T-Mobile will be hosting a virtual ‘Block Party’ via social media on July 15th in celebration of scam calls identified or blocked and in promotion of new features that stop the calls before they hit customers' devices to begin with.
By the numbers, that's because as many as 150 robocalls were made per adult to mobile devices in the U.S. last year, based on the most recent figures from the YouMail Robocall Index. That's approximately 48 billion robocalls with around $10 billion lost by Americans to scams from those according to the Truecaller 2019 U.S. Spam & Scam Report.
As of July 11, T-Mobile reports that it has blocked around 3.5-billion scam calls and sent out warnings to customers 15 billion times about "Scam Likely" calls. Those are just the figures recorded from March of 2017 and equate to around 23,000 per minute in terms of warnings sent about calls with a high potential for being scams.
The purpose of the 'Block Party', according to the self-proclaimed "Un-carrier," is to raise customer awareness about the blocking feature.
Turning the feature on and taking part
Nobody has to wait to turn on the feature either. The process of turning blocking on to cut off would-be scammers, bad actors, and general annoyances is not only free. It's also incredibly easy. T-Mobile customers just need to access their phone's dialer -- in the phone app -- and enter a specific code. The code that needs to be entered is #662#.
Once entered, T-Mobile will both identify and block inbound calls that are flagged as and previously generated a notification reading "Scam Likely." That means those calls won't even cause the phone to ring anymore, eliminating the risks that are often associated with answering them and the need to reject the calls manually
Enabling the feature causes the underlying change to happen on T-Mobile's side of things rather than on the device itself. So it doesn't really matter which smartphone or even smartphone OS a customer is using. Entering the code will still block out the calls for those who want to do that.
The primary caveat, of course, is that there's no such thing as a perfect system and there's a change -- however, slight -- that activating the feature will inadvertently block calls that aren't spam or robocalls.
To take part in the awareness-raising virtual even, customers just need to retweet @TMobile or share on T-Mobile’s Facebook posts using #ScamBlockParty. Those who want to really get into the spirit of the thing can take things further by sharing a screenshot, photo, or video of the feature being activated on either social network, T-Mobile says.
It's not immediately clear whether there's any kind of promotion to go with the event but the carrier does indicate that those who take part should be "on the lookout for surprises from the Un-carrier."
This is an ongoing fight for all carriers and the FCC
These types of features are the result of an ongoing push from the FCC to stop harmful mobile scams in the country. The government body has not only called on carries to enact protections and threatened to take action against those that don't. It also recently revealed that it would be pushing to make calls coming from overseas both illegal and prosecutable.
As a result, every U.S. carrier from AT&T and T-Mobile to Verizon and Sprint has begun to respond with tools and features that will keep those calls from reaching customers.