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Comcast, AT&T take steps to combat scams

Comcast, AT&T take steps to combat scams

March 23rd, 2019 by The Philadelphia Inquirer in National News

Comcast and AT&T said Wednesday that they successfully verified that calls between two separate networks were authentic as they work to combat the surge in scam calls.

The successful test of call authentication technology between different networks is believed to be an industry first, the companies said.

The rapid rise of robocalls has been driven in part by caller ID "spoofing," in which scammers place calls that appear to come from local numbers or legitimate businesses. Nearly half of all mobile calls this year will come from scammers, according to First Orion, an Arkansas-based call management company.

The phone industry plans to implement technology that lets consumers know that incoming calls are actually from the owner of the number listed on a caller ID.

AT&T and Comcast said that they expect to authenticate customer calls later this year. T-Mobile has already deployed the technology on three devices, though it verifies calls only within the T-Mobile network.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai demanded in November that the phone industry launch the system no later than this year so that consumers can trust their caller IDs again.

AT&T and Comcast said their successful test, conducted March 5, was done between the AT&T Phone digital home service and Comcast's Xfinity Voice home phone service—not in a lab or restricted to special equipment. The telecommunication giants said major service providers will conduct similar tests with each other's systems over the coming months.

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