Wednesday, 21 Nov 2018

T-Mobile says it has blocked 1 billion spam calls, is ready for call authentication

T-Mobile announced today that since launching its Scam ID and Scam Block features 18 months ago, the carrier has blocked over 1 billion scam calls. T-Mobile says it’s also ready to adopt the new FCC SHAKEN/STIR standards that allow customers to receive verified calls.

Robocalls in the US have reached an all-time high, with an estimated 147 million spam calls being made per day. The ease of becoming a robocaller has lowered the barrier to entry, and scammers have begun a form of “neighborhood spoofing,” in which they call from the target phone number’s own area code to increase the chance of a call being picked up. T-Mobile says it’s improving its Scam ID and Scam Block features to protect customers against this type of robocall.

T-Mobile has also announced readiness to adopt the FCC’s demands for carriers to adopt stronger call authentication systems, a framework it calls SHAKEN/STIR. The SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) standards allow phone companies to verify that the call that a customer is receiving is actually from the person making the call, and not a phone number being hijacked by neighborhood spoofing practices.

While Scam ID (which flags calls as ‘Scam Likely’) is built into the network for T-Mobile and Metro customers, Spam Block (which blocks calls entirely) must be enabled. T-Mobile and Metro customers can enable the feature by dialing #ONB# (#662#) on their phones, check if it’s active by dialing #STS# (#787#), and turn it off using #OFB# (#632#).