How to fight spam calls with a fake phone number


Firewall has a new method to end call rounds.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

How often does your phone ring a day with a call from a number you don't recognize? Imagine if all the calls you receive come from people you actually know and not from bots or strangers who are trying to sell you something.Firewalles a new iPhone application (which also comes to Android) to scan and block incoming calls to your phone, and also provides you with fake phone numbers that you can use when you call back. I have used the app for a few days, and my phone has not received spam callsand I'm happy.

Spam calls are annoying and often lead to fraudulent actions that want to get your money, make you sign up for a service you don't want and extract information that can be used to let you down.

The Federal Communications Commission(FCC, for its acronym in English) approved a proposal that gives telephone operators more power to block call rounds. For its part, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also fighting a battle against spam calls and fraud. Even Apple is doing its part by adding an option to iOS 13 to block all unknown calls.

Firewall differs from the functions that will arrive with iOS 13 in that it uses a database to completely block calls, without sending them to the voice mailbox. You pay US $ 4 per month for the Firewall service and for an unlimited number of fake numbers that appear on the Caller ID if you make a call.

To use Firewall, you need to perform some steps to configure the app. There are also some things you should keep in mind. Then we tell you everything.

Keep the following in mind

Firewall works like a server's firewall by blocking calls so they never reach your phone, instead of alerting you when an incoming call may be spam (the latter is what call identification apps usually do). Therefore, Firewall does not take the typical approach to block unwanted calls. Because of this, you should consider the following:

  • Unlike apps like Hiyaque that are integrated directly into the iPhone's phone application, Firewall replaces it.
  • You will have to redirect all incoming calls through the Firewall service.
  • All incoming calls, in turn, are routed through the Firewall app.
  • The service costs US $ 3.99 per month after a free trial period of 14 days.
  • The app is compatible with the four major telephone operators in the United States: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

The configuration takes a couple of minutes.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

How to configure Firewall

After installing Firewall and subscribing to the free 14-day trial period, you will have to configure the call transfer. The app guides you through the process, which includes entering your phone number, a verification code and transferring incoming calls to the service.

Finally, you will give access to the application so that you can access your contacts and you will have to enter your voicemail greeting (a message for spam suspects and another for your contacts). The process takes a few minutes.

You can control how aggressive you want it to be Firewall.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Decide how aggressive you want it to be Firewall

By default, Firewall only allows calls from numbers that come from numbers stored in your Contacts app. All other calls are blocked or are directed directly to your Firewall voice mailbox.

You can add numbers to the app's secure contact list by selecting the tab Whitelist, then Add to Whitelist. Enter the name and number of the contact and then tap Add. In the future, every time you receive a call from that number, your phone will ring.

It's more, you can select Settings (Configuration), followed by Allow Calls From (Allow calls from) to exchange between Whitelist, All callers (All calls) or Nobody (No one).

You can pause Firewall.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Pause Firewall

If you are waiting for a call from someone who is not on your secure contact list, you can pause Firewall for 10, 30 or 60 minutes. Pausing the service will allow all calls to arrive in that period of time.

Go to Settings (Settings), then tap Pause Firewall and select the amount of time you want to pause it.

One of the best features of Firewall is that it gives you a fake phone number.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use a false number for outgoing calls

Another function that distinguishes Firewall is the ability to make calls from a randomly generated number. Use this function every time you don't want your real number to appear in the caller ID, or if you receive a call that you suspect is spam but may be legitimate.

It is easy to use, too. Open the Firewall Call tab, dial the number and tap the red call button. You will be asked if you want to use a temporary number or use your real number.

The best thing about all this is that if someone tries to call you to that false number, you will never find out because your phone is not going to ring.