T-Mobile rolling out Caller Verified feature to fight scammers, starting with Galaxy Note 9

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Earlier this week, we learned about a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 update that included a new calling service enhancement named Caller Verified. Now T-Mobile has officially announced the feature.

Caller Verified is a new T-Mobile feature that uses the STIR and SHAKEN standards to fight scammers. When a call comes in, T-Mo customers with this Caller Verified feature will see “Caller Verified” on the incoming call screen when T-Mobile has confirmed that the call is real and has not been intercepted by scammers.

The STIR and SHAKEN standards allow calls to be signed as legitimate by originating carriers and validated by other operators before the calls reach consumers. STIR and SHAKEN digitally validate the handoff of calls so that the consumer knows that an incoming call is really from the person supposedly making it. This is all to help fight caller ID spoofing, which is a technique scammers use to temporarily hijack a phone number to match the area code and three-digit prefix of a person they’re calling to make the incoming call look legitimate.

T-Mobile touts that it’s the first in the industry to launch a caller verification feature using the STIR and SHAKEN standards. Once the technologies are adopted by other carriers, Caller Verified will work on calls made across most networks.

Caller Verified is now available on the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 9 at no extra charge. T-Mo says that it’ll be available on more smartphones later this year.

Spam and scam calls are a big issue with mobile phones. They can be annoying when they ring your phone and interrupt you throughout your day, and they can be dangerous when they scam people out of money. Caller ID spoofing makes this issue worse since it helps to make an incoming scam call look more authentic, and so hopefully it’s not long before we see Caller Verified making its way to more phones.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • MisterListerSir

    I’d love to see Google open up their dialer/screen call functionality to other OEMs…the ability to have Google screen calls (and transcribe the responses) is a godesend.

    (Not that the transcription of responses is at all necessary; seeing as how every single caller I have used this with other than with people I know for testing purposes has hung up almost immediately…silly spammers)

    • Melvin

      That would be awesome it that happened

    • SirStephenH

      You can sideload the dialer to most phones. Not ideal, but possible.

      • MisterListerSir

        You can sideload the dialer to most phones. Not ideal, but possible.

        Sure, but with none of the features working that make it desirable…

        • SirStephenH

          True, I was thinking the anti-spam stuff works but it appears to be the only feature that doesn’t.

        • MisterListerSir

          The ported releases will at least notify if a call is spam, but they won’t filter (at least not anything I’ve found).

          It really sucks. That call screening is a killer feature if you get any spam or robo-calls at all; my 6t is now basically just a media-consumption device. (which really sucks since the latest betas are *really* nice!)

  • Android_God

    Just nuke India. Problem solved

  • JG

    This is a “big issue”, as mentioned in the article, that impacts everyone – irregardless if they have a smartphone, a basic feature phone, a landline or any other kind of phone.

    So… Why are we implementing a device level fix? OEMs are notoriously slow at rolling out updates. What are the odds that devices that were released prior to 2017 (especially if it wasn’t flagship tier) will see an update any time soon? Much less the 0.1% of Android users still using a Gingerbread powered phone (for whatever reason).

    The article states T-Mobile plans to have it “available on more smartphones later this year”. That’s great, but it leaves out those still using feature phones. They’re few and far between, I’m sure. But this issue impacts them every much as it does smart phone users.

    Why not implement this at the network level? That way every phone gets to take advantage of the spoofer filter right away, irregardless if I’m using the latest and greatest (which apparently, for T-Mobile at least, happens to be the Note 9 – it has this & RCS) or I’m still using the 90s (00s?) infamous Moto Razr flip phone.

    T-Mobile could potentially display the warning via the caller ID data. “Incoming call from 555-555-5555, SPAM LIKELY”. I would assume that would allow all phones on the carrier to take advantage of the new service without having to wait for a potential update.

    • SirStephenH

      All this does is alert users as to whether a call is verified or not, it doesn’t block calls because that could block legitimate calls. How do you prepose that a phone alerts a user as to whether a call is verified or not when the phone was never programed to do that in the first place without illegally spoofing caller ID information?

      • JG

        I mentioned a possible solution in my comment. Alter the caller ID information so rather than displaying “555-555-5555 Doe, John” the phone instead shows “555-555-5555 Spam Likely”.

        If it isn’t officially a government mandate (yet) Pai seems rather eager to get everyone using these new validation tools. I’m sure if altering the Caller ID information in such a manner would be considered illegal, Pai could fast tract an exception.

        Of course, if a call does fail the SHAKEN/STIR validation, then more likely than not the caller ID information is already spoofed and it’s not really coming from Home Town, USA so there’s no real harm in swapping out the spam warning for what would otherwise have been the supplied data.

        • SirStephenH

          And as I said, altering caller ID information would be illegal.

        • JG

          From the FCC’s own website:

          However, spoofing is not always illegal. There are legitimate, legal uses for spoofing, like when a doctor calls a patient from her personal mobile phone and displays the office number rather than the personal phone number or a business displays its toll-free call-back number

          If a telephone number is blocked or labeled as a “potential scam” on your caller ID, it is possible the number has been spoofed. Several phone companies and app developers offer call-blocking and labeling services that detect whether a call is likely to be fraudulent based on call patterns, consumer complaints or other means.

          FCC rules do not prohibit call blocking or labeling technologies

          My suggestion, I believe, would be considered a call labeling strategy.

          From the Office of the Federal Register’s site’s Truth in Caller ID Act entry:
          From SUMMARY:

          The Truth in Caller ID Act, and the Commission’s implementing rules, prohibit any person or entity from knowingly altering or manipulating caller identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value.

          From I. Implementation of the Truth in Caller ID Act

          we adopt rules that prohibit any person or entity in the United States, acting with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, from knowingly causing, directly or indirectly, any caller identification service to transmit or display misleading or inaccurate caller identification information.

          The simple act of altering Caller ID information in and of itself is not illegal. T-Mobile, in this case, is not attempting to defraud, cause harm to or wrongfully obtain anything of value from it’s customers. Their intent is actually quite the opposite, to potentially help protect their customers from bad actors.

          Further, T-Mobile would not be transmitting or displaying misleading or inaccurate information. The altered text would indicate that the call had failed validation and thus likely was not from the source the caller ID specified.

    • Phone Guy

      They already have this feature. Where have you been. This is just something newer.

      • JG

        Other than the occasional call from my mom or aunt, Spam Likely is the only person who calls anymore… [Everyone else just sends SMS or uses an IM client like Hangouts or Telegram etc).

        Point still stands, though. Why do we need to have a special software update to use SHAKEN/STIRED when there is a viable option already in place that would work for all users irregardless if their OEM’s update schedule.

  • Philip

    Does it work?

  • Andrew Singleton

    major shoutout to tmonews for letting me know what the company offers before they tell employees haha. proud as hell to offer this tech before the other carriers. HoOrAhHhHhH!

  • Renaldo Epps

    It does work, I love the new feature.