T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert has unveiled the company’s latest Un-carrier move, a comprehensive set of protections against a pervasive problem affecting everyone with a phone: scams and robocalls.
The move, called Scam Shield, is the company’s response to a rising tide of scammers preying on Americans at their most vulnerable — a problem that’s only grown more severe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Americans have already lost over $80 million to COVID-related scams this year, and it’s just getting worse — coronavirus scams increased 70% from May to June.1 Enter Scam Shield, an unparalleled set of free safeguards — including technology built into the heart of T-Mobile’s network — to protect customers against scams and robocalls at this critical time.
Scam Shield attacks this complex problem from all angles with a series of moves designed to stop scammers in their tracks, give you more information about who’s calling and protect your personal information, including:
• Free Scam ID and Blocking. Suspicious calls are flagged, and customers can turn on scam blocking to never see those calls again.
• Free, Enhanced Caller ID. If we know who’s calling, you’ll know who is calling. And with new improvements, you’ll know when the number is verified as coming from a real person or business.
• Free Second Number. Introducing T-Mobile PROXY, a second number to keep your personal number personal.
• Free Number Change. If your personal number becomes a spam magnet, get a clean slate with a new number.
• Free Scam Shield App. The central spot to activate these new protections and, for an extra charge, unlock more advanced call controls. Sprint customers now get free protections — previously an added charge — in the upgraded Call Screener app.
• Free Be ID Aware Service. Get ID monitoring and alerts for 12 months from the experts at McAfee, available for a limited time.
Scam Shield is T-Mobile’s first Un-carrier move since merging with Sprint and includes protections for the whole family: T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint customers. And it comes as new research shows that T-Mobile’s network is already 30% better at detecting scam calls than other major networks — and that’s before Scam Shield.
“Now that Sprint is a part of T-Mobile, we can take on even bigger problems, so today, we’re taking on one of the biggest pain points in wireless — scams and unwanted robocalls,” said Mike Sievert, CEO at T-Mobile. “Scam Shield has never been more needed than it is right now. Scammers see COVID-19 as an opportunity to take advantage of Americans at their most vulnerable. When we saw that happening, we knew we had to take bold, swift action. With Scam Shield, T-Mobile customers get fewer scam calls, period … and it’s all because of our advanced network.”
“This is one of the reasons Mama and I love working with T-Mobile,” said six-time Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Anthony Anderson, who hosted the announcement webcast. “When they see a problem — like the rising tide of scam calls — T-Mobile takes bold action. Bye, scammers!”
Americans were barraged by over 58 billion scam and unwanted robocalls last year, costing them over $10 billion a year. And last year, the number of scam and unwanted robocalls grew by 22%. Today, scammers see an opportunity in the global pandemic and are poised to take advantage of consumers’ health and financial fears. As the coronavirus began making news, scammers already made an estimated 1 million or more COVID-19 related calls per day to Americans’ smartphones, and they were only getting started — COVID scams increased 70% from May to June and have already cost Americans over $80 million this year. Any of us could fall victim — in fact, the latest research shows 20-somethings are nearly three times as likely to fall victim to scams as seniors.
T-Mobile to Carriers: “Be Better”
Like all Un-carrier moves, Scam Shield started by listening to customers. And they’ve had it. Scams and robocalls are the #1 complaint to the FCC. And also like all Un-carrier moves, Scam Shield is designed to change wireless for good and challenge Verizon and AT&T to take this problem seriously, especially now.
T-Mobile execs challenged the Carriers to step up, put customers ahead of profits and stop charging for basic protections. Verizon charges up to $7.99 per month — nearly $100 a year — for protections including something as simple as Caller ID! This is decades-old technology that helps keep customers in the driver’s seat to make informed decisions on when and whether to answer.
And the Carriers know it — Verizon even made Caller ID free for a few months at the start of the coronavirus pandemic … temporarily. But a temporary patch doesn’t do nearly enough to keep customers protected. The fact is, the Carriers put their bottom line ahead of customer protection. They stand to lose out on up to a potential $5 billion in revenues if they give every customer free Caller ID, free number changes and free second numbers.
“As an industry, we have to be better. Today, Verizon and AT&T are profiting off consumer fears. They’re charging to protect you from the very scams and robocalls their network brings you. It’s wrong, and it’s got to stop,” added Sievert. “We can be better, and at T-Mobile, we will continue righting the wrongs of this industry. Today, I’m challenging the Carriers to get off their assets, stop profiting from fear and do the right thing, because everyone needs and deserves protection now, more than ever.”
Up Next: Supercharged Competition
Sievert also pre-announced a major merger milestone coming August 2, as the company combines brand operations with Sprint, unifying under the T-Mobile brand nationwide for the first time. On that day, T-Mobile emerges as the newly combined company’s flagship brand in retail, with most legacy Sprint stores rebranding with a fresh coat of magenta paint and fresh deals on the way. T-Mobile committed that a combined Sprint and T-Mobile would deliver a 5G network second to none and be a supercharged Un-carrier with the ability to up-level competition and better compete on price. Execs foreshadowed new, aggressive offers to be unveiled next week … saving people money, challenging the competition and raising the bar for the industry. Buckle. Up.
