What Does 'Scam Likely' Mean? (What to Do When You See This on Your Phone)

Scam Likely calls are actually protecting you from telephone scammers

Scam Likely is a feature enabled by cellular carriers that automatically detects suspicious callers and labels them, as the name suggests, as Scam Likely. The Scam Likely label replaces the caller’s phone number or Unknown Caller label and appears both when a call is incoming and within the call history screen on iPhone and Android smartphones.

T-Mobile and MetroPCS are both known to use Scam Likely features to help protect their users from scams and some robocalls.

What Is ‘Scam Likely’?

Scam Likely isn’t itself a scam. It’s a label given to phone numbers found in a list of potential suspicious callers used by your cellular carrier. The feature is simply used to make identifying scam phone calls easier for consumers. It can sometimes be casually referred to as Scam Likely en español: posible estafa.

A cartoon drawing of a man holding a smartphone with a red alert popping out of it.
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How Does the ‘Scam Likely’ Feature Work?

When a caller attempts to call your smartphone, your cellular provider will check the phone number against all of the entries in its database of proven and suspected scammers. If a match is made, the Scam Likely name will be given to the caller.

It is possible that innocent callers may be mistakenly labelled as a Scam Likely call but this would be very unusual and isn’t known to be a common occurrence.

Scam Likely iPhone and Android phone calls can be managed in exactly the same way as regular phone calls. You can answer them if you like, send them to voicemail, or reject them.

How Do the ‘Scam Likely’ Scammers Find Victims?

Scammers who have their calls labelled as Scam Likely usually collect phone numbers from phone books, online account databases, or by scouring websites for user account information. Advanced scam operations can also create fake websites or online competitions which are designed to trick you into entering your phone number and other personal information.

How Do I Avoid Getting Involved in This Scam?

If you’re wondering how to stop Scam Likely numbers from calling you, it’s important to remember that the majority of these calls you’re getting are likely from many different scammers with no connection to one another. It is possible to disable the Scam Likely feature on your Android smartphone or iPhone by contacting your carrier directly but this won’t actually stop the scammers from calling you. You’ll simply see their phone numbers or the Unknown Caller label if their number is private.

The better strategy for completely hiding Scam Likely phone calls is to turn on the blocking feature which will prevent all Scam Likely calls from reaching your handset. Once enabled, any call from a caller that’s been labelled as a scammer and given the Scam Likely ID by your carrier will be stopped before it gets to you. Your phone won’t ring and they won’t be able to leave you a voicemail or message.

The method for how to block Scam Likely calls can vary depending on your smartphone model and cellular carrier but it can generally be activated by contacting your carrier’s customer support or by visiting a branch and speaking to a customer representative.

If you use T-Mobile, you can turn on Scam Likely call blocks, referred to as Scam Block at T-Mobile, by dialing #662# on iPhone or Android. You can also check if Scam Block is enabled by dialing #787# or disable the blocking function by calling #632#.

AT&T users can manage scam calls by downloading the free AT&T Call Protect app on iPhone or Android.

I’m Already a Victim. What Should I Do?

If you’re getting Scam Likely calls on your iPhone or Android smartphone, that’s actually a good thing as it means that the feature is working. Remember, Scam Likely isn’t a scam. It’s a feature that labels suspicious phone calls so that you know which ones to avoid and which ones to answer.

When you find yourself getting a high volume of Scam Likely calls each day, though, it can be overwhelming and you may want to block all of them via the method mentioned above. It can also be worth experimenting with other iOS and Android block options to protect yourself from scammers who slip through the Scam Likely filter.

If you've fallen victim to a particular scam call that you've answered, there are several things that you may need to do to protect yourself and you may also want to file a scam report.

How Do I Avoid Being Targeted for a ‘Scam Likely’ Scam?

The most-effective way to decrease the number of Scam Likely calls you get on your mobile phone is to expose your phone number to as few companies and individuals as possible.

Here are some tips for avoiding phone call scams:

  • Use the Do Not Call Registry: Add your number to the U.S. Do Not Call Registry. This will prevent legitimate companies from calling you for marketing purposes.
  • Stop posting your number online: Bots created by scammers frequently scan social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for numbers to add to their databases.
  • Check your privacy settings: Adding your phone number to your Facebook or Instagram account can increase your account security but make sure that it isn’t shown to the public on your profile.
  • Don’t answer or call back Scam Likely calls: It may feel good to answer that scammer’s call and give them a piece of your mind but doing so will let them know that your number is real and can result in even more Scam Likely calls being sent your way.
  • Don’t reply to spammy texts: As with answering Scam Likely calls, replying to an SMS scam will also let the people or bot on the other end know that your number works and is worth spamming with more texts. Block and delete. Don’t even text STOP if asked as this can also be used by scammers to confirm that your number is working.
  • Stop entering dodgy online competitions: A lot of these online contests are simply traps for collecting your personal information. Only enter competitions directly from websites you trust and don’t click on any more flashy banner ads promising cash or holidays.