Today, AT&T introduced a new service for automated blocking of fraud or spam calls. Dubbed AT&T Call Protect, the system identifies specific numbers believed to be sources of fraud, and will either deliver those calls with a warning or block them outright. Users can whitelist specific numbers, although temporary blocks require downloading a separate Call Protect app. The feature is only available on postpaid iOS and Android devices, and can be activated through the MyAT&T system.
Phone companies have allowed for manual number blocking for years, and third-party apps like Whitepages and Privacystar use larger databases of untrustworthy numbers to preemptively block calls from the outside. But AT&T’s new system would build in those warnings at the network level, and give operators more comprehensive data when assembling suspected numbers. More broadly, marketing calls are subject to the national Do Not Call registry. Specific instances of fraud can still be reported through carriers or directly to police.