How to Stop Harassing Cell Phone Calls

This article is from the Kim Komando show. The text is at http://www.komando.com/tips/12132/put-a-stop-to-harassing-calls-and-texts

Kim is awesome — she knows every detail about every single techie thing in the whole wide world. She has a radio show and a free newsletter which you can easily sign up for on her website http://www.komando.com  

Don’t be intimidated by the length of this article. Read the first few paragraphs and then skip to the phone and service you have.

Thanks, Kim, for making us all a little bit safer!

Q. Kim, help! This person won’t stop trying to mess with me on my cellphone. They send me texts and call me at random hours at night and leave all sorts of bizarre voicemails on my phone. I just got this number, so I think they’re trying to prank the person who had it before. I’ve tried responding to tell them to leave me alone, but they won’t give up. What can I do to stop their harassing calls and texts?
 Dawn

A. I usually recommend ignoring a person who is harassing you, Dawn. Since you’ve responded, the person knows that they are annoying someone. That usually just makes them ramp up their efforts.

All hope is not lost, though. There are several different ways to stop harassing calls and texts. Many of them are free, but some of them will cost you a little bit every month. That’s a small price to pay for the added peace of mind, though!

The only catch is that the process varies depending on what kind of phone you have and what carrier you’re on. I’ll take you through each method step by step so you can end this stressful experience.

All four of the major carriers will block numbers from calling or texting your phone. Most require you to shell out a $5 monthly fee to block numbers. Sprint is the only exception. It allows you to block some numbers for free.

AT&T’s service is called Smart Limits for Wireless. Once you have it, log into MyAT&T and hover over “Wireless” to see “Smart Limits.” Select it and then choose “Blocked Numbers” to add a number.

If you have Verizon Usage Controls, log into MyVerizon and find “Manage Verizon Safeguards.” Click “Add Blocked Contacts” and then input the number. Verizon also requires you to give the number a name, but it doesn’t have to be the caller’s actual name.

For blocking on T-Mobile, you need Family Allowances. In the “Family Allowances” menu in your account, select “Allowed Numbers.” To block a number, you have to add it to the “Never allowed” section.

Finally, Sprint customers can sign into My Sprint and go to My Preferences >> Limits and Permissions >> Block Voice. Choose “Block only the following phone numbers for inbound and outbound calls.” Add the number and then click save. You may have to restart your phone.

It works the same way with texts, but you’ll choose “Block Texts” instead of “Block Voice.” You have to block the number in both areas to cut off communication fully.

There are also some free options.  Google Voice    http://voipsetup.info/   has robust call screening features, including call blocking.

If you have an Android smartphone, Mr. Number   http://mrnumber.com/features    lets you send calls and texts away from your phone or hang up on a caller automatically without answering.

On an iPhone with iOS7, you can block FaceTime, Phone and Messages contacts you don’t want to communicate with you.

If you’re in FaceTime or the Phone app, go to Favorites or Recent and find the person you want to block. Tap the Info button, scroll to the bottom and tap Block Contact. If you’re in your Contacts screen, just tap the contact, scroll down and tap Block Contact.

For Messages, tap a message from someone you want to block and then tap Contact in the upper right corner. Tap the Info button, scroll to the bottom and tap Block Contact.

You can edit your blocked contacts later in Settings>>Phone>>Blocked, Settings>>Messages>>Blocked, or Settings>>FaceTime>>Blocked.

If the number is actually spam or a telemarketer, you can block all of those at once. Just add your smartphone’s number to the Do Not Call Registry   https://www.donotcall.gov/   The annoying calls should stop in about a month.

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3 thoughts on “How to Stop Harassing Cell Phone Calls

  1. Oh, Kathleen, how wonderful, how inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing this. I wonder what the police did with the perp — hope he was arrested, charged, and convicted.

  2. Hi Jean – about 6 years ago I had a very disturbing phone call at home from a very sick perp who had a real child crying the background. The peep used the crying to trigger out a compliant still-hidden part.

    The perp basically told me in his voice message that if I didn’t obey there would be severe consequences. I knew he meant he would harm the child, who I didn’t even know, because a number of perps had used hostage children in the past to get me to come back and do whatever they wanted with the child’s safety as their bargaining chip.

    After having a meltdown about whether to comply or know that if I didn’t something really bad would be done to the anonymous child, I remembered what a fellow group member once told me. If I want a different outcome, “Do something different”. So I did.

    I called the police after saving the voice message and backing a copy up on other equipment.

    Very quickly, the dispatcher sent a detective to our home. After listening to the voice message, he used his legal authority to trace the cell call to Verizon.

    Because the voice message indicated possible child endangerment, Verizon immediately gave him the caller’s information.

    He was then able to get the child safe without me having to go back to try to keep him safe on my own…which never turned out well anyway. At least, not for me for sure.

    I haven’t had any more of those kinds of phone calls since that day from any of the perps. All because I did something more healthy this time. I dared to do something different by trusting the police for once, instead of relying solely on my own very limited options.

    Another major step in my recovery…trusting the authorities to do the right thing. And they did! : )

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