(Credit: Lance Whitney)

You answer your phone even though the call is coming from an unknown number. Damn, it's yet another annoying robocaller or spammer. If only you had known. Well, if you're a T-Mobile customer, you now have yet another tool in your arsenal against these calls.

SEE: The definitive guide to stopping robocalls on your mobile phone

T-Mobile's robocaller-blocking Name ID app has been updated for Android and launched as a new app for the iPhone, the carrier has announced. Name ID offers several features designed to automatically shield you from robocalls and known spam numbers. The app gives you the ability to block individual numbers, run a reverse lookup on a number, and send entire categories of robocalls to voicemail.

The number of robocalls in the US has exploded, hitting around 5.1 billion in October alone, according to YouMail's Robocall Index. That's up from 4.4 billion in September and 2.5 billion in October 2017. Such calls are not only irritating but also costly to unsuspecting victims who may be conned out of money if they fall for the scam.

The tech industry has been trying to combat these calls by offering settings built into iOS and Android as well as apps from mobile carriers and third parties. But the most effective tools are ones that easily distinguish spam calls from legitimate calls and banish the bad ones so you don't even have to deal with them.

T-Mobile breaks down the features of Name ID based on specific benefits.

You can control the calls that reach you by blocking or unblocking numbers via the call log. You can set up your blocklist so you don't even see blocked calls, a handy option if your phone is off or you're on another call. You can manage calls by category. Telemarketing calls, political calls, survey calls, and other types of calls can all be dumped to voicemail.

You can track down the name or organization behind an unknown phone number and run a reverse lookup to find out who's calling or texting you. Your settings are backed up to the cloud, so you can access the same ones even when you switch to a new phone. And you can turn on notifications to find out which calls were blocked and which ones sent to voicemail.

Name ID is freely available as part of a T-Mobile ONE Plus plan. Other T-Mobile postpaid customers, including those with T-Mobile for Business accounts, have to pay $4 per month per line to add the name ID service.

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  1. Available for iOS and Android, T-Mobile's Name ID app is designed to shield you from robocalls by blocking them or sending them to voicemail.
  2. The Name ID app is included with a T-Mobile ONE Plus plan but costs $4 per month per line for other T-Mobile postpaid customers.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."