Robo-Calls - The Voice Version of Email SPAM
We are all getting more and more robo-calls, scam artists and other unwanted calls on our mobile phones. e.g. The voice version of SPAM. And the problem is getting worse. In the e-mail world we have had to deal with this for years. Over 70% of all emails sent over the internet are considered SPAM. Fortunately e-mail SPAM filter technology, such as that used by GPD, block most of it. In the voice world however such filtering technologies are still immature and just now moving to the main stream. To combat the seemingly epidemic volume of spam callers in the U.S., the nation's four major wireless carriers have been trying out new methods to reduce the number of unsolicited calls Americans receive each day. Some have built technology like spoofed call blockers into their networks, so there's nothing you would even have to install. Others have taken a more passive approach, requiring you to download an app if you want to put a dent in the number of annoying calls you receive. Here is a quick summary for your consideration. For more details, check with your specific provider.
In January 2018, T-Mobile implemented STIR and SHAKEN standards. STIR, or Secure Telephone Identity Revisited, is a call-certifying protocol. SHAKEN, or Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using tokens, verifies the caller's right to use their phone numbers. In other words, these help to ensure they are calling from real, not faked, or spoofed, phone numbers.
Dubbed "Caller Verified," this technology is now available through T-Mobile on the Galaxy Note9 and will be available on more smartphones later this year so if your T-Mobile customer look out for these new apps. Whenever someone calls you, the nation's third-largest wireless network checks that number against a database of known scam phone numbers. If the number matches a reported scammer, the Caller ID is flagged with "Scam Likely," so you know to keep your guard up if you decide to answer.
T-Mobile, which has 79.7 million subscribers, offers a second feature called Scam Block that allows you to block these likely scammers before they can reach you. Scam Block works on all phones with Caller ID and is included with all postpaid plans at no additional charge.
Along with working to introduce customers to SHAKEN and STIR in 2019, the nation's second-largest mobile network provides customers with Call Protect, a free app that blocks robocalls. As of mid-2018, the app blocked 365 million fraud calls and labeled over 429 million spam calls. AT&T's examines over a billion calls each day for patterns that may indicate robo-callers, the company said in a statement.
For customers looking for even more protection, there's AT&T Call Protect Plus, for $3.99 a month, which offers Enhanced Caller ID, Reverse Number Lookup and Custom Call Controls.
"We are fully committed to deploying and implementing SHAKEN/STIR, and we are working vendors to begin testing various aspects of these protocols," said Sprint spokeswoman Lisa Belot. "We believe the deployment of these technologies will be an important step in Sprint and the industry's continuing work to eradicate the plague of illegal and unwanted robocalls."
In the meantime, Sprint encourages customers to download Premium Caller ID, available on iOS and Android for $2.99 a month.
The nation's largest wireless carrier has a crowd-sourced list of nearly 300 million numbers that the company associates with spam and robot calls. The list is "literally growing and enhancing minute by minute," said Joe Russo, senior vice president of network operations at Verizon.
As part of the company's "full-on assault" against these unwanted calls, Verizon Wireless is rolling out a free spam-alerting and call-blocking tool to customers starting in March 2019. For now, customers can download a $2.99 app called "Call Filter" that allows for blocking unwanted calls based on risk level.
If you want more information about robo-call prevention, contact your phone service provider.