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I do my best to avoid ever speaking on to people on the phone, and like most people, I am inundated with spam callers. This varies from robocalls, insurance calls and even Google and their persistent AdWords account calls.

It is not uncommon for me to just flat-out ignore any number I don’t recognise, but there is always a little bit of anxiety each time I get a call, wondering who it is or what they want. I use Android blacklists to block AdWords or other frequent numbers, but then I still get notifications about missed calls.

This is where tellows (spelt with a lower t for some reason) comes in. You have probably used them before when Googling a number you are not familiar with. They are one of, if not the biggest database and user reporting services for phones numbers and spam.  With the help of user feedback, tellows generates trust ratings for phone numbers and allows users to comment about particular numbers.

The tellows app in the Play store brings all the information to your phone and helps you identify and block calls as they come in. When you install the app and provide it with the appropriate permissions, it will display the nature of the incoming call via live sync to the tellows servers, and you can decide whether to answer the phone or ignore the call. If the calling phone number has an official entry on tellows additional information like name and address will be shown. You may add these details to your contacts with one click. Furthermore, you can rate numbers, comment on them and warn your fellow tellows users against potential dangers.

These features are completely free, but they also have a premium service which incurs a £4.59 a year fee. In the premium version, you are able to block calls as they are identified based on their spam score. If you don’t have internet access, you are still protected thanks to a local database of dangerous numbers being stored on your phone. You can then also build up a personal blacklist that contains all the numbers you rate negatively.

During my use of the app, it works well, you can bring up all the caller history and view the scores for each number, then rate and comment on each number.

On the occasion I do get a phone call, the app uses an overlay to display the rating and details of each call, which doesn’t completely avoid my getting anxious about receiving a call, but at least helps me decide if I am going to accept it.

Within the app you can do direct searches of the database too, so you can double check any number you might be calling back, or have received from somewhere other than your mobile.

If a number is well known there usually are plenty of comments which indicate precisely who it is from and what they want. This can be useful for identifying valid calls too, I recently had a direct line call which I would typically ignore, but as I had recently taken out insurance by them, so I followed the call-up.

Overall, the app works well, the only criticism is that it looks very dated, but functionally it is easy to use and works well.

You can read more about the App on the tellows website

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