2 Major Phone Companies Take ‘Key Step’ in Combating Robocalls

Angry woman on phone
Photo by ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Are we just months away from the beginning of the end of the dreaded robocall? New technology offers that tantalizing possibility.

Last week, AT&T and Comcast jointly announced that they had successfully made the first-ever “authenticated” calls between separate networks — AT&T Phone digital home service and Comcast’s Xfinity Voice home phone service. The calls were verified using the new SHAKEN/STIR protocol.

If that sounds like technical gobbledygook, rest assured that it is good news for anyone fed up with fielding — or trying to ignore — unwanted phone calls.

AT&T says the successful test means we could be just months away from the rollout of a new caller ID authentication technology that would enable you to know whether a caller is hiding behind a “spoofed” phone number — even if the caller is using a different phone provider.

According to AT&T’s announcement:

“SHAKEN/STIR verification lets consumers know that an incoming call is really coming from the number listed on the caller ID display. While authentication won’t solve the problem of unwanted robocalls by itself, it is a key step toward giving customers greater confidence and control over the calls they receive.

For example, a call that is illegally ‘spoofed’ — or shows a faked number — will fail the SHAKEN/STIR Caller ID verification and will not be marked as verified. By contrast, verification will confirm that a call is really coming from the identified number or entity.”

AT&T and Comcast say they hope to begin offering authentication on calls between networks to customers later this year.

AT&T’s existing anti-robocall features

AT&T’s implementation of SHAKEN/STIR standards is not the company’s first effort to screen or block unwanted calls.

According to the company, it offers “in-network systems that already label or block billions of unwanted or illegal robocalls.” Customers do not need to take any action to get this feature, which is free and automatic.

Mobile customers can also opt to use AT&T Call Protect. This service detects and blocks calls from likely fraudsters and identifies calls from telemarketers and suspected spam calls, among other features. The “Basic” version is free, and the “Plus” version costs $3.99 a month.

AT&T Phone customers can use Digital Phone Call Protect to block up to 100 callers, while traditional home phone customers can block up to 10 callers by pressing *60 after an unwanted call.

Other phone companies that offer anti-robocall features

AT&T isn’t the only company that offers services designed to screen or block unwanted calls.

In fact, the company’s recent announcement comes about two months after wireless carriers T-Mobile and Verizon announced that they were rolling out new anti-robocall technologies, as we reported in “2 Wireless Companies Introduce New Anti-Robocall Feature for Free.”

Additionally, Sprint has offered Premium Caller ID for years. This feature identifies callers who are not already in your contacts, and on some devices it also provides enhanced spam identification features, Sprint says. It costs $2.99 per month.

Sprint customers can also block specific phone numbers through their My Sprint account.

Other ways to fight robocalls today

You don’t have to wait on your phone company to improve its technology for you to start fighting back against robocalls.

As we note in “7 Ways to Quickly Stop Robocalls in Their Tracks,” several technologies are already available that promise to block robocalls.

In addition, a little common sense can go a long way to keeping robocallers from interrupting your life. Simply refusing to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers can help. So can adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry.

Finally, you can choose a phone carrier with a great reputation for identifying spam and scam calls. Last year, Lionbridge ranked carriers according to this criterion, and one came out head-and-shoulders better than the rest, as we reported in “This Wireless Carrier Is Best at Spotting Robocalls.”

How do you combat robocalls? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement
7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security
What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security

A federal minimum-wage hike could affect the Social Security system dramatically.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.