Mobile carriers continue to implement improvements to their devices and enable users to avoid the assaults during the continuing battle against unwanted calls. Usually, it’s pointless. However, a vote by the US FCC was a crucial move in this process, which now requires mobile carriers to block robocalls without requesting approval first. Changes vary from disabling defaults on phones to apps enabling consumers to differentiate from nuisances with the calls required. Some carriers have even delved into the protocol called SHAKEN / STIR, which requires a digital signature to validate the authenticity of a number. Let’s take a look at the companies fighting unwanted calls.
The service has been available (free of charge) to AT&T wireless post-paid customers for quite a while now, but an app needs to be downloaded and activated. Due to the new FCC regulation, AT&T will activate for you, but if you already have AT&T and you do not want to wait, you may always manually trigger it. You may as well opt out of Call Protect like before, who may like to have their calls unfiltered; it’s just the automatic activity that varies.
Call Protect contains the following features:
- Automatic Fraud blocking: Calls of suspected fraudsters are intercepted and blocked
- Alleged Spam: Alerts you about telemarketers and other alleged spam calls to determine whether you should respond, ignore or block
- Personal blocklist: helps you to place your own block list of unwanted callers
- Spam Calls Report: Aid in detecting alleged spam and reported calls of theft.
AT&T customers can get Call Protect Plus for $3.99 a month. This service is available for iOS and Android, which also involves the Personal Block List along with the Automatic Fraud blocking.
AT&T and Comcast prevailed in March last year, regarding the SHAKEN / STIR protocol. The companies reported that calls between their two networks were effectively authenticated. Not just that, but at some stage, both organizations opened up the operation. The best thing? To the clients, it will be free of cost.
In 2017, T-Mobile started giving consumers the free security of Scam ID and Scam Block. For some years the only network that sold such programs has been T-Mobile.
How the two systems function is as follows:
Scam ID: Anytime an incoming call is suspected to be fraud, consumers are immediately warned. This does not require an app as it functions on a network and works via Caller ID with a T-Mobile handset.
Scam Block: T-Mobile blocks spam calls before it even hits your phone when it’s activated. It can be turned by dialing #662# in MyTMobile account.
T-Mobile sells the premium Name ID software because not all robocalls are a fraud. The Name ID is used with Magenta Plus and T-Mobile ONE Plus plans and is available from the App Store or Google Play to other subscribers for $4 a month. Using the Name ID feature, users may pick annoyance categories that are to be submitted to voicemail directly. Also, you can build an Always Allow list, Reverse Number Lookup on calls and see a complete list of calls stopped by Scam Block. The first to use SHAKEN / STIR was T-Mobile. The organization revealed it was operating with its own network via the Caller to verify the protocol.
Verizon introduced Call and Spam Scanning for its customers free of cost who sign up to Call Filter Service (formerly the Caller Name ID). A risk meter is included in the spam screening functionality. With the help of Risk Meter, consumers are alerted when a call is likely to be spam and are blocked based upon the risk level. Some features differ according to the customer’s type of phone used.
Interested consumers can upgrade to the complete feature package for Verizon’s call Filter at $2.99 per month for a line only. The upgraded software incorporates both functionalities of the free edition including the potential to recognize unfamiliar calls. Users can have more control over calls and are able to build a specific Robocall block list, using a spam number look-up tool for further information with the Robocall Risk Meter. The software is on the App Store for iPhones but is not available for Android. You just want to at least access the simple Call and Spam filtering service if you’re a Verizon client.
It is up to you to be vigilant for your own safety. You shouldn’t pick phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize, the best thing you can do. You will receive a message if the call is really important. But, this strategy doesn’t work the way crooks would trick numbers all the time.