AT&T makes it harder for spam callers to reach you

Robot reaching out

Robot reaching out

The ruling requires that phone carriers use "reasonable" call data to make decisions on what counts as a robocall, inform customers of the automat blocking and provide customers with an opportunity to opt out of the service.

The service will be available on all new lines and added to existing lines in the coming months.

For customers who are exhausted of these calls and don't want to wait to get access to the new blocking protection, AT&T says downloading the AT&T Call Protect app will offer this same benefit. With this announcement, AT&T will basically enable that service by default for all its subscribers, with the option to opt-out. Those customers will be notified by text when the service is active.

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.

AT&T's service will attempt to block fraudulent calls and alert customers when a call may be spam.

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An automatic spam-blocking service that sends robocalls immediately to voicemail will cost $4 a month.

If you are an AT&T Phone customer with a home line, you also can get help. Alternatively, customers can sign into myAT&T and enable fraud call blocking in their account settings. Calls that AT&T categorizes as "fraud" won't ring your phone, but calls categorized as "spam" will ring your phone despite coming with a warning. AT&T's Call Protect website says further that "Suspected spam may include service messages and/or other permitted calls".

It's expected that many phone carriers will implement similar features in the future.

The free service automatically blocks suspected fraud calls, such as calls from fraudsters claiming they are from the IRS and demanding money. Call Protect Plus also includes Enhanced Caller ID that identifies the caller name and location.

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