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T-Mobile introduces new features to combat phone scammers

Published Mar 24th, 2017 1:41PM EDT
Image: T-Mobile

Every year, phone scammers come up with new and creative ways to bilk individuals out of their hard-earned money. From calling up folks and pretending to be IRS agents to robocalling every permutation of phone number possible with promises of easy money, the variety of different phone scams seems to increase significantly with each passing year.

In an effort to help alleviate the problem, and in an effort to keep pace with top rival AT&T, T-Mobile earlier today announced two new features designed to stop phone scammers in their tracks.

The first is Scam ID, a technology which will automatically inform users when an incoming call is likely to be a phone scam. The second feature is called Scam Block which, as the name implies, will prevent likely scam calls from even going through in the first place.

“Scam ID and Scam Block are powered by patent-pending technology built right into the Un-carrier’s advanced network,” T-Mobile said in a press release, “which also means scam blocking works on every single phone on T-Mobile’s network.”

The features go live today and are certainly worth taking advantage of, especially as phone scammers come up with increasingly clever ways to trick unsuspecting users on the other end of the line.

As for how T-Mobile’s scam-blocking technology works, the company explains:

Every time someone calls a T-Mobile customer, as soon as that call reaches the T-Mobile network, patent-pending technology analyzes it – in milliseconds – against an advanced global database of tens of thousands of known scammer numbers. The database is kept up-to-date in near real-time by analyzing every call that comes into the network with behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection. When a match is found, the T-Mobile network tags the incoming call and warns the customer that it’s likely from a scammer. Because of the way T-Mobile’s network manages voice traffic, the Un-carrier is capable of analyzing every call to identify and block scammers.

Conveniently, users have the ability to toggle between Scam Block and Scam ID as they see fit.

T-Mobile says that the features will begin rolling out to subscribers today, with T-Mobile ONE users getting early access to the scam blocking tools.

New T-Mobile ONE customers will automatically get Scam ID beginning April 5. T-Mobile postpaid customers can also enable Scam ID for themselves beginning April 5 by dialing #ONI# (#664#) and pressing the call button in their phone’s dialer. To turn on Scam Block, customers can dial #ONB# (#662#) or, to turn it off, dial #OFB# (#632#). To check whether Scam Block is on or off, customers can dial #STS# (#787#).

It’s unfortunate that phone scams are still as lucrative as they are, but it’s nice to see T-Mobile step up to the plate and try and eradicate it.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.