If it feels like half the time you answer the phone, it’s a robot or a spammer on the line you are not alone. With more and more spam calls trying to sell you insurance, suggesting you tour timeshares, or insisting you owe the IRS more money, it can be enough to make you want to set a permanent “do not disturb” on your phone. The fact that many of these calls look like they come from your own area code, even though they originate from computers many states away or across the ocean, makes it even more annoying.
Phone carriers are finally doing something about this problem later this year. According to Gizmodo, “A newly announced partnership between AT&T and Comcast will authenticate calls made between the two networks in an industry first supported by competitors including Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Google, Charter, Cox, and Vonage.” Calls will be authenticated to be sure they are not using spoofed, or fake, numbers.
The method is called “SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID.” However, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with martinis!
The acronym stands for Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs and Secure Telephone Identity Revisited. Calls that pass the test will be marked as verified. Other carriers have plans to address this issue and/or apps you can use.
However, you don’t need to wait or worry if your carrier is taking steps to fix this annoyance. Did you know there are apps you can download to cut back on these annoying calls? These are our favorites:
Automatically blocks potential fraud calls, warns of suspected spam calls and allows you to block additional callers. This service is free for their customers.
T-Mobile has several services for their customers:
Scam ID: Makes it easy to identify likely scam calls. This is free.
Scam Block: Blocks potential scammers before they reach you. Free.
Name ID: This allows you to “Identify a caller’s name and location, block calls, even send a whole category of calls directly to voicemail.” This costs $4/month per line.
Both Sprint and Verizon charge for their call blocking tools, and we recommend the following choices instead, as they work better in our opinion. Plus, they work for all carriers.
Alerts you to spam and blocks fraud calls. This service shows you the true caller ID for unsaved contacts so you can screen unwanted calls. This service offers a yearly subscription for $14.99.
If you want a more vengeful approach, this tool actually answers the spam calls and drives spammers crazy. This should result in a 90% reduction in spam calls within a month. Revenge comes at a cost of $24.99 a year.
arobasegroup has been consulting with clients and advising the best use of Apple Technology since 1998. We listen to our customers and solve problems by addressing their specific, unique needs; we never rely on a cookie-cutter solution or require them to use a specific product. arobasegroup is your advocate in all things related to information technology. Contact us to learn how we can help: info@arobasegroup.