Spam calls have become a regular occurrence in most of our lives. Despite increased public awareness and new technologies being implemented to combat unsolicited calls, spam calls are at an all time high. Although it can feel helpless at times, there are some easy ways you can reduce or even eliminate spam calls from your life.

1) Add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call Registry was created as a way to tell legal telemarketers that you do not wish to be cold-called. In fact, it is illegal for them to continue to call you when your number is on the list. While getting on this list won't protect you from spammers outside of the United States, it will reduce the number of unwanted calls from legitimate sources that you receive. You should also report violators here and here.

2) Don't pick up the phone if you don't recognize the number

This is perhaps a little bit less obvious, but avoiding picking up the phone for numbers you don't recognize is one of the best things you can do to reduce the number of spam calls you get. While it may feel good to waste the spammers' time, the vast majority of calls you receive are either robocalls or call centres calling large blocks of phone numbers with no idea which of the numbers are actually active. By picking up the phone (and even more so by responding to the caller) you confirm to them that your number is active and that you will pick up. These information will then be sold and distributed and a flood of spam calls will come in.

3) Use a spam call blocking app

There are many great and highly rated apps for blocking spam calls. These apps generally maintain databases with hundreds of thousands of known spammers and automatically prevent from from ringing your phone. Not all apps are created equally though, and some of the largest call blockers require you to forward your calls to them where they can be tracked and recorded, meaning they're just one data breach away from your private calls being leaked. Using a call blocker like RoboGuard (7-day free trial, then $29.99/year) which works directly on your phone is will keep you protected from spam calls without compromising your privacy.

4) Don't give out your phone number unnecessarily

This one probably doesn't need very much explanation; if you don't trust the business or website, don't give them your phone number. Spammers will often offer you something like access to some information or a website in exchange for personal information like your email address or phone number. While you may receive what they promised, you can be sure they're going to turn around and sell your phone number immediately and you'll be inundated with spam calls afterwards.

5) Don't give out personal information over the phone

This particularly applies if you're on the phone with someone you don't know and trust. If someone has called you and requests some information from you even under seemingly innocent circumstances (surveys, census, etc.), politely decline to share the information. Scammers can use the information you provide to direct more personalized scams your way to increase the chances that you'll fall for it.