Is Potential Spam Calling You? What Does That Mean?

Learn what Potential Spam calls mean and what you can do to avoid them on iPhone

By Kevin Shaw - Editor
3 Min Read

While you’re probably used to your phone’s caller ID, contact name or number letting you know who’s calling, you may instead get calls saying, “Potential Spam” in the caller ID section of your call screen. Who is “Potential Spam,” why are you seeing this, what does this call mean, and how can you block these “Potential Spam” calls on iPhone?

Let’s look at what “Potential Spam” calls are so you can understand this function.

What does Potential Spam mean on iPhone?

"Potential Spam" is a warning that the incoming call could be a robocall, spam or fraudulent. Verizon will attempt to identify scams, telemarketing or robocalls as unwanted calls and thus, incoming calls from these numbers will show this notification telling you to be careful if you answer this call.

Verizon has this turned on for everyone by default, which is why you can see this message appear without changing any settings.

Your carrier may label calls from certain numbers as Potential Spam. Other carriers may also mark similar calls as Spam Risk, Fraud, or Scam Likely.

Is it bad to answer potential spam calls?

There’s a chance that you’ll see "Potential Spam" appear on your iPhone for a legitimate call, since no automatic filter is perfect. However, we recommend taking extreme caution if you choose to answer a call with this label. Chances are that almost all "Potential Spam" calls are indeed trying to deceive you. If you pick one up, do not provide any personal information, and assume that the person on the other end is lying to you.

When in doubt, ignore calls from unknown numbers. A genuine person whose number you don’t have will leave a message if their reason for calling is important. And if you’re ever on a call that makes you feel uncomfortable, just hang up. It’s not worth the potential of falling for a scam, especially since spam callers frequently use tactics to make you act without thinking it through.

It’s also best to ignore calls, as picking up (for whatever reason) tells the spam caller that your number is active.

What happens if you answer a potential spam call?

You’ll receive even more spam calls. If you unknowingly answer a spam call and engage with spammers, they know that your phone number is active and that you’re willing to talk. As a result, they might target you with even more scam calls in attempts to defraud you.

What you should do if you get a Potential Spam call

  • The first thing is not to answer it. Callers with anything important to say will likely leave a message anyway. Sadly, this won’t work for people with businesses or interests that involve a lot of calls from unknown numbers.
  • If you get these calls from a certain number often, simply block the number. On your iPhone, open the Phone app and tap Recents to see everyone who’s called you. Tap the i icon next to a spam number to open its contact page, then scroll down and tap Block this caller to prevent it from calling you again.
  • You can turn on Silence Unknown Callers. Open Settings, Phone, and scroll down to tap Silence Unknown Callers. When you toggle this feature on, it automatically silences calls from numbers not saved in your contacts. They can still leave a voicemail, and the calls will appear in your recent calls list. Although Silence Unknown Callers feature will block spam calls, we recommend only enabling it if you get a lot of spam, as you might miss important calls.
  • Turn on Silence Junk Callers. This is a Verizon feature. You won’t see the option in Settings if you are using other carriers. Since “Potential Spam” is a Verizon notice, you can turn this on. This is probably enabled by default. But ensure that it is turned on. Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification and turn on the switch for Silence Junk Callers. Again if you receive calls from questionable sources, they will be silenced and displayed in your recent calls list.
  • Turn on Business Connect ID. When you enable this, the company name will be displayed, allowing you to filter calls based on the business name. This is again available by going to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification. Toggle the switch on next to Business Connect ID.

How to stop potential spam calls on iPhone

The best way to stop “Potential Spam” calls on iPhone is to protect your mobile number.

If you haven’t done so already, you should register your numbers on the national Do Not Call list at no cost by calling 1-888-382-1222 (voice) or 1-866-290-4236 (TTY). You must call from the phone number you wish to register. You can also register at While this doesn’t stop all calls, it filters out annoying telemarketing and similar junk. But as you’d guess, spammers and scammers don’t tend to abide by the rules.

Otherwise, you should also be careful where you give out your number. Nearly every online promotion, account, and other service will ask for your phone number these days. In some cases, the companies are allowed to share your number with affiliates for marketing purposes, which is obviously not something you want.

“Potential Spam” No Longer!

We’ve taken a look at what “Potential Spam” calls are, what you can do about them, and how to block “Potential Spam” calls. In summary, this is a helpful warning from Verizon as it and other mobile carriers upgrade their networks to fight phony calls. You can take further steps to block these calls if you receive them often, and you shouldn’t need to pay anything to do so.

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By Kevin Shaw Editor
Kevin Shaw is a seasoned tech journalist based in Los Angeles with a penchant for all things Apple. He started writing about Apple products in 2007 and it's been a love affair ever since. He has spent over a decade testing and writing about iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products. In his spare time, he likes nothing more than catching up with the latest news and sports podcasts on the beach.
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