Voice of the consumer: Be your own judge of apps that block unwanted calls

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette, but is currently on maternity leave spending time with her first child! Along with columns penned in advance of her leave, you'll hear from guest writers, including KKTV’s Don Ward and Dianne Derby and a familiar voice for readers, retired KKTV anchor Betty Sexton. Up this week, "What's Trending" anchor Tony Keith.

Previous columns can be found here.

You won a free vacation!

Not so fast. You’ve added your number to the Do Not Call Registry, but you still keep receiving those annoying robocalls. Maybe you’ve contacted your phone provider and requested certain numbers be blocked. The unwanted calls still keep coming.

Experts recommend a number of apps to regain control of your incoming calls. Why should you listen to the experts when you can take a closer look at what other people just like you are saying? If you have a smartphone, you have the power to do your research.

The FTC has pointed to a few call-blocking apps. I took a look at a couple and want to share what I found. Starting with one of the “free” apps.

YouMail Robocall Blocker & Voicemail has been downloaded more than 1 million times by Android users. For Apple users, the YouMail: Voicemail Upgrade app from the same developer has more than 16,000 ratings. The apps are free, popular, and the company claims YouMail has stopped nearly 1 billion calls to date. It can also replace your visual voicemail with a digital receptionist. A major highlight to the app is forcing unknown callers to reveal their number to leave you messages. YouMail states the app can identify more than 100,000 bad phone numbers at any time and will block them immediately. Thousands of reviews from customers highly recommend the app on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Remember, what is advertised as free might not always be free by your definition!

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