AT&T has become the first major US carrier to automatically block fraudulent calls by default.
Robocalls that use a computerized autodialer to deliver a pre-recorded message are mostly used by spammers. Back in 2016 Apple, along with other Silicon Valley giants like Google, joined forces with the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to crack down on these automated calls. Last month, the FCC ruled that wireless carriers could block robocalls for their customers by default, no opt-in required whatsoever.
Following through on the ruling, AT&T is now enabling its Call Protect service by default for new and existing lines. The Verge cites a company spokesperson as confirming that new customers will automatically have this feature enabled going forward, whilst existing customers will have it enabled “in the coming months.”
From the report:
AT&T’s Call Protect service does three things: it detects and blocks fraudulent calls entirely, flags telemarketers and spam calls as ‘Suspected Spam’ when the phone rings and allows you to maintain a personal block list to specifically block individual numbers.
The free service has actually been around for postpaid AT&T customers for a while now, but it required an app and an opt-in. Thanks to FCC’s new ruling, carriers like AT&T can activate the service on network end without requiring users to download an app or set up anything.
People who would prefer getting their calls unfiltered can still do so, but they’re going to need to opt out of Call Protect. As The Verge states, AT&T is the first major carrier to enable free call blocking for all US customers. T-Mobile and Verizon require their customers to turn on call-blocking features manually and Sprint charges a fee for its Premium Caller ID service.
As of iOS 11, Apple customers can install a piece of software from App Store that integrates with the stock Phone app to identify possible spammy calls on the Lock screen. And with iOS 13, the company introduced a new setting to additionally shield people from unknown and spam callers. When enabled, your device uses Siri intelligence to automatically send any call from a number not found in Contacts, Mail or Messages to your voicemail.