There are alarming statistics out there about the extent of the spam and scam call problem in the US, with some estimates putting it as high as 50% of all US mobile traffic this year being a scam of some kind. No wonder people are answering the phone less often and using other communication methods, like texting.

The problem is also compounded by the fact that many existing protection apps blacklist known scam numbers, but are helpless when it comes to that other problem you’ve no doubt seen — where a local number gets “spoofed,” with scammers making it seem like a genuine local number is calling you in the hopes that you’ll answer, whereas you might not if it was a toll-free or out-of-town number that showed up. That’s why T-Mobile, today, announced a new tool to fight all the spam and give phone owners a little bit more peace of mind.

The carrier announced the launch of a new “Caller Verified” tool designed to crack down especially on that scammy “spoof” problem we mentioned. It’s a tool that uses existing industry STIR and SHAKEN technology standards to assure phone owners that the call they’re getting is indeed from a legitimate number.

The rollout of this, at least for now, is limited, in that it’s only available on T-Mobile’s network and just on Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phones. However, the carrier promises it’s going to expand the tool later this year. Moreover, it joins other tools T-Mobile uses including Scam ID, Scam Block and a name ID app to complement each other and keep bad calls from reaching customers.

If you’ve got a Galaxy Note 9 and you’re already a T-Mobile customer, that’s it. You don’t have to do anything else to get this benefit — it’s already in place and working for you. According to the company, you’ll start to see “Caller Verified” on the incoming call screen when T-Mobile has verified that the call is genuine and that the number hasn’t been intercepted by a spammer.

“Caller Verified is T-Mobile’s implementation of the STIR and SHAKEN standards,” the company announced today. “These standards combat illegal caller ID spoofing, which occurs when scammers temporarily hijack a phone number to match the area code and 3-digit prefix of the person they are targeting, making the incoming call look familiar.

“T-Mobile was first in the industry to announce readiness for STIR/SHAKEN in November 2018, and today, the Un-carrier became the first in the industry to launch caller verification using the STIR/SHAKEN standards. Once other wireless providers implement STIR/SHAKEN, Caller Verified will work on calls made across networks.”

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