Verizon making spam, robocalling features free for all customers


Robocalls and spam calls might soon be less of a problem for Verizon customers.

The carrier will offer its spam and robocalling protection features to all customers for free, starting in March. The tools will be available to Verizon customers with compatible smartphones, including iPhone and Android devices. Verizon promised to share information on how to sign up as it gets closer to launch.

Currently priced at $3 per line per month, Verizon’s Call Filter service displays an alert if an incoming call is likely a robocall, spam, or fraudulent. You can also set up a filter to automatically send these calls to voicemail.

Rival carriers T-Mobile and AT&T already offer similar features for free.

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T-Mobile last week became the first in the industry to launch a caller-verification feature based on the STIR and SHAKEN standards FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has pushed for. The feature, which lets wireless users know when a call is authentic, is currently limited to Galaxy Note 9 handsets, but T-Mobile said it will be available on “more smartphones later this year.”

T-Mobile started flagging known scam calls for its users in 2017. The company’s Scam ID feature, which is included in all T-Mobile postpaid plans at no extra cost, pops up a warning if a call is coming from a number identified in PrivacyStar’s database of scam callers.

AT&T, meanwhile, has been offering a similar service called Call Protect to customers for free since the end of 2016.

According to recent data from Truecaller, 7 percent of all spam calls in the US are scams. Unfortunately, many of those scams are effective. Last April, Truecaller said that one in 10 American adults had lost money to a phone scam in the past 12 months.

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