Blocking Unwanted Text Messages and Calls on a Cellular Phone

How to Stop Harassing Calls

How to Block Incoming Cell Phone Calls - AT&T, Sprint, US Cellular, T-Mobile

At one time or another we all receive unwanted text messages and calls on our cell phones. Sometimes this is a onetime occurrence, other times it is persistent and unending and done with the intent to harass or intimidate.

The caller may be an ex-spouse or a former significant other. It could be a disgruntled employee or business associate. Perhaps it is the result of giving out your phone number the evening before after having one too many at the local watering-hole. Maybe a friend of yours gave out your number as a joke and now you are getting unwanted calls and solicitations.

Whatever the reason, you're now looking for a way to end these unwanted calls and text messages. The problem: you're not sure what to do.

One common misconception is that unwanted calls can be ended by contacting your wireless carrier and providing them with the phone number of the unwanted caller and requesting that the phone number be blocked. Unfortunately, some cell phone companies don't provide that service, leaving you with no option but to put up with unwanted calls or to change your number. Moreover, many of the cell phone companies that will block a number for you will charge you for the service.

This article walks you through the different ways you can avoid those harassing calls and messages.

Researching How to Block Messages and Calls on Cellular Phones

In order to provide the the most accurate information, I thoroughly researched this problem by reviewing each of the cellular phone provider’s website and then confirming the information with a follow up phone call to their customer service department. Some carriers were also contacted by email, when there were doubts about the accuracy of the information provided by the customer service representative.

It should be noted that some of the cellular phone carrier’s customer service centers are located and staffed outside of the United States.

Cellular Providers that Do Not Provide Any Blocking Services

These wireless cellular carriers do not offer any services, paid or free that allow their customers to stop unwanted text messages or phone calls.

  • TracFone
  • Net 10
  • Straight Talk
  • Safe Link Wireless
  • Cricket Communications
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Page Plus Cellular

Wireless Carriers That Block Unwanted Numbers for Free

How to Block a Number on Verizon Phones

Verizon appears to be the most accommodating for their wireless customers in providing ways to blocking services and options. Verizon currently provides a service known as "Verizon Safe Guards" that allows its customers to "black list" up to 5 phone numbers for a period of up to 90 days. The upshot is that should you need the service for longer than that you can renew the service again and again at no additional cost.

How to Block Text Messages and Calls on AT&T Phones

AT&T provides both paid and free services with limited options for blocking calls and text messages to their cellular customers. The free service provided by AT&T cellular allows a customer to stop all incoming text messages, not just individual phone numbers, so it's an all-or-nothing option. This free service can be initiated by calling AT&T Customer Service.

How to Block a Number on Sprint Phones

Sprint does offer limited services for their customers in this area. You can block text messages from other Sprint wireless numbers through Sprint Customer Service, though there are no options for calls or messages coming from non-Sprint customers.

Sprint also provides an all or nothing option that stops all incoming text messages, which a customer could use a last-ditch alternative.

How to Block Text Messages and Calls on Virgin Mobile

Text messages can be blocked via the Virgin Mobile website and accessing the SMS black list or by calling the customer service department.

Wireless Carriers that Offer Block Services for a Fee

How to Block Text Messages and Calls on T-Mobile Phones

For a monthly fee, T-Mobile offers a plan known as Family Allowances. This paid service is primarily designed for users to stop texts and calls from unwanted numbers. This service can also impose limits on minutes used, downloads, and text messages.

How to Block Calls and Text Messages on Verizon Phones

If the free services are not adequate, Verizon Wireless offers Usage Controls as an additional paid service. This paid service allows you to block up to 20 phone numbers for an unlimited period of time. This service also allows you to limit the number of minutes that can be used by other members on a family plan. This paid option is best suited as a parental control for cellular phone usage.

How to Block Messages and Calls on AT&T Phone

Designed as a parental control service, AT&T Wireless offers "Smart Limits" as a monthly, paid service for their cellular customers. This service provides for selective blocking of text messages, cell phone, and landline numbers.

Other Blocking Options on Your Cellular Phone

As cellular phone technology evolves, so too do the features that phones offer their users. The “brick phone” of early cellular technology offered very few enhanced user-enabled features. Today’s smart phones and iPhones, by contrast, provide everything from current weather conditions to call restriction features.

These call restriction features vary by the manufacturer of the cellular device and the specific model. If a phone is equipped with call restrictions, it is typically accessed via the phone book, where the user has the option to block phone calls and text messages from numbers that are in the user’s phone book.

When it is time to shop for a new cellular phone, call restriction may be an option to consider as a mandatory feature in a wireless device. We may be cautious about who our phone number is provided to, but one unintended mistake can cause at the very least, days of annoyance and inconvenience.

Comments 16 comments

Abecedarian profile image

Abecedarian 5 years ago from These United States, Texas

Awesome, very informative. Thanks for the heads up.

Otis 5 years ago

Tracfone might not provide blocking services but the companys overall serivce is still exceptional. At the rates i pay with tracfone i would not expect them to block calls for me also. Tracfone's rates are really really really low. Tracfone's reception is really reall really good.

Linda 5 years ago

I can block numbers with my straight talk phone.

tablesaw1 5 years ago Author

I would like to know if Linda can block phones numbers with Straight Talk as a service provided by Straight Talk or if the phone numbers are blocked using features that are unique to the phone itself.

Thanks to Linda for the comment and additional information.

JimBo 5 years ago

TracFone will not block any calls that are not from TracFone; as noted in a recent email to my similar question........

"Moreover, any unwanted messages or calls that are not from TracFone Wireless cannot be blocked. To further protect yourself from unsolicited calls, please visit the FTC's Do Not Call Registry website: "

Jim 5 years ago

Abecedarian, TracFone's rates are not really really low as you suggest and I DO expect them to provide the same services that every other company is providing. What makes them think that they can provide me with inferior service just to keep the profit margins higher?

amber 4 years ago

i blocked numbers but they can still text how do i stop that and what does it say when the person who is blocked calls

checked the facts 4 years ago

i blocked calls on my tracfone, so hmm don't know where you got your info but with tracfone you can block any unwanted caller

Linda B 4 years ago

Your information about blocking calls through Sprint is incorrect - You can block phone numbers and texts with Sprint, but you have to block both inbound and outbound calls/texts through their website and you have to have an online account.

Maria 4 years ago

I have a block feature on my straighttalk phone in the message management menu . I just used it. I'll let you know if it works.

prophetess42 4 years ago

i would like to block my phone number and incoming text frm my page plus phone any suggestions without changing my number.

Gloria 22 months ago

It works good

Barbara 22 months ago

Anyone knows how to block phone number threw straight talk & boost mobile

Ashley 21 months ago

You CAN block text messages with Boost and Straight talk. You just text 9999 and type Block and then type the phone number with no spaces (with area code) you will receive a message back saying you will no longer receive text messages from this number. When you want to unblock. You just text 9999 and type Unblock and then the phone number. :)

Missyc 2 months ago

The 9999 didn't work

Jim C 4 weeks ago

Tracfones are not that much cheaper ? LOL Tell that to those idiots still paying 45-140 bucks a month !

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