Spam call identification and management on Samsung phones

Below is a screenshot from my Galaxy S9 phone log. I would like to gain a clearer understanding of the spam Identification process. I am not clear on which software is doing what.

Things to know:

  1. The pic is from the Samsung phone log. The phone will not use the Android dialer which I greatly prefer.
  2. There is a reference to Hiya in the pic. Isnt Hiya a 3rd party software (neither Android or samsung)?
  3. I wouldn’t swear that I have all spam settings set correctly but I do have the Republic app set to block all spam calls and voicemails. I still get 2-5 spam calls a day with most leaving voicemails.

Questions:

  1. Am I missing some settings or do I have spam filtering setup improperly? (Samsung, republic, Android)
  2. Is Hiya supposed to be part of the mix of software for filtering in my phone?
  3. Any Galaxy S9 experts or there that have perfected their setup?
  4. Anyone know of a way to use the Android dialer on the S9? My research leads me to believe it can’t be done.

As a partial answer to your inquiry, your S9 uses Smart Call spam protection. Information can be found at:

Hi @tamu_bu,

Your screenshot shows Samsung’s spam blocking built into its Phone app. Samsung’s spam blocking is powered by Hiya. Hiya is indeed also available as a standalone app. If you wish to do so, Samsung’s spam blocking may be turned off as follows:

  1. Open the Phone app
  2. Tap three dots upper right
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Toggle Caller ID and spam protection off

Samsung’s spam blocking is entirely separate from Republic’s spam blocking. I find Republic’s spam blocking greatly reduces but isn’t going to stop all spam calls. Republic might be more aggressive in identifying that which is spam but the tradeoff would be more false positives (legitimate calls blocked as spam).

If by Android dialer you mean Google’s Phone app, my experience is that it works but there’s no access to visual voicemail when using a dialer other than Samsung’s bundled app. Google’s Phone app is linked here:

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Thanks for the info. It seems that you are saying that if the Samsung spam filter is active, that it preempts the Republic spam blocking. Am I getting that right?

Hi @tamu_bu,

No, actually it would be the other way around. Republic’s spam blocking is done on the network, so if it blocked a call as spam, the call wouldn’t reach your phone.

Samsung’s spam blocking would block calls it identifies as spam once they reached your phone by diverting them to voicemail. It’s perfectly fine to use both.

So it’s it correct to say they work serially and to have both activated is not problematic?

Knowing that I experience 2-5 spam calls a day that make it to voice mail is frustrating if they are making they way through 2 filters. Especially since the most regular robot offender is Spanish speaking!

I know. It’s the nature of the robo spam world

Yes that’s correct. A call is first examined by Republic. If it doesn’t meet Republic’s spam threshold it is passed to your phone where the Samsung Phone App will check it again. No conflict.

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Why do some, but not all, of my calls show the SMART icon? Some of the calls with the icon are labeled “Suspected Spam,” but most are not.

That’s all described in the link @cbwahlstrom posted above about Samsung Smart Call.

Thanks for the link. It appears to be pretty basic though. I am curious how the Samsung learns from ongoing reported spam. For months I have received a robo call in Spanish multiple times most days that leaves a voicemail each call. The robot uses faked phone numbers.

I have dutifully reported each call but their software doesn’t seem to learn. I realize this is a republic community so I don’t expect an answer. Frankly, this call is indicative of the incredible difficulty that all software solutions have with robots and faked phone numbers. I was just hopeful that the Samsung reporting would aid it’s learning but really, it appears to be a placebo button.

And since I also have the Republic spam filter activated server side, the Republic solution isn’t catching the calls either.

But to be fair, there may be an untold number of these same call getting blocked on the way to my phone and the 2-5 a day that do may be only a percentage of those that actually target my phone number.

Samsung contracts with Hiya for spam call blocking. They aren’t going to reveal their proprietary models for call blocking, but some of the inputs are shown at:

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No, I saw nothing to explain why the occasional number has the SMART icon and others do not. Of those with the icon, some say “Suspected Spam,” and some do not.

It means that Smart Call was engaged in screening that call and either providing a name, marking as spam, etc.

I agree with your assessment. My experience is that almost every call identified with smart call and the callers name is really just a faked phone number and spam. It merely seems that hiya wasn’t confident enough to mark it directly as spam or potential fraud.

Maybe it’s just me. But I can’t think of a single time that a call was named by smart call that it really wasn’t spam. I do think that when hiya confidently labels an incoming call as spam/fraud that it doesn’t allow a voice mail to be left - but I’m not sure. I just wish it was better at understanding mocked phone numbers

It must mean that the calls identified as spam must be really poor at mocking phone numbers or using outdated spam methods!! I’ll bet my smart call id to spam ratio is 15 to 1.

Unfortunately, there’s no technical way to determine this so it all comes down to data scientists and algorithms. They’re always tuned to let calls through when there’s a doubt because no one wants their doctors office flagged as spam or blocked. Unfortunately that does mean more spam calls will get through.

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