The situation is all too familiar: a user receives a call from an individual claiming to be with the IRS, the person on the line begins entering bogus prattle causing fear for the receiving end, at which point is the recipient is all ears, lest they risk tussling with someone representing as formidable a body as the IRS.
Only days later will the receiving end realize it was actually just all a scam, but by then it'll be too late. T-Mobile is introducing new preventive measure that'll block calls like this, aiding users in the process of dodging calls from spammers.
T-Mobile's Fight Against Scammer Calls
"Every year, three out of four people in the US 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!" says Neville Ray, T-Mobile's chief technology officer.
First, the U.S. carrier is going to begin warning its subscribers if an incoming phone call appears to be from a scammer. If detected, the user's smartphone will display the caller ID as "Scam Likely," notifying the subscribers just before they answer the said calls willy-nilly.
Second, T-Mobile will give users the option to block calls from scammers altogether, barring scammers from reaching users' phones in the first place. To do so, however, subscribers would need to manually opt in to such a service, since there's still the risk of T-Mobile tagging legitimate numbers as scams, thereby blocking them erroneously.
Weeding and filtering out calls from scammers is something the Federal Communications Commission has been pushing phone companies to do, The Verge reports. At Obama's helm, the FCC approved a rule change that paved the way for companies to begin implementing blocking services. The FCC thought that network providers would set such tools in place if given the chance, and it thought right — AT&T introduced a similar service back in December, for instance.
A lot of U.S. network providers are poised to receive broader leeway to combat spam calls, in addition. On Thursday, March 23, the FCC passed a proposal that would allow phone companies to bar some spam robocalls, and Ajit Pai, FCC's new chairman, has stated that under his helm, he intends to broaden the toolkit, since robocalls perch atop the ranking of most complained-about issues the FCC receives yearly.
T-Mobile Scam ID Rollout
T-Mobile's Scam ID feature will roll out network-wide beginning April 5. This will function with no additional installation of any particular software or any extra cost. When a call hits T-Mobile, it'll automatically be checked against its list "tens of thousands" of known scammers to determine its authenticity. This list will also apparently be regularly updated with "behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection" on T-Mobile's network.
How To Activate T-Mobile's Scam Block Feature
The Scam Block feature will also roll out April 5, and can be activated with a dialer code. Both anti-scammer features will be available for all T-Mobile users, although T-Mobile's One subscribers will get them first. Come April 5, users may manually opt in out using these codes:
• Enable Scam ID: #ONI# (#664#)
• Enable Scam Block: #ONB# (#662#)
• Disable Scam Block: #OFB# (#632#)
• Check Scam Block status: #STS# (#787#)