AT&T has just launched a new free service called Call Protect, and the wireless carrier’s subscribers can make full use of this feature to block unwanted phone calls. Basically, the Call Protect service comes in the form of a network based mobile app that is designed to offer automatic fraud blocking and alerts of suspected scam phone calls by way of the major US mobile operator’s myAT&T offering. On top of that, Call Protect also offers the capability of blocking calls from specific phone numbers for up to 30 days at a time, albeit the service currently does not have support for blocking unknown phone numbers. AT&T subscribers can enable the service through their account, or through the aforementioned dedicated Call Protect app.
As explained by Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of AT&T, via an official statement, scam calls have persisted over the last few years, and continue to pester consumers even in the digital age. The Call Protect service counts as a proactive way for the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States to defend its subscribers against such unwanted phone calls.
Also, federal regulators certainly have some influence regarding the matter. Both wireless and wireline service providers have been strongly urged by federal regulators to do their part in warding off spam calls, robocalls, and other unwanted calls. Then there is the proposed ROBOCOP Act, which would have mobile operators provide free, optional robocall blocking features for their respective subscribers. Tom Wheeler, the outgoing chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is fully supporting the ROBOCOP Act, and has personally written letters to the heads of major wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T in order to encourage them to adopt free call blocking technologies for their customers.
To the telecom companies’ and tech firms’ credit, they have responded well. AT&T, Apple, and Google, just to name a few, expressed their willingness to support the FCC’s stand on robocalls, and they have even joined the agency’s Robocall Strike Force. The solidarity of these entities have even influenced other parties to pool in their resources. Back in September earlier this year, First Orion (which developed the PrivacyStar call blocking mobile app) published results of a study that said over four percent of American consumers this year have claimed they had shared credit card information to a scammer while answering scam calls. That is easily double the previous percentage the year before.
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