Just one day after the FCC took another step toward empowering carriers to combat robocalls, operator T-Mobile announced a new technology that will help alert customers when an incoming call is likely a scam.
According to the Un-carrier, its new Scam ID and Scam Block features are based on technology that compares calls going over the network to a database of known scam numbers. When a match is found, T-Mobile tags the incoming call and a message appears on the user’s screen warning them the call is probably from a scammer.
T-Mobile said the features are built into T-Mobile’s network, meaning they work on nearly all phones on T-Mobile service. And the database used to flag the calls is kept current through near real-time analysis of calls coming into the network using “behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection,” T-Mobile said.
In addition to Scam ID, customers also have the option to simply block suspected spam calls before they ever reach their device.
“Every year, three out of four people in the U.S. get at least one scam call—and fraudsters cheat consumers out of more than half a billion dollars per year! It’s insane – so we had to do something to protect our customers,” T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said in a statement. “So the T-Mobile team designed a brilliant set of patent-pending technologies — then built them directly into our network, so there’s nothing customers have to do. No hoops to jump through, no app to download. Like most T-Mobile technologies, it just works.”
T-Mobile said Scam ID and Scam Block will be introduced on a rolling basis, starting with T-Mobile One customers. New T-Mobile One customers will automatically get Scam ID starting April 5, and postpaid customers will be able to activate it on the same date by dialing #ONI# (#664#) and pressing the call button in their phone’s dialer.
To turn on Scam Block, customers can dial #ONB# (#662#) or, to turn it off, dial #OFB# (#632#). To check whether Scam Block is on or off, customers can dial #STS# (#787#), the Un-carrier said.
T-Mobile’s move is the latest in an industry-wide push to eliminate scam and robocalls. An industry-led robocall task force was formed last year to address the issue at the behest of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and current FCC Chairman Pai is continuing the fight through regulatory channels. Carriers have also taken up the mantle on behalf of their customers, with Sprint in September announcing a partnership with Cequint to deliver an anti-robocall service for its customers and AT&T following up with the launch of a spam call filter for HD Voice customers in December.