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AT&T is taking new steps to fight spam phone calls — here’s what you need to know

 Spam calls on phone.
Spam calls on phone.

AT&T has recently announced a new service that allows businesses to make branded calls out to AT&T wireless customers. It's the phone carrier's latest attempt to try and halt the influx of robotic telemarketing calls made in the US.

If you happen to have an Android phone that uses AT&T, then you will not need to do anything to start receiving branded calls from verified businesses. Instead, when one of the companies calls you, their logo will show up while the phone rings. If you happen not to pick up, then the logo will also appear in the call details.

If you're using another type of mobile OS — that means you, iPhone users — you'll need to make sure your phone is either unlocked or has facial recognition on to receive branded calls. This will make the service slightly more effective on Android devices, but it still could be a welcome addition in the fight against the influx of telemarketing calls.

Over the past decade, the number of complaints regarding telemarketing made to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has increased massively. This new plan from AT&T, which is teaming up with a credit reporting company, will theoretically allow businesses to differentiate themselves from potential spam calls.

Branded phone call screen
Branded phone call screen

“Our customers will be able to connect with greater confidence to the brands they may want or need to connect with,” Erin Scarborough, AT&T's senior vice president of mass markets product management, said in a press release

AT&T isn’t the only company included in this new offering; reportedly, Neustar is also involved. While Neustar is not a household name, it has a major impact on many people's daily lives as the company that maintains one of the central databases of phone numbers in the US. It's been called “the most important company you’ve never heard of” by Buzzfeed for complying with law enforcement surveillance requests in 2012.

Businesses will be able to participate by signing up for TruContact Branded Call Display which is accessible through credit reporting agency TransUnion. When businesses sign up to participate, they will find that their calls will use the same anti-spoofing protocols that Federal Communication Commission’s mandated carriers implement, called the STIR/SHAKEN protocol.

This is an interesting feature, and it may bring some relief to people deluged by spam calls.One of the biggest security concerns recently has been the rise of generative AI-based phone calls that can mimic everything from businesses to the voice of a loved one. However, there is no information as of yet on how this will affect cloned numbers being used or if the feature will make its way overseas in time.

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