What is Spam Risk? How phones detect potential spam

Anton P. | January 06, 2023

Why does Spam Risk keep calling me, and what is it? A Spam Risk or Scam Likely message appears if your mobile carrier determines an incoming call as unsafe. 

Such calls might come from scammers or telemarketers. Thus, they can be repetitive: the unknown callers can try reaching you daily. 

If you were to pick up such calls, you might encounter representatives selling various goods. However, it could also be that the unknown number calling will try to persuade you to reveal personal information. 

You can ignore the call if your mobile carrier shows a Spam Risk alert instead of the number. Taking other precautions is also possible, like learning how to stop getting spam calls in the future. 

What is Spam Risk? How phones detect potential spam

What is Spam Risk? 

A Spam Risk or Scam Likely label appears when your mobile carrier determines the phone number as suspicious. Its purpose is to deter people from answering the phone. 

So, it stops scammers from getting the chance to use social engineering against their targets. After all, TrueCaller 2022 statistics show that $39.5 billion was lost due to phone scams in the United States. 

In other cases, it indicates that the call is not essential, and users can let it go to voicemail.  

The Spam Risk message is common if you live in the United States. Essentially, voice service companies manage databases of information likely belonging to scammers and telemarketers. 

Thus, whenever such unknown numbers initiate calls, users see warnings that they are unwanted or even deceptive. 

Privacy is a BIG DEAL!


How do phones know when to show the Spam Risk label? 

Machine learning facilitates databases used for Spam Risk messages. Mobile carriers employ algorithms that predict whether a phone number might be suspicious. 

One of the main reasons for the Spam Risk label is the information retrieved through call detail records. Each call creates a particular trail consisting of metadata like the caller, recipient, call duration, etc. 

For instance, machine learning likely deems phone numbers making thousands of calls per day suspicious. 

Another way for mobile carriers to discover deceptive callers is through users’ reports. Most smartphones have options for reporting spam calls. 

Should you answer Spam Risk calls? 

If you keep getting Spam Risk calls, the best option is not to answer them. If you do, you will likely engage in a robocall or communicate with telemarketers or scammers. First Orion highlights multiple scam call trends:

  • Get-rich-quick scams. 
  • Medical emergencies. 
  • Issues with vehicle warranties. 
  • Problems with student loans. 
  • Tax return scams. 
  • Banking scams. 
  • Retail cons (issues with shipments or orders). 

So, if you notice Spam Risk as the caller, ignore such calls. 

What happens if you answer Spam Risk calls? 

The Spam Risk call might convince you to give away personal information or make transactions. However, you do some damage by merely answering the phone to spam calls. 

  • Scammers will see your phone number as a potential target. Answering an unknown caller indicates that the phone number is active, and its owners might respond to unknown calls. 
  • An overseas call might actually charge you for the call. Fraudsters can mask a foreign number to make it seem local. 
  • Scammers might record your voice and answers. They could play recorded messages as confirmation to banks or other service providers. 

So, there is no reason to answer a Spam Risk call. Of course, call screening algorithms are prone to mistakes. Thus, you might see a regular phone number as the caller. The general rule might be not to answer unsolicited calls at all. 

You can search the phone number online and see whether other people have complained about receiving unwanted calls. 

How to prevent Spam Risk calls 

You might want to stop calls marked as Spam Risk from reaching your phone. You can do this via your settings on Android and iPhone. 

How to block Spam Risk calls on iPhone

iPhone has a Silence Unknown Callers feature that blocks all incoming calls from unknown numbers. So, all such calls go straight to voicemail. 

The downside is Silence Unknown Callers blocks all calls from numbers outside your contact list. But you will be able to see them on your call history. 

Here is how you can enable Silence Unknown Callers: 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Phone
  3. Toggle the setting for Silence Unknown Callers
  4. Only calls from your contacts, recent outgoing calls, and Siri suggestions will ring. 

How to block Spam Risk calls on Android 

Android has a Caller ID and spam protection feature. It is active by default, but you can improve it more. 

  1. Your default phone app should be Phone by Google. 
  2. Open Phone by Google and tap on the three-dot icon. 
  3. Open Spam and Call Screen
  4. Find See caller & spam ID
  5. Enable the Filter spam calls feature. 

How to recognize a spam call 

Despite efforts like Spam Risk, financial losses from spam calls continue to increase. Also, follow tips to stop spam emails as well.

Follow these tips to determine whether the person on the other end of the line is trustworthy: 

  • It is best to enable spam protection to receive fewer calls from potential scammers. 
  • Report and block numbers that you suspect of implementing phishing strategies. 
  • Never answer a call marked as Spam Risk and let it go to voicemail instead. 
  • Learn about the most common phishing strategies to recognize deception immediately. 
  • Never give away personal information over the phone or email. 
  • Double-check claims by contacting service providers directly through their official numbers.
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Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.



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