Who Is “Potential Spam,” Why Do They Call? How To Block Them? All Questions Answered

Corporate 8 Mins Read
published on: 24 November 2023 last updated on: 14 May 2024

The phone is ringing. 

You got out of the shower and rushed to the living room to check who was calling. You hunched over the phone placed on the table and looked at the screen. 

It reads “potential spam!” 

How annoying must that be? If you have experienced this, I know where you are coming from. 

But, no more of such nonsense. Let’s fix it once and for all. It’s spam. Do you know what does potential spam means? Read this article to learn what “potential spam” calls are and how to block them. 

What does potential spam mean? What Does A “Potential Spam” Call Look Like?

If you are a Verizon customer, then you may have experienced a few calls flagged as “Potential Spam.” Yes, these calls are annoying, and they appear as “Potential Spam,” but they are not outright blocked calls. 

May be all you are thinking now is what does potential spam mean? You are on the right page. I will explain what potential spam is.  

Whenever the tag of “potential spam” is visible on your phone, it means some fraudster is calling you. 

But it’s not that simple.  

The scam number directory is a database developed based on multiple inputs. These are: 

  • When you complain or register a number as fraud on your phone 
  • Miscellaneous surveys conducted by your service provider to detect suspicious connections 
  • When the police or cyber security department reports a number as potential fraud 

In some cases, they call you from flagged numbers. Even mobile operators cannot detect some of the flagged numbers.  

Now you know what does potential spam mean. 

All service providers registered in the USA have access to this common directory of scamming numbers. However, they use their own algorithms to decide if a contact is potential fraud or not.  

For instance, Verizon has a machine learning algorithm to detect the level of fraud reporting against a number. If there are many cases reported against the number, it is labelled as “potential spam”.  

Other service providers also use the same metadata to identify the details of the caller, origin of the call and other information.  

Spam tags of different service providers: 

Depending on the level of fraud reported against the caller and the service provider, the label tag may vary.  

  • The “scam likely” tag is used by T-Mobile. It’s a sign that your caller can be a potential fraudster. 
  • AT&T customers see a tag called “Spam Risk”, which alerts them against potential fraudsters trying to call them 
  • Many users spoof the number and make it look like a local mobile number. T Mobile can detect most of these numbers also. The label reads: “neighborhood spoofing” 
  • There are some apps in the Apple store to detect tele markers, political calls or survey calls. Many people report them as potential fraud too.  

These are calls from caller IDs that read as “Potential Spam,” and sometimes, these calls also include the location where it is coming from. However, this feature does not come as an inbuilt feature in your phone. Instead, providers like Verizon give you notifications for calls that might be potentially spam. 

“Potential Spam Call”: What Does it Mean?

So, Verizon has a call screening system that often flags some incoming calls as nefarious. No, these calls are not outright spammy or risky. But they are not completely trustworthy either. That is why call screening systems like that of Verizon flag them as spam calls. 

These phone numbers are usually specific numbers that are often found in the list of some scam numbers. A number can also be verified as a potential scam if the call carrier is unable to identify the call. 

How Does Verizon Identify A Potential Scam? 

Verizon, and probably other different phone and internet service providers, use machine learning in today’s time. The use of machine learning allows Verizon and these network providers to use machine learning to identify calls they need to identify as spam. 

The metadata utilizes behavioral analytics to generate details regarding the call type location it is coming from. The algorithm can flag suspicious calls as spam, and Verizon can display potential spam on the caller ID. 

Why should I be worried? 

Spam calls are one of the most means of committing potential fraud. Now that you know what does potential spam mean, you should worry about how to avoid it. Fraudsters may call you impersonating your bank PR or offering financial services. They convince you to share sensitive personal data. It might lead to big individual financial frauds. 

In the US, phone scams accounted for scams worth $19 billion in 2020 only. 

Most scammers use the number generator technology or get access to the list of leaked numbers. We frequently share our contact details at many points of contact. Maybe you gave your number to a surveyor outside your local mall some days back. 

You never know what they would do with your phone number. So, there are many ways through which your number may get leaked.  

Can I stop potential spam calls? 

Verizone allows you to stop potential spam calls before it rings. Your phone may also have certain features to block suspected spam.  

When your service provider flags a caller as potential spam, the spam protection feature of your phone instantly disconnects the call.  

