Spam calls

Here is how you can stop spam calls from your device. Image: Stock images.

Explainer: Here is how to stop spam calls from your phone

Reports show that South Africans received an average of 13 spam calls a month. Here’s how you can stop or prevent spam calls from your phone.

Spam calls

Here is how you can stop spam calls from your device. Image: Stock images.

South Africans can take several measures to minimize the amount of spam calls and unsolicited marketing they are regularly bombarded with.

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Spam calls in South Africa

In 2021, Truecaller’s Global Spam & Scam Report found that South Africa had the 9th-highest rate of spam calls in the world. That was a massive jump from 17th place in 2020.

The popular call-screening app found that South Africans received an average of 13.2 monthly spam calls per user.

Spam calls
Truecaller is a cellphone app that helps to identify spam calls. Image: iStock images.

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Recruitment firm Pnet recently revealed that one of the most in-demand jobs in South Africa was telemarketing, an indication that South Africans shouldn’t expect a miraculous drop in such calls without drastic intervention.

direct marketing is defined as any of the following:

  • A form of either personal or electronic communication;
  • To promote any goods or services, or;
  • Requesting a consumer to donate something.

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How can they be prevented?

The first way to avoid spam calls and other unsolicited marketing is to read the fine print thoroughly whenever your personally identifiable information is being captured.

While most of us have the habit of simply signing off on agreements as they can be long and arduous to read through, you might unknowingly be granting permission to use your information for direct marketing.

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The National Opt-out Register

The Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA) is one entity representing telemarketers that is trying to do things by the book.

The organization offers a National Opt-Out Register that lets you submit your personal details online. Doing so will inform DMASA members that you must not receive spam calls for marketing-related communication.

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Avoid loyalty programmes and free public Wi-Fi

Loyalty programmes and free public Wi-Fi networks might appear to be a form of charity or goodwill from the company providing it, but this is far from the truth.

Both are actually big data-gathering mechanisms that can help companies learn more about their customers and their habits for advertising purposes.

Often, using free public Wi-Fi networks is not possible without opting in for spam calls and providing your contact details.

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Apps a day to keep spammers at bay

There are several call-screening apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. As mentioned earlier, one of the most popular options is Truecaller.

These rely on their own extensive databases, often built from user submissions, to put a name to a number that’s not in your phone book and note spam calls.

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