Call screening - the right way


    Okay; this is really easy and actually makes things easier for TMobile:


    Call Screening should be implemented like this:

    - When it's enabled by the customer, ALL calls to the subscriber's line get intercepted with a recording that prompts the caller to enter a (randomly chosen) number between 0 and 9.

    - If the caller successfully enters the correct number, the call is put through; however, if the wrong (or no) number is entered, the call is ended. No chance to leave a message.


    The above is how my MagicJack call screening works. It has successfully eliminated 99% of sales calls but 100% of the robo-calls.


    What isn't T-Mobile using this system? Why make it so freakin' complicated with having to identify "spammers" and "telemarketers"? Just force them to enter the random number and all the crap calls are eliminated - I mean I don't even have to look at my phone or decline the call or block the number!


    C'mon, Mr Legere; show some spine and get this done!

      All replies

      • smplyunprdctble

        Re: Call screening - the right way

        While I like this, the reasons I hate it are:

        1. Automated reminder messages of doctor appointments that were set up six months ago won't come through (at least once I forgot to put it in my calendar).
        2. Automated Rx refill notifications my mother gets from CVS wouldn't go through.
        3. "Tell us when to call you back" calls from companies like Comcast won't go through.
        4. Automated calls from my employer's emergency line wouldn't go through (this was used the other day where I work where all employees had to be notified of an emergency).


        While I agree the 12 robo spam calls I get a day are ridiculous, those four reasons are reasons I probably wouldn't want this feature (especially the last).  If folks don't know it's on and don't get an important message, there's going to be huge problems.

          • themacguy

            Re: Call screening - the right way

            Totally agree with your points; this is why I'd like to see this as an opt-in choice.


            Maybe if there was a simple #123# type of on/off switch we could still use the "call me back" service.


            Thanks for your comments.



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            • magenta6694906

              Re: Call screening - the right way

              Just make an option for automatically accepting calls from numbers that are in your contacts list.  Spammers aren't likely to spoof numbers from your list, so this effectively allows your friends and repeat business callers (pharmacy, office/school emergency notifications, etc) to entirely skip the validation step.


              And if you really want this process to be safe, they could offer us an option that would dump unsuccessful validation attempts into voicemail instead of just dropping the call.  Combined with the previous suggestion of a quick way to temporarily disable the screening service, you would have all the flexibility you need without having to deal with the ridiculous number of spam calls!  We need *something* to deal with this onslaught of unwanted calls.  I currently miss some legit calls because I no longer answer my phone if I don't recognize the number.  As long as this screening feature is optional, it would be a huge win for everyone!

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • smplyunprdctble

                  Re: Call screening - the right way

                  magenta6694906 wrote:


                  Just make an option for automatically accepting calls from numbers that are in your contacts list.

                  T-Mobile (or any carrier) doesn't necessarily have your contact list in their systems.  Some people have their contacts backed up to T-Mobile's whatever-it-is, but those are also the same people who freak out that they lost all their contacts when they decide to switch to a new provider.  (And, is T-Mobile doing their mobile backup thing anymore?  I remember they've discontinued some services.  I'm all but certain it's contacts because I remember a friend of mine complaining on Facebook he lost whatever it was and I told him to contact T-Force.


                  Either way, most people have their contacts backed up with either Google, iTunes, Samsung, etc.  Doesn't give the carrier any insight.


                  BUT!  Your idea is probably something that's available as an app, potentially.  But, it would require your phone (the app) to answer the call to say "hey, prove you're real".  This would not leave them the option to leave a voicemail (unless the app had a built-in voicemail maker) if you're not immediately at your phone (I know this week I'm going to be getting a phone call from a number that's probably not in my phone book that will have a real person behind it.  I'll need that voicemail