T-Mobile just unveiled two new services—Scam ID and Scam Block—which specifically target those pestering robo-calls that reach out to 2.4 million Americans every month.
The FCC, the country's telecom regulator, proposed new rules on Thursday that would allow phone companies to take the steps needed to target and block calls from suspicious phone numbers.
According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, "Robo-calls are the No. 1 consumer complaint to the FCC from members of the American public." Many of these calls pretended to be tax officials demanding payment or asking leading questions which prompt consumers to give up personal information. More than 1 out of 10 US adults are victim to phone scams.
The good news is that, starting April 5, T-Mobile will automatically enable Scam ID for T-Mobile One and MetroPCS customers on a rolling basis. Postpaid subscribers will need to opt in to Scam ID after that date by dialing #ONI# (#664#) and pressing the call button in their phone's dialer.
Scam ID is set to alert you when an incoming call is from an illegitimate or suspect number by displaying the message "Scam Likely."You can also enable Scam Block by dialing #ONB# (#662#) or logging in to My T-Mobile. Scam Block is set to block "scam likely" calls immediately, so you never even have to see the call. Though, Scam Block may or may not accidentally filter out legitimate numbers, so it is your choice to opt into the service. Both services are free of charge, as the tech for the two are already built into T-Mobile's network.
According to the Verge in a statement from T-Mobile, robo-calls will filter through its scam-fighting system, which checks the number against a database of "tens of thousands" of known scammer numbers. The process takes only milliseconds to complete, and the database is constantly updated in real time.
The scam fighting system will analyze every call that comes in through T-Mobile's network, noting certain patterns such as if a subscriber immediately hangs up on a number that's never been contacted before. The number will then be flagged as a potential scammer.