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Identify and block potential spam calls with these simple steps. Scam likely calls are those incoming calls flagged by your carrier as potentially fraudulent or unwanted. Take action to prevent these calls and enhance your overall call-blocking capabilities

Scam Likely Calls
What Are Scam Likely Calls? Can You Block Them? 3

 

Why Are You Getting Spam Calls?

Even with strict consumer protection laws, spam calls remain a challenge to control. Last year, over 11 million people on the National Do Not Call Registry got unwanted voicemails from a real estate company promising money for signing a long-term agreement. The government is trying to stop such cases, but new scams keep appearing.

Why does this happen? Scammers can easily get hold of phone numbers. Your number might be on a list in the wrong hands, leaked in a data breach, or sold on the Dark Web.

While you can’t completely stop access to your number, you can regain control. Identifying and blocking scam calls is crucial to protect yourself from the worst-case scenario, like identity theft.”

What Are Scam Likely Calls?

“Incoming calls labeled as ‘Scam likely’ on your caller ID typically indicate that your carrier suspects the call might be spam or a fraudulent attempt.

Different carriers employ varied methods to identify scam calls, often utilizing machine-learning algorithms that analyze call frequency, duration, and origin. Carriers also differ in how they notify users about potential scam calls.

For T-Mobile customers, scam numbers appear as “Scam Likely,” and T-Mobile has implemented measures to prevent “neighborhood spoofing,” a tactic where spammers match the area code and three-digit prefix of your number [*].

AT&T provides free spam call protection and alerts. Users with the “Call Protect” feature enabled see “Valid Number” with a green check mark for registered calls, while scam numbers are labeled as “Suspected Scam” or “Spam Risk.” AT&T may also categorize calls as “Telemarketer,” “Political,” “Nonprofit,” “Survey,” or “Robocaller” based on available information. Sprint customers, being part of T-Mobile, enjoy the same level of protection.

Verizon also offers spam protection features through Call Filter, screening incoming calls on iPhones, Android phones, and smartwatches for robocalls and potential fraud. These calls are identified as “Potential Spam,” “Robo Caller,” or “Potential Fraud”

Why Are Calls Flagged as “Scam Likely?

“The FCC mandates U.S. telecom providers to minimize the volume of spam calls reaching their customers, employing the STIR/SHAKEN framework to identify and mitigate such calls.

STIR/SHAKEN combines two caller ID authentication standards, Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) [*]. These standards play a crucial role in verifying caller IDs for calls transmitted over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, a vital process as scammers often disguise their numbers.

The core concept of STIR/SHAKEN involves collaborative efforts among carriers as calls traverse interconnected networks on the internet. Originating carriers mark calls as legitimate or not, and other carriers validate this decision. The more carriers affirm a number’s legitimacy, the higher the likelihood that it originated from that specific number, reducing the risk of scams.

As of 2022, the FCC has implemented stringent compliance requirements for gateway providers to combat international robocalls. Gateway providers must adhere to STIR/SHAKEN protocols and implement additional measures to verify the identity of routed traffic [*].

Additional safeguards for consumers include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), established in 1991, which regulates telemarketers’ use of automatic dialing systems and pre-recorded messages []. The TRACED Act, enacted in 2019, empowers the FCC to crack down on the most rampant and illegal robocalls []

Types of Spam Calls

Spam calls are a relentless intrusion that, unfortunately, many of us have experienced. These unwelcome calls come in various forms, from telemarketing ploys to legal and illegal robocalls, and even sophisticated scams designed to exploit unsuspecting victims. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different categories of spam calls, understand the risks they pose, and equip you with effective strategies to block and counteract them.

Types of Spam Calls

1. Telemarketing Scams:

  • Traditional telemarketing scams involve attempting to sell you a product or service.
  • In 2022, a nationwide telemarketing conspiracy targeted over 150,000 elderly victims, emphasizing the need for vigilance in the face of evolving scams.

2. Legal Robocalls:

  • Some robocalls are legal, covering areas like political donations, debt collection, healthcare providers, and charities.
  • Although legal, these calls can be annoying. Advanced blocking features or manual blocking can help manage them.

3. Illegal Robocalls:

  • The FCC proposed a hefty fine against Cox/Jones Enterprises for one of the largest illegal robocall operations in 2022.
  • Scammers use illegal tactics like “vishing” to extract sensitive information from vulnerable groups such as car owners, students, or homeowners.

4. Scam Calls:

  • Scam calls encompass a range of dangerous tactics, including virtual kidnapping scams, impersonation of government agencies, and threats of legal consequences.
  • In 2022, the FBI Chicago warned residents about virtual kidnapping scams targeting international travelers.

How To Block Scam Likely Calls

1. Native Settings on iPhone and Android:

  • Silence unknown numbers on iPhone by navigating to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.
  • On Android, use the Google Phone app to automatically screen scam calls by turning on features like See caller and spam ID.

2. Third-Party Robocall Blocking Apps:

  • Nomorobo and Robokiller are popular apps that promise effective robocall blocking.
  • Exercise caution while setting up profiles to avoid unintentional data sharing.

3. Do Not Call Registry:

  • While it won’t eliminate all spam calls, adding your number to the Do Not Call Registry significantly reduces their frequency.
  • Telemarketers must cease calling you 31 days after your registration date.

4. Mobile Carrier Tools:

  • Utilize tools provided by major carriers such as AT&T’s Call Protect, T-Mobile’s Scam Shield, and Verizon’s Call Filter.
  • Enable features like fraud blocking, spam call termination, and personalized block lists.

5. Opt-Out from Data Broker Lists:

  • Scammers often purchase data broker lists, gaining access to personal information.
  • Opt-out from major broker lists like Whitepages, Spokeo, and People Finder to minimize the risk of targeted scam calls.

What To Do If You Receive a Suspicious Call

  1. Avoid Answering Unknown Numbers:
    • Let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail. Legitimate callers will leave a message.
  2. Do Not Share Personal Information:
    • Refrain from providing personal or financial information over the phone. Legitimate entities have secure ways to verify your details.
  3. Verify Caller Information:
    • If in doubt, hang up and independently verify the caller’s identity using a known and trusted number.
  4. Do Not Succumb to Pressure Tactics:
    • Scammers often use pressure tactics. Genuine calls will not demand immediate action or sensitive information.

Conclusion

Navigating the realm of spam calls requires a multi-faceted approach. By understanding the various types of spam calls, the risks they pose, and implementing effective blocking strategies, you can significantly reduce the impact of these intrusive and potentially harmful calls on your daily life. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and empower yourself to combat spam calls effectively.

By Zain Kirmani

Zain Hassan is a passionate writer and expert in the realms of cybersecurity and ethical hacking. With a keen interest in technology from a young age, Zain's journey into the world of cybersecurity began with an insatiable curiosity about how systems worked and a desire to understand the intricacies of digital security.

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