Advanced Network, Advanced Protection
The Un-carrier has been at the forefront in the battle against spammers and scammers for years. Using AI, machine learning and patented technologies, the Un-carrier analyzes call behavior to protect customers around the clock. And because defenses are built into the heart of the T-Mobile network, customers don’t need a specific device, plan or app to be protected. T-Mobile responds to new threats and updates network safeguards in real-time, literally upgrading its protections at least every six minutes, 24/7.
According to new research from analysts at GlobalData, T-Mobile’s network is already 30% better than the other major U.S. providers at identifying scam calls. But scammers aren’t just going away, and T-Mobile won’t stop at “best,” especially not in today’s climate. Enter Scam Shield.
Free Scam Identification and Blocking for Every Customer
All T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers get Scam ID and Scam Block and the full power of the T-Mobile network protecting them. This will make T-Mobile the FIRST and ONLY major wireless provider to protect every customer against scammers — no special device, plan or app required. With T-Mobile’s Scam ID, customers get a “Scam Likely” alert for suspect calls. And when customers turn on Scam Block, those calls get blocked at the network level, so customers don’t even see them. Because T-Mobile looks at actual call behavior on the network, Scam ID and Scam Block can catch spoofed calls even as scammers are changing tactics, in real-time.
And, now that Sprint is a part of T-Mobile, Sprint customers will get free protection to identify and block scam and unwanted robocalls too, in the upgraded Call Screener app, previously $2.99 per line per month. With Scam Shield, EVERY T-Mobile customer — T-Mobile, Sprint, Metro by T-Mobile and even T-Mobile LineLink home phone customers — will get free scam ID and blocking.
Free, Enhanced Caller ID
Americans get nearly 150 billion unknown calls every year3 — many of them mass-generated by scammers in hopes you’ll pick up. So we don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, and end up missing calls we really want — from the pharmacy, the kid’s school and today, even more important calls, like from contact tracers with potentially critical health information related to COVID-19. Until now, scammers and robocallers have been in the driver’s seat — it’s your phone, but they’ve forced you to avoid answering it.
With Scam Shield, T-Mobile is giving everyone FREE Caller ID — all individuals, families and small business customers on T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint (through the free upgraded Call Screener app). For millions of businesses and people not in your contacts, if we know who’s calling, you’ll know who’s calling.
And, with new improvements using STIR/SHAKEN technology, T-Mobile also shows when a number is verified and coming from a mobile phone at T-Mobile or another wireless company that’s implemented STIR/SHAKEN. This gives customers even more assurance that it’s a real person or business calling. And that puts customers back in the driver’s seat, giving them more information to make better decisions on which calls to answer.
T-Mobile is the leader in implementing STIR/SHAKEN. The Un-carrier was first to roll out the technology, was first to make it work across networks and has integrated with Comcast, AT&T and Inteliquent — more partner networks than anyone, so more T-Mobile customers get number verification than anyone else in the industry.
Free Second Number
When email spam got out of control, we all got a second email address. Now, T-Mobile customers can get that same thing, for their phone number. Introducing T-Mobile PROXY — a free second number, so you can keep your personal number personal. It’s like a free spam folder for your phone. No extra line to pay for, no special phone required.
A PROXY number can be easily managed in the T-Mobile DIGITS app, and the whole family can share and use it anytime you don’t want to give out your personal number. PROXY calls, voicemails and texts stay separate from your main number, and you can check them anytime in the DIGITS app. Customers on Magenta, Magenta for Business and Essentials plans can get one free PROXY number per account.
Free Number Change
If your personal number has become a spam magnet, shake persistent scammers with a new number for free, while Carriers charge up to $36 for a clean slate.
Free Scam Shield App
The new, free Scam Shield app (formerly Name ID) is the place to activate all these protections — it’s where you can turn Scam Block on and off, access free Caller ID, find out how to get a PROXY number and number change, and check out the new dashboard that shows all the calls the network has flagged and blocked for you, in real time.
Scam Shield Premium gives customers even more control. Send entire categories of unwanted robocalls directly to voicemail, like telemarketers; create ‘always block’ lists; and get voicemail-to-text for at-a-glance access to your voicemails. Scam Shield Premium is just $4 per month per line for T-Mobile postpaid customers and is included at no extra charge for customers with Magenta Plus.
Free Be ID Aware with McAfee for T-Mobile
The Un-carrier is going beyond bolstering their own technologies to protect customers. T-Mobile has partnered with the experts at McAfee to help protect customers’ identity. Introducing Be ID Aware — a new 12-month identity monitoring alert service. With Be ID Aware, customers will be notified when their private info shows up on the underbelly of the internet, so they can take action to protect themselves, like change passwords, monitor transactions or put credit freezes in place. If their identity is compromised, recovery specialists will help restore it. And those specialists will also help cancel and replace ID and credit cards if a customer’s wallet is lost or stolen.
T-Mobile postpaid and Metro by T-Mobile customers can download Scam Shield starting July 24 on App Store or Google Play. To turn on Scam Block right now, T-Mobile postpaid and Metro customers can simply dial #662# to tell T-Mobile’s network to stop those calls before they ever reach your phone.