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T-Mobile Kills Phone Spam with Caller Verification

In our newsroom, whenever someone gets a phone call, it's often from a scammer, spammer or other unwanted caller. T-Mobile, the so-called un-carrier, is further differentiating itself from the crowd by being the first carrier to launch caller verification using the STIR and SHAKEN standards (no, James Bond was apparently not consulted).

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

In a press release today (Jan. 10), T-Mobile declared "It’s a bad day to be a scammer."

The carrier is launching this new feature via the most recent Samsung Galaxy Note 9 software update. Call recipients on those phones will notice a Caller Verified identifier on the incoming call screen after T-Mobile confirms the authenticity of a caller, letting users know that the call is OK to pick up.

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You won't need to do anything to get caller verification working, according to T-Mobile, which stated that "it's already working for [updated Note 9 users] ... for free."

What if you're a T-Mobile customer using something other than a Galaxy Note 9? Then you'll have to wait, but perhaps not too long: T-Mobile said that "Caller Verified will be available on more smartphones later this year."

While T-Mobile is the first to go live with these technologies, Verizon revealed its 2019 plans to implement STIR and SHAKEN last May. T-Mobile announced its readiness in Nov. 2018.

According the TransNexus firm, STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) use "digital certificates, based on common public key cryptography techniques, to ensure the calling number of a telephone call is secure." This is similar to how many networks and websites, and even applications, confirm their trustworthiness.

T-Mobile promises interoperability, saying "Once other wireless providers implement STIR/SHAKEN, Caller Verified will work on calls made across networks."