AT&T announced new anti-robocall protections for customers of its wireless service on Friday, expanding the tools to block unwanted calls from being connected. The new products are being added at no additional charge to customers, according to an announcement from the carrier.
The new features being added to AT&T’s call blocking services are:
- Calls identified as “Spam Risk” can now be blocked automatically for no charge.
- Calls from anyone not in your address book can be sent to voicemail automatically.
- Calls can be blocked using Siri shortcuts. “Hey Siri, block the last call.”
Customers can opt in to using the new features by downloading and accessing AT&T’s Call Protect app. Once the app is downloaded, customers can use it to automatically block any call AT&T deems to be a “Spam Risk” and have it directly sent to voicemail, without the customers’ phones ever ringing. According to AT&T, ” ‘Spam Risk’ is the largest category of nuisance calls identified by AT&T Call Protect.”
“Our customers deserve more ways to combat nuisance calls and we are excited to provide more free tools to help them do just that,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of postpaid wireless products at AT&T, in a statement.
Companies in the credit and collection space are very wary of automatic call blocking. They are worried that legitimate calls, such as those from debt collectors, will be blocked and that getting in touch with individuals will become even harder. The carriers have admitted they can not assess the content of a call — just the information about from where it is originating. So, a call reminding someone of an appointment and a call reminding someone about an unpaid debt that come from the same number may both be blocked.