By Hayley Crandall
AT&T’s fight against scam calls has hit a new stride. The telecommunications company is now blocking and labeling more than a billion robocalls per month, it announced in a press release earlier this week.
This work has been achieved through blocking detected fraud calls on customers’ phones while also actively labeling potentially identified spam, according to the release. While blocking halts the calls, labeling gives the consumer the option to answer the call or not.
All part of AT&T ActiveArmor, the company credits success to its triple-barreled protection. AT&T Call Protect offers wireless customers automatic fraud blocking and alerts for suspected spam. A global fraud team also operates an additional program blocking fraud calls from AT&T phones of every type.
The third element is STIR/SHAKEN, a new call authentication technology which boosts both programs. STIR/SHAKEN, according to the release, aids with extra data for detection and accuracy, working to assure Caller IDs aren’t illegally spoofed.
All of these technological efforts, including the boost from STIR/SHAKEN, have been the main components in the fight, said Jenifer Robertson, chief customer officer, AT&T Consumer.
“With AT&T ActiveArmor, we detect and prevent security issues with multiple layers of protection,” Robertson said in the release. “Our robocall efforts are a prime example.”
The company’s work has even helped with legal proceedings. At least seven federal enforcement actions against phone scammers last year were fueled by evidence gathered by AT&T, according to the company.
Eventually, AT&T hopes to reach a point where its systems are blocking less calls, explained Robertson, as this can then be a major sign for the industry.
“Our ultimate goal is to be able to report fewer blocked calls, as an indication that fewer illegal calls are being sent,” said Robertson. “We’ll continue to work with law enforcement and the Industry Traceback Group to trace illegal calls back to the source.”
Significant strides have been made through the traceback group. Its work has helped the FCC propose a “record” $225 million fine for a spoofed caller ID campaign, according to the press release.
As for actions wireless customers need to take, blocking and labeling of calls is already built into the network, according to AT&T, for no extra cost. Customers also benefit from the fraud team’s extra blocking program and the STIR/SHAKEN data feeding into it.
Further information and resources can be found on AT&T’s website, https://www.att.com/security/.