying you must "act now" or providing a fake customer service number are red flags.

Simply hang up suspicious calls and delete questionable texts or emails that go unanswered. Beware if they call back repeatedly or get aggressive. Any legitimate offer will be from a company you already do business with and contact information can be independently verified. Always err on the side of caution when receiving unsolicited communications.

7. Avoid responding to Suspicious Texts or Emails

Similar to phone calls, avoid engaging at all with suspicious or unfamiliar texts, emails and messages. Opening links, attachments or even replying often verifies your number as active, which leads to more spam. Even simply calling or texting back phone numbers in unwanted messages can trigger additional robo-dialing.

Watch for red flags like poor spelling and grammar, threats, purposely urgent tones, or requests for personal information. Legitimate businesses won't ask for sensitive details over text or email. If a text or email looks suspicious, report it as spam or phishing. On an iPhone, long-press a suspicious text and select Report Junk. In Gmail, click the three-dot menu next to a message and choose Report phishing. This helps train filters and protect others.

While it may be tempting to vent your frustrations, resist the urge to engage with any questionable texts or emails. Blocking numbers and marking messages as spam are far more effective ways to reduce unwanted communications than replying. Be proactive in identifying and reporting spam instead.

8. Use spam Filters for Your Email Accounts

Configuring the built-in spam filtering offered by most major email providers is a simple way reduce unwanted email. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and others have settings to automatically detect and divert likely spam away from your primary inbox. This keeps your inbox clutter-free and safer.

For Gmail, open your account settings and navigate to the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab. Check the boxes next to Enable spam filtering and Enable harsher spam filtering. Click Save at the bottom to apply the changes. On Outlook, go to Options > Junk Email > Automatic Filtering and select No Automatic Filtering, Low, High or Safe Lists Only based on your preferences.

You can further train filters by manually marking messages as spam or not spam. Over time, your spam filter will become better at properly diverting unwanted mail to keep it out of your main inbox. Just be sure to occasionally check your spam folder for any false positives you may need to rescue and mark as not spam. With some adjustment, spam filters provide an invaluable service to manage unwanted emails.

9. Regularly update your phone's Operating System and Apps

While not directly promotional in nature, having the latest security patches and software fixes goes a long way in protecting against spam, malware and hacking attempts on your devices. Always accept and install operating system updates when they are available for your smartphone and computer.

Enable automatic background updates whenever possible to remove the effort on your part. On an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update and turn on Automatic Updates. For Android, open Settings > System > Advanced > System Update and toggle on Automatic System Updates.

Additionally, manually update any apps that contain security fixes and patches in their change logs, especially messaging, email, and social media apps. Keeping everything on your devices fully up-to-date minimizes vulnerabilities that spammers and scammers may attempt to exploit. It also ensures you have the latest call and message blocking capabilities enabled.

Final Remarks

Unwanted calls, texts and emails can quickly become a significant annoyance as well as a threat to your privacy and security. While we can't avoid them entirely, implementing a combination of the tips in this article can drastically reduce the amount of spam and interruptions you deal with on a daily basis.

Take some time to register on the Do Not Call list, enable spam filters, block known numbers and be selective about sharing your personal information. Using a temporary phone number from Veritel adds critical protection by keeping your primary number private when verification is needed.

With vigilance and proper precautions, you can take control over the amount of spam contacting your phones and inboxes. Don't hesitate to report illegal or abusive callers to authorities and be wary of any suspicious offers or messages. Staying alert and proactively managing your privacy will go a long way toward reducing unwanted communications in this day and age.