What Are Some Similar Warning Labels Like Potential Scams?

You can see the notification reading “Potential Scam” if you are using Verizon. But, depending on the phone carrier and the call, the label might vary. Here are a few examples of calls like these –

  • Scam or Spam Likely – T-mobile carrier users can see a Scam Likely notification during an incoming from a scammer. 
  • Spam Risk: are you an AT&T customer? In that case, you will see a Scam Likely label attached to the scammer’s call. You may not see a Potential Scam label here. 
  • Potential Fraud: the fraud algorithm of Sprint shows a Potential Fraud label attached to the scammers’ call. 
  • Neighborhood Spoofing: T-mobile

Did You Answer A Spam Call? What Could Go Wrong?

So, it showed potential spam on the screen, and you picked it up? What now? You can start by hanging up the phone immediately. Potential spam calls can be scams for real. There is a chance for the unexpected to happen if you are receiving spam calls. Here is what can happen –

  • You can fall prey to identity theft. 
  • Your bank account may get hacked, and you can lose your money. 
  • There is a chance for your phone bill to hilariously skyrocket. 
  • You can also get even more spam calls. 
  • Your phone number can be no longer private, and they can hijack it.

“I Answered A Potential Spam Call,” What’s Next? 

Suppose you did not skip the section before; you already know what could go wrong. But how do you do damage control? How to secure yourself after answering a spam call? Here are a few things experts suggest –

  • Secure all of your account information. If needed, change the passwords and use 2-factor verification for your account. 
  • Spam calls don’t stop once they start. If you have already gotten one, remember to avoid all the calls that follow.
  • Freeze the credit report if you want to stop hackers from accessing them. You should stop your credit card to stop scammers from accessing your information. You must submit a freeze request to three of the credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian).
  • If, by mistake, you have sent your money to the scammer, you must call the bank to report that it was a fraudulent transaction. 
  • Ensure to monitor your online accounts for any signs of fraudulent activities. This way you have a chance to get your money back from them. 
  • Do not disclose your number to everyone. Make your number available only to people who must access it and minimize the chance of fraudsters from accessing it. You can add the number to the National Call Registry and have it removed from all the brokers. We also suggest removing your phone number from all the social media platforms. 

How To Block Potential Spam Calls On Your Phone 

Neither your phone nor the network carrier has a solution for blocking all the spam calls. You can do it manually for each of the calls you get. 

Or you can use automated third-party software to block these calls. Here are a few methods you can follow –

Use AI Spam Call Blockers

  • You can use AI blockers against the numbers. These blockers can verify incoming calls and block potential scammers. 
  • It screens unknown callers for you. The tool will automatically hang up the unknown and potentially spam calls for you. 
  • The automated AI blockers also block the calls on your behalf. It can detect dangerous links sent to you over text messages. 

Block Individual Spam Numbers

This is the most common method most people usually use. If you do not get too many spam calls, there is no need to use a third-party tool. Instead, we suggest doing it manually. You can report it to your network provider and let them know about it being a spam number. 

Here Is How You Should Do It

  • Run the Phone/Call app on your phone. 
  • Identify the Potential Spam number. 
  • Then tap and Hold on to it. 
  • Choose the Block option from the menu.
  • Now, you have blocked the number successfully. 

Block Spam Numbers On Your iPhone –

  • Open your Phone app and click on Recents.
  • Look for the spam number, then tap on the “circled i” symbol on the right side.
  • Scroll down, and click on Block this Caller.

Use Spam Blocking Tools Provided By Your Carrier

Here are popular call filters and tools provided by some of the most famous network providers in the US. you can use them to block the potential spam calls on your device –

  • AT & T active armors. 
  • Verizon Call Filter. 
  • T-Mobile Scam Shield

They come with different sets of features beneficial for you to block calls. 

Bottom Line

Potential Spam calls and other fraudulent phone call activities are common in America. In fact, they are growing stronger and spreading across the world. There are many people out there who don’t know what does potential spam mean. So, as a user, you must stay cautious and block these calls. If you read this article, you know how to block these calls.

Hopefully, the answer you were looking for was here in this article. Please let us know if you have any queries related to the same. Thank you for reading.

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tags

cyber security fraud online protection scams spam filter

Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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