T-Mobile Has Blocked Over A Billion Scam Calls In 18 Months

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By Alexander Maxham November 09, 2018, 11:16am
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Less than two years ago, T-Mobile introduced a new feature that would block scam calls from its customers. This was one of the many pain points that the company wanted to solve with its Un-Carrier movements, and it was a big one. T-Mobile was able to decipher numbers that would be scam calls, and instead of just keeping it from getting to your phone, T-Mobile would show it as "Scam Likely", so you know you don't need to answer it. Now, nearly 18 months after it launched, T-Mobile has announced that it has successfully blocked over a billion scam calls, and it identified over six billion calls as scam calls. But that isn't the reason why T-Mobile issued a press release. The company is taking this to the next level, and is going to be unveiling improvements to Scam ID, Scam Block and also introduce new protections at the network level. So that not only will that scammer no longer call you, but they won't call any T-Mobile customers anymore.

T-Mobile is announcing that it will be ready for the new STIR/SHAKEN standards that the FCC are forcing all carriers to adopt. But it has also improved Scam ID and Scam Block, one of the major ways that T-Mobile will do this is with "Neighborhood Spoofing". This is a method that scammers will use to temporarily hijack a phone number to match the area code and the 3-digit prefix for who they are calling. Which makes it seem legit, like it's someone nearby that might be trying to contact you. There are many call blocking apps out there, but they can only blacklist known numbers. Not actual numbers that were hijacked to scam someone. Now T-Mobile is able to do that. However, that's not all. It is also partnering with First Orion, and is the only major wireless provider that can add protections at the network level. This means that T-Mobile customers will receive less scam calls, and this is thanks to intelligent analysis of network-wide data, which is able to pinpoint and identify the origin of a call before it reaches your phone. And this is going to be available for all postpaid T-Mobile customers, as well as Metro by T-Mobile customers, for free, without a special app.

All three of these changes are going to be available for all T-Mobile postpaid customers and Metro by T-Mobile customers, at no extra charge and it is on by default. Scam ID and Scam Block is available to everyone, but if you would rather not be bothered by scam calls at all, you can enable Scam Block to block all of these scam calls. Which is likely a good idea, considering how good T-Mobile is at identifying these calls as scam now. T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere is proud of the amount of calls it has been able to block already, and stated that scam calling is "an industry-wide issue. It's estimated that by 2019, nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be scam attempts! And when the other guys join us in adopting STIR/SHAKEN standards, every customer will be even better protected."

Background: In early 2017, Scam ID and Scam Block were announced as part of a new Un-Carrier movement by T-Mobile. It was a way for T-Mobile to work to block scam calls, which had become a major issue for T-Mobile and its customers. Though not just its customers, all customers. So T-Mobile launched Scam ID and Scam Block, which as it turns out, has been a huge success for T-Mobile. And the best part here is that T-Mobile was not charging its customers for this service. It was completely free to all of its customers, and on by default. Whenever you get a call that says "Scam Likely" that's a call that T-Mobile has scanned and flagged as being a scam or spam call. T-Mobile has had very little calls get that flag that weren't actually scam calls, which shows how good the system they have in place was already. The other carriers have followed T-Mobile's lead here, in blocking these scam calls, but they aren't quite on the level of T-Mobile, who is really leading the way here. Including debuting new technology to block these calls, like it has done today.

Impact: With the new improvements that T-Mobile debuted today for Scam ID, Scam Block and on its network, you should see even less scam calls making its way to your device. The fact that T-Mobile is using, what is essentially machine learning, to improve this scam blocking, is pretty impressive. But it also means that T-Mobile is going to get better and better at blocking these calls. What Legere said about the number of calls that are expected to be scam calls by 2019 is not a surprise really. Scam calls is how these scammers make their money. It's similar to the spam emails that you get in your inbox everyday. And spam emails have really picked up in the past few years as well.

T-Mobile is leading the industry in blocking these scam phone calls, which is definitely a good thing, but what's better is that they are also bringing in its competition to block these scam calls. So whether you have AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, you should be getting less scam calls. The FCC is also demanding that wireless carriers adopt a couple of new standards - primarily STIR and SHAKEN - to help protect their customers from getting these spam calls from spammers. T-Mobile announced they are first to adopt these standards, but they won't be alone. The FCC is actually looking out for the consumer with these new standards, which is surprising and needed. T-Mobile has done a lot of different Un-Carrier changes that have helped shape the wireless industry into what it is today, but blocking spam calls might be the smallest Un-Carrier movement that was a big deal and helped change the industry for the better. Since no one likes getting these scam calls, and being interrupted while at work.

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November 09, 2018, 11:16am
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