iPhone Says: Spam Risk, Fraud, Scam Likely: What Do They Mean?

Is 'Scam Likely' or 'Spam Risk' calling you? Here's what these calls mean and how to block them on your iPhone

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
3 Min Read

Sometimes you may get calls saying, ‘Scam Likely’ or ‘Spam Risk’ in the caller ID section of your call screen instead of a caller id, contact name, or number. You may wonder who this is, what this call means and if you should answer the call. The answer is it is probably a telemarketer, a scammer or a robocall. This is how your mobile carrier helps you easily identify scam calls. You should not answer the call and let your voicemail get it.

How to stop iPhone scam calls

There are three simple ways to block scam calls on your iPhone. The first method is to change your phone settings to silence calls from unknown numbers. This directs the caller to your voicemail so that they can leave you a message instead.

You can also block individual phone numbers on your iPhone. Carriers can almost always categories incoming calls as spam, robocalls or fraud calls.

Installing a call-filtering app is another way to stop scam calls on your iPhone. These apps keep large databases of known scammers. If the app recognizes the number calling you, it will block the call or issue a warning on your incoming call screen. Let’s take a look at how each method works and which is best for you.

Silence Incoming Calls From Unknown Numbers in Your Settings

Silence Unknown Callers is a simple toggle that will automatically block unknown numbers from calling you. Your contacts and people you’ve interacted with will still be able to call you, but you won’t be bothered by incoming calls from anyone else. Turning on this feature should help cut down on the number of scam calls that you receive.

This feature isn’t enabled by default. To enable it, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down and tap Phone.
  3. Scroll down to the section titled Calls.
  4. Tap Silence Unknown Callers.
  5. Tap the Silence Unknown Callersswitch to toggle it to the green ON position.

Block Individual Phone Numbers

If you keep receiving scam calls from a specific phone number—or a few specific phone numbers—you can block that number right on your iPhone. Once you block the phone number, you won’t receive phone calls from it ever again.

Note: Scammers are aware of the block feature and bypass it by using different numbers each time they call. Blocking a number doesn’t hurt, but it won’t help the overall problem of scam calls for the long term. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Recents at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Locate the number you want to block in the All or Missed calls list.
  4. Tap the information icon (the encircled lowercase "i") to the right of the spam number.
  5. Scroll down the Caller ID screen and tap Block Caller.
  6. Tap Block Contact to confirm.

Use an App to Filter and Block Scam Calls

If you’re inundated with scam calls from different numbers on a regular basis, then consider one of the many third-party blocking solutions available from the App Store: Scam-blocking apps like Hiya and TrueCalleruse an implementation of Apple’s CallKit to identify and block suspect numbers before your phone even rings. These apps keep large, up-to-date databases of known scammers. Usually, these are numbers that other users have reported.

After installing a scam call blocker app on your iPhone, you can manage their call permissions at any time from within the Settings app, by tapping Phone and selecting Call Blocking & Identification.

What do to when you get calls from scammers

Do not answer these calls

When you get a call from likely fraudsters, your iPhone’s Caller ID will alert you. If your iPhone Caller ID says “spam” or “scam” or anything similar, do not pick up the phone. Simply turn the ringer off and ignore vibrations until the caller leaves a message.

Why not just answer and then hang up? By answering a spam call, your number may be put in line for more interference because it lets the scammers know you will engage. That makes your number more likely to be passed onto a human caller who may try to extract information from you or trick you into parting with your hard-earned cash.

In case you answer, it is not too late. Here’s what to know:

  • If you hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it is a robocall. Hung up. Do not respond to any questions, do not press any buttons.
  • If you think the call is real but you are still concerned, search for the company’s phone number on their website and call that number instead of the number provided by the robocaller.
  • Don’t give out personal information to a stranger over the phone. Even seemingly harmless pieces of information (like addresses and your date of birth) may be useful to scammers.

Register your number on the National Do Not Call registry

In the USA, you can register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are not supposed to call numbers on the list. Some other countries have their own "Do Not Call" registries, so check to see if your country offers something similar if you don’t live in the USA.

See also: Is Potential Spam Calling You? What Does That Mean?

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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
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Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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