(CBS News)- Verizon, one of the nation’s largest wireless providers, is set to release new technology to stop robocalls from reaching your phone. The company is reportedly set to offer customers free spam-blocking tools by the end of the week.
Americans received an estimated 47.8 billion robocalls in 2018. More than 46 percent of those were from scammers.
Verizon announced in January it would ultimately offer free call-blocking tools, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. That month alone, there were nearly 5.2 billion robocalls, a historic high. Verizon already offers a premium service, Call Filter, that includes spam detection and reporting features for $2.99/month.
It will now offer some of those features for free. It’s part of a national push to meet FCC protocols that allow carriers to verify calls with a “digital fingerprint” and weed out potential “spoofed” phone numbers.
AT&T and Comcast announced last week they successfully conducted caller verification tests using the FCC guidelines. In November, T-Mobile took CBS News behind the scenes of its robocall crackdown. We saw its Scam ID program, which helps customers screen and block problem calls. A company vice president called efforts to stop scammers “an arms race.”
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has urged the nation’s carriers to uniformly adopt the robocall protocols by the end of the year. Last month, he threatened “regulatory intervention” if they fail to meet that deadline.