In recent years, unwanted calls have been a top priority for the FCC. According to analysts, US customers received more than 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 201
The Federal Communications Commission has launched five policy initiatives to slow down the proliferation of robocalls and spam calls. The first option deals with the immediate blocking of suspicious phone calls. As the primary call blocking tool, mobile service providers can legally deny calls at the network level, so they never reach your phone in the first place. Unfortunately, it is not mandatory nor does it have to be a free service of voice service providers, but so far carriers are getting on board at no cost to the consumer.
Second, calls are blocked when numbers are changed. Previously, when changing phone numbers, consumers received calls intended for the previous owner of the number. The FCC has introduced new rules to create a re-assigned number database that minimizes these unwanted calls.
The third initiative addresses the FCC, which places a heavy burden on companies that spam users with calls or use robocalling devices or software. The federal agency has already fined two telemarketers for over $ 200 million in illegal spoofing, leading us to the fourth initiative – enforcement. The Federal Trade Commission also helps enforce applicable laws against robocalls and spam.
The most significant change, however, is SHAKEN / STIR (Secure Handling of Alleged Information with toKENs and Secure Telephony Identity Revisited), part of the Fifth Initiative. The framework recommended by the North America Numbering Council establishes a robust authentication system to improve call barring services and expose fake calls. The FCC has asked every US mobile service provider to bring this system into service by the end of 2019, and this will greatly enhance a provider's ability to tackle this problem.
With these tools, US carriers can better protect you from unwanted activity calls. Making these options available to mobile operators not only blocks most spam calls before you reach your phone, it also enables providers to improve their services and apps to better address this issue. As far as blocking robocalls and spam is concerned, here are the tools of the four major mobile operators:
1. Verizon Wireless
Verizon began deploying the SHAKEN / STIR authentication system on its network in March 2019. With this tool, far fewer fake calls reach your phone, as digital certificate technology verifies that the phone number specified on a caller ID is indeed the actual number. At the moment, it only works from Verizon to Verizon calls, but it works on the connection between other providers.
Verizon also offers a free version of its Call Filter app on the Play Store and App Store. It is even preinstalled on some Verizon variants of Android phones, but is only available for postpaid accounts, so it is not suitable for prepaid users. Verizon's free app features spam detection, a spam filter and the ability to report numbers.
- Install Verizon Call Filter: Android (free) | iOS (free)
After installation, you can use Verizon Call Filter to get notifications about spam calls and robocalls, even if your smartphone does not include the feature in the default phone app. If you want extra protection and extra features, you can opt for the paid version, which is $ 2.99 per month per line (or $ 7.99 per month for three or more lines). Paid services include caller ID, personal spam and revocation lists, a risk assessment of the call and the ability to search for spam, and all free features.
T-Mobile already implemented SHAKEN / STIR in January 2019, which the company identified as "Caller Verified" and isolated for its own network. However, in a partnership with Comcast, which began in April 2019 – the first connection between different networks – it went one step further.
Currently, if you're a T-Mobile customer, calls are checked to see if they're from T-Mobile's network or Comcast's Xfinity Voice home directories. Comcast customers will not receive confirmation from the T-Mobile network until 2019.
The catch is that Caller Verified currently only supports the following devices running the latest software for T-Mobile or Metro subscribers. More devices will be available in the future.
T-Mobile also has the T-Mobile Name ID, which is available in both the Play Store and the App Store. It provides advanced control over who can reach you over a phone call.
The Name ID allows you to lock and unlock callers in your call log, even if your phone does not have a lock feature. Once blocked, you will not be able to make calls even when your phone is turned off. You can also block calls from a specific category, such as: Telemarketing, political calls and surveys. You can even prevent calls that have been marked as annoying calls in order to improve the control.
The Name ID also provides an advanced Caller ID system that identifies the name of the caller, even if it is initially displayed as unknown. You can even perform a Reverse Phone search to determine the source of a received text message.
- Install the T-Mobile Name ID: Android (free) | iOS (free)
The downside of Name ID is that a monthly subscription is required. For $ 4.99 per month (per line), you can access all of these features. However, the service is included free in T-Mobile ONE Plus and the new Magenta Plus rates. All other rates will be charged and are only available for postpaid payments.
T-Mobile also offers free services that can be used to stop fraud calls. First, there is the Scam ID, which indicates "Scam Likely" for an incoming call that is supposed to come from a cheater or robocall. The service is free for all postpaid subscribers and enabled by default.
The second service is "Fraud Block", which automatically prevents "suspected fraud" calls from reaching your phone. It's also free, but you must enable it. To do this, visit the T-Mobile website via a browser, dial 662 on your T-Mobile device, or use the Name ID app.
. 3 AT & T
Like Verizon and T-Mobile, AT & T has implemented the implementation of SHAKEN / STIR on its network, which was confirmed by a representative of AT & T. That is, you can see if calls have been confirmed or not as long as the number comes from an AT & T plan. And as with T-Mobile, a partnership with Comcast was also signed here. Later in 2019, you will be able to retrieve AT & T call authentication results from Comcast Xfinity Voice home calls (and vice versa, if you have Xfinity Voice)).
In addition, AT & T is currently blocking millions of spam calls and billions of robocalls. The AT & T fraud management team and big data scientists have developed a system that checks more than 1.5 billion calls every day for patterns that are exchanged by Robocalls. In this way, they can block robocalls before they reach participants automatically.
If you're an AT & T mobile subscriber, you can use the Call Protect app for additional protection. You can install it for free in the Play Store and the App Store.
- Install AT & T Call Protect: Android (Free) | iOS (free)
The free app also ships with a "plus" version with in-app purchase. In the free version, spam calls are automatically blocked, suspected fraudulent calls are alerted, and you also have a personal blacklist for calls you do not want. It is paired with the free Mobile Security app (Android | iOS), a separate download that provides basic security features such as scanning apps and files for malware and viruses, and reporting data breaches.
$ 3.99 per piece Call Protect Plus gives you advanced caller ID (identifies unknown caller information), a reverse lookup feature, and custom call controls that allow you to call, send directly to voicemail, or make calls Block category. It is combined with the Mobile Security Plus version at no extra cost, including a secure VPN for public Wi-Fi, notification of dangerous Wi-Fi connections, and theft of suspicious activity on your phone
According to HarrisX, AT & T Call Protect is the most accurate Provider among the four mobile operators when it comes to identifying spam calls, including the lowest number of false positives. It also contains the most accurate and complete caller ID information.
The app is subject to some restrictions. First, you must have a postpaid customer or a business line. Second, you need an iPhone with iOS 9.3. For Android, your smartphone must support HD Voice and may be an AT & T variant because an unlocked model may not work.