AT&T expands Call Protect service to automatically block fraud calls

Andrew Cummings
July 11, 2019

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On Tuesday, AT&T became the first major United States wireless company to automatically block robocalls for its customers. Those customers will be notified by text when the service is active. Now AT&T customers will be automatically enrolled, the company announced. It'll be available on all new lines and added in the coming months to existing customer lines. Landline customers had also been able to opt in. The free service comes after a June Federal Communications Commission ruling that allows phone service providers to offer call-blocking on an opt-out basis. "AT&T remains committed to working with our government and industry partners in the ongoing battle against unwanted and illegal robocalls".

Engadget reports that AT&T is planning to begin blocking robocalls and issuing spam alerts for suspected fraud phone numbers for new users. If anyone wants to add the feature right away, they can go ahead and install the AT&T Call Protect app or add the feature manually through their accounts to get the benefits.

On a related note, you may recall that the FTC earlier this year slapped significant fines on four companies found to be responsible for millions of robocalls. Past year alone, there were upwards of 48 billion robocalls made to individuals in the United States, a figure which represents a 325% increase compared to 2017. Robocalls are expected to increase to 44.6 percent of all calls in 2019, the firm projected. The FCC has said that frustration has made robocalls the No. 1 complaint it receives from consumers, amounting to hundreds of thousands of grievances filed every year.

Robocall blocking uses algorithms and network scanning to identify unwanted calls, similar to how email providers scan for spam messages.

On Monday, Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang pledged to ban robocalls if he is elected president.

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