T-Mobile improving scam call protection with network-level technology


T-Mobile is working to beef up its scam protection offerings.

T-Mobile today announced that it’s improving its Scam ID and Scam Block features by integrating new spoof identification tech at the network level. These improvements aim to analyze network data to pinpoint and identify the origin of a call before it reaches your phone to help fight the neighboor spoofing method of scam calling.

A popular scam call technique is to temporarily spoof or hijack a phone number with an area code and three-digit prefix of the person they’re trying to scam, making the incoming call look more familiar and increasing the chance that the person being targeted will answer. STIR and SHAKEN aim to fight that issue, and this week FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to the U.S. carriers urging them to make plans to adopt these technologies without delay.

T-Mo said today that it’s ready to adopt STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards. With these technologies, calls traveling through interconnected phone networks can be signed as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other operaters before the calls reach consumers. STIR and SHAKEN digitally validate the handoff of calls, allowing the consumer’s carrier to verify that an incoming call is from the person supposedly making it.

Rounding out today’s announcements is an update on how T-Mobile’s Scam ID and Scam Block features have been performing for consumers. T-Mo first deployed Scam ID and Scam Block in early 2017, and T-Mobile says that in the past 18 months, it’s tagged over 6 billion calls as likely scams and blocked more than 1 billion scam calls. Scam ID can compare the phone number of an incoming call against a global database of known scammer phone numbers, and if a match is found, you’ll be warned. Scam Block is a feature that, when enabled, will prevent calls identified as scams from ever reaching your phone.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • “Scam Black…”

    • Gigahertz21

      Uh oh “Scam Black” means black person likely on the other end, better not answer it lol.

  • Jason Caprio

    This is a great idea. The built in scam filtering on my Pixel 2 XL does a great job in blocking most spam calls, however it does not block callers that spoof my area code and prefix. I have getting an alarming amount of those lately and all I can do is block the number and report as spam on my google phone app. Unfortunately, they have 10,000 numbers to choose and the next call is always from a different last 4.

    Hopefully this is a first step in a crackdown of this because, if I’m not mistaken, it is illegal for marketing calls to spoof numbers. One time I called one of these numbers back with *67 to hide my number, and it was just a average’s person’s cell phone. Apparently the “Do not call registry” is absolutely useless.

    • SurvivingSunnyvale

      “… if I’m not mistaken, it is illegal for marketing calls to spoof numbers.”

      You do realize that these calls aren’t coming from legitimate businesses, right?

      The criminal organizations running these scams out of India and Mexico call centers down’t care about US laws.

      • Jason Caprio

        lol I completely didn’t think of that. Most, if not all of those spoofed calls must be coming from outside the USA.

    • steveb944

      The do not call registry just enables the spoofers to have a directory of sorts.

  • Iphart

    I have call block on 24/7 with exception of my contacts. Anybody else can leave a message.

    • What mobile do you use? I have an Android S7. On mobile, under settings > sounds and vibration, do not disturb = on.
      Under do not disturb > allow exceptions, calls from = contacts only, messages = contacts only.

      I still receive calls from non-contacts. Yep the one with same area code and prefix. Any ideas to make it work properly to block non-contacts?

  • steveb944

    FINALLY. I started ignoring all calls starting with my first 3 because I think I get 1 a day.

  • matt

    marriots hotels always calls me with a spooked area code and prefix

  • Nearmsp

    I never take a call from a non contact. If non voice mail left it goes on my block list.

    • SirStephenH

      The problem with adding scammers to your block list is that scammers normally spoof phone numbers so you’re blocking a legitimate phone number instead of the scammer. Scammers also almost never use the same number twice.

      • I created a Spam1 and Spam2 contact, and add new spam calls from non-ligit contacts, then block the number in the Spam contact.
        I had to add a Spam2 contact because I had so many spam numbers added to my Spam1 contact that it wouldn’t accept any more numbers.

  • SirStephenH

    Finally! I’m getting spoofed scam calls fairly regularly and there’s nothing I can do besides let all unfamiliar numbers go to voicemail. You can’t simply block the numbers; because they don’t use their own numbers you’re just blocking a legitimate number. Also, they never use the same number twice so it’s pointless to block numbers in the first place.

    • BobbieDooley

      Your problem is that you have a phone number assigned to a wireless carrier in a thousand-number block. So auto-dialers can easily start at 0001, then call 0002, 0003 all the way up to 1000.

      Here’s the solution-
      Get a Vonage or MagicJack number for a few days, you can then transfer that number to T-Mobile (or XfinityMobile). It won’t be in a block of sequential numbers assigned to a wireless company (Or recycled). Thousand-number block allocations is public information. Instead, you have a number was originally with Vonage and scammers are unlikely to find or target.

      Also, don’t sign up for contests or magazine subscriptions. These lists are frequently sold to third parties. Opt out of credit card marketing. Problem solved.

  • john

    Hey guys, my wife and I have been receiving daily spam calls from number that are a identical to our own numbers. I keep blocking after each ring but then they keep calling from different last 4 digits. The area code and first 3 numbers are same as ours but last 4 numbers are always different so i have blocked countless times and I still receive calls from different last 4 digits. I once called back and it goes to some automated voice mails.

    How the hell can I stop this for good? I am in chicago

    • Andrew

      Just wanted to jump in on this and say that I’m from Chicagoland and I was having the same issue with spam from numbers where the number is identical to mine except for the last four digits. I have the spam ID enabled. I’m not sure why it randomly stopped, but it did. One option that could work for you is to have your calls forwarded to a Google Voice number you’ve set up and turn on the call screening because most spam callers aren’t going to want to do this and might eventually stop calling. I also think Google is pretty good with their spam screening because it won’t come through.

    • Boomhauer

      You need to pick up the phone and listen to the robot. Usually pressing 1 connects you to a live person. As soon as that happens, tell them “Do not Call List” and hang up. Don’t yell at them but be stern.

      I just started using this and I promise you it’s helped.

  • The One

    I think someone was in the middle of a James Bond movie marathon when they came up with these Acronyms… Shaken, not stirred :-p