Verizon is expanding its popular spam and robocalling protection features, by bringing it to all of its customers, free of charge.
Previously, these features were available for free to those subscribing to its Call Filter – which was formerly Caller Name ID – service.
Verizon added these features to Call Filter over a year ago, and the service essentially identifies spam callers and unknown numbers by name and will show an innovative risk meter that displays the level of spam risk for that call. If the call meets Verizon's spam criteria, then it will be displayed as a spam call. It'll still ring, but indicate that it is spam, so you can choose to ignore it or pick it up if you want.
The carrier also offer free alerts about calls that it believes are spam, to a number of Android users. In March, this will expand to all smartphones that support the features. This includes both Android and iOS devices. Verizon will be providing more information on how to sign-up for the free service in the coming weeks. Though this should be an opt-out service not an opt-in service.
Verizon is also touting that it is continuously updating its algorithm, and have already identified nearly 300 million numbers associated with spam and robocalling. The wording there is important. Verizon has identified nearly 300 million numbers versus 300 million calls. T-Mobile has blocked over a billion spam and robocalls, though Verizon has not stated how many calls have been blocked in the past year, just the number of unique numbers.
Identifying calls as spam does work, but it's only one way that Verizon is working to reduce these robocalls. This is because, as carriers work to reduce these robocalls, the robocallers will find ways around it and still get through. So, like T-Mobile, Verizon will be supporting the new STIR/SHAKEN cal authentication technology. This is being implemented by the FCC, so Verizon has to use it at some point.
Verizon is also a supporter of stronger regulation to outlaw number spoofing and shutting down illegal robocallers. Number spoofing is another way that robocallers can get to you as well. As it can spoof its number to look like a number similar to yours – usually using your area code and then the first three numbers. This makes you believe that it's a neighbor or something and more likely to pick up. STIR/SHAKEN authentication will help with this, but it is not 100-percent perfect in blocking these calls.
In the first five months of 2018, over 16 billion robocalls were placed. Numbers for the entirety of 2018 are not yet available, but it would not be too crazy to think that over 32 billion robocalls were placed during the year. The FCC is working with carriers to put an end to these robocalls, and it's good to see that T-Mobile and Verizon are leading the charge here. Now, we just need the other two – AT&T and Sprint – to jump on board, and work to block these spam and robocallers from getting through.