T-Mobile fights scammers with call warnings
Imagine this: you’re sitting down to dinner after a long day when your phone starts ringing. Caller ID displays a number you don’t know, so you decide to answer it and see who might be calling. On the other line, you hear a bad impression of your uncle telling you that he’s trapped in Jamaica and needs you to wire some money to his bank account so he can buy food and a plane ticket back home. Realizing it’s a scam, you hang up, annoyed at having your evening interrupted. Not to worry; if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you will soon be able to ignore these kinds of calls before you even answer your phone.
T-Mobile is in the process of rolling out a system that will warn customers when a known scam number is calling them. If your phone identifies the number as a possible scammer, the caller ID will show a message saying that the call is most likely a scam. T-Mobile is calling the program “Scam ID.” Customers can also subscribe to a Do Not Call (DNC) list to block these numbers outright in a program dubbed “Scam Block.” T-Mobile has been building a “global database of tens of thousands of known scammer numbers” and will strive to keep the database current. They’ll do this by analyzing call patterns on their network with “behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection,” allowing them to update their database in near-real-time.
T-Mobile is offering this service for free to its subscribers. T-Mobile ONE customers will automatically receive scam warning messages on April 5th while postpaid clients will need to opt into the program. To enable Scam ID, they’ll need to dial #ONI# (#664#). Both ONE and postpaid customers will need to opt into Scam Block, which they can do by dialing #ONB# (#662#).
This move is part of “an industry-wide effort to fight robocalling, led by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai.” The FCC has recently made strides to combat scam phone calls and telemarketing robocalling by equipping the major carriers themselves with the toolkits they need to build services like Scam ID and Scam Block. AT&T is also planning to develop a similar program later this year.