How to Stop Telemarketers & Scam Phone Calls on Your iPhone

While this post is written for iOS/iPhone there is likely a similar feature on Android.  I do not know the step-by-step process for that system, but if you do please leave a comment.

Ugh… telemarketers and robocalls are the worst.  You have just drifted off to sleep or sat down to eat when your phone goes off.  You don’t recognize the area code, it must be a telemarketer.  If you are like me, you find it infuriating, but what can you do?

I have had my phone number for about eight years now.  I shouldn’t have to change my number to avoid getting called two or three times a day.

Do Not Call Registry

“The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls”

This government run consumer protection program lets you register your phone number with the FTC.  Legitimate telemarketers will check the government list and avoid calling your number if it is on there.  You can check if your number is registered or not by going to

I checked my registration while typing this post and it said I registered on 9/2/2009, but the screenshot I posted above with all those telemarketer/spam calls was taken just this week.  So what gives?

How to Block Robodialers and Scammers

While the Do Not Call list is great for stopping respectable companies, it does nothing to stop unscrupulous scammers.  If you block one number they just call from a different one.  You need some way to only allow known good numbers through.  We can do that by setting up a whitelist.

Here is how I put an end to scammers on my iPhone 4S running iOS 9.

First, go into Settings > Do Not Disturb

Then turn on “Manual” and set “Allow Calls From” to All Contacts.

Scroll down and set “Silence” to Always.

There.  Now only numbers in your address book can call you and make your iPhone make noise.  All other phone numbers will be silenced automatically.

That is all well and good, but what if you need to get a phone call from someone not in your address book?

Extra Bonus Step

Let’s say that you are selling something on Craigslist and you want strangers to be able to text or call you.  How can they, if you don’t know their phone number to add it to the whitelist?

The answer is pretty simple.  We just need to setup a free Google Voice number that forwards to your phone.  While that may sound tricky it isn’t too complicated.

Create or login to your Google account.  Go to

From there you can setup a new Google Voice phone number.  Then you link your existing phone number and set the Google Voice number to forward calls and messages to your existing phone number.

Finally, add your new Google Voice number to your address book on your iPhone.  Now you can hand out your GV number to strangers without risking your primary phone number.  The best part is that GV includes a spam filter.

If you ever do start getting bombarded with scammers on the GV number and Google doesn’t automatically filter them out, you can change your GV number for a small fee.  Your family and friends will always have your primary number which won’t have to change.

How many scam calls do you get a day?  Have you found any other solutions to getting rid of them?  Leave a comment.

Some Pictures from Spring

I have some more interesting blog posts in the works, but for now here are some pictures from our lives.

Here I am firing up the grill on the first nice day of Spring.  I’m also imparting some wisdom to Frugal Boy who is perched on a five gallon bucket.

Later that night, Frugal Boy put together his very first banana boat.

A few days ago, we voted in a local election.  Our mayoral race was not close, but the neighboring town was too close to call with only a 7 vote difference between candidates with 35 absentee votes still waiting to be returned.

Also on the ballot were school board members, the folks responsible for 62% of our property taxes.  They probably have the biggest ratio of taxes to media coverage of any elected official.

Frugal Girl tried out a smile for size.  It is hard to believe that she is almost a month old.

Frugal Boy and I went to see the circus.  I don’t think he’ll be running away and joining them anytime soon.  It was a bit of struggle to keep him interested.

A Rebate Date

Shae and I are an odd couple, so it stands to reason that we’d have odd dates.  Yesterday’s date was to Menards to take advantage of some great rebate sale deals that they have going on.

The best deal was for paint brushes.  We picked up 8 packs, 4 for us and 4 for the business.  We just finished using up the brushes from the last deal.

They were sold out of the Blow Gun Kits.  I may have to check back later to see if they have restocked.

We picked up four 75 watt replacement LEDs.  I might pick up another four for the business.  The extra light is nice on long winter nights.

There are some other freebies that I couldn’t justify a postage stamp for like matches, microfiber clothes, and deck cleaner.  I try to only get things that we actually use.

You can see the Menards sales flyers online here.  Happy hunting.