Not all robocalls are bad. In fact, about half of them are important. Those are the automated phone calls from doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and schools with important information you want to hear. The other half of robocalls are the ones we want to be blocked.

Despite efforts by cellular companies, phone makers, and the FCC, robocalls are still a daily annoyance. According to the latest Robo Call Index, Americans, on average, received more than 12 Robocalls during the month of September.

You can find smartphone apps that intercept and block calls from “Bad Numbers”. One of those apps is YouMail.

YouMail is a free app and service that blocks robocalls from ringing the phone by checking the number to see if it’s included in a library of over a million “Bad numbers” known to be from scammers and telemarketers.

Normally, unanswered calls stay on your cellular provider’s servers. With YouMail installed and authorized, the calls are re-routed to YouMail servers and the bad number callers hear a recorded message that sounds as if it’s coming from the phone company. The recordings with
three tones followed by “I’m sorry, this number is not in service”.

Robo-call software that hears that tone and message might not share that number with other companies making the robocalls.

If the number is not in the bad number library, the caller will hear your primary voicemail greeting. You can also record a second voicemail greeting that will be played for callers in your
contacts list.

The voicemail they leave can be reviewed later, and it’s transcribed, emailed, or texted to you.

The free version does all of this but has ads. There are subscription plans for personal and business use that give you the option to create new phone numbers for calls and texting.

Since the app requires contacting your cell company to get authorization to intercept your calls some users report that setup can be complicated, but it does work.