AT&T turns on automatic robocall blocking for wireless customers

Robot reaching out

Robot reaching out

New AT&T customers will have the feature automatically added to their new accounts, while "millions" of current customers will be notified of the addition "over the coming months".

This work comes amid growing a uproar from the federal government and customers over spam calls. It clarifies that call-blocking tools may be offered by phone service providers on an "opt out" basis.

At its June 6 meeting when the FCC cleared the way for carriers to automatically block robocalls, there was some concern expressed that carriers might charge for the service. Customers will get a text message when the service is added.

Dallas-based AT&T will soon become the first US carrier to automatically block robocalls for millions of customers after an FCC ruling enabled the company to expand its efforts to fight back against spam callers.

Spam calls can not only be irritating, but often they are illegal scams. Americans received a staggering 3.4 billion robocalls in a single month.

In a statement, Joan Marsh, AT&T's executive vice president of regulatory & state external affairs said the FCC has been a "tremendous partner in the war on robocalls". Alternatively, customers can sign into myAT&T and enable fraud call blocking in their account settings.

The company already provided call blocking to mobile customers who downloaded the AT&T Call Protect app or opted in via their account settings.

AT&T is the first carrier to launch a feature for blocking fraudulent calls which is turned on by default, but other carriers offer similar features. Verizon's Call Filter service must also be activated before users can find out if a call is likely coming from a spammer.

The free way is to make a personal block list using the basic version of AT&T's Call Protect service. AT&T says it identifies fraud and spam calls "through data analytics and network blocking, as well as reports from customers".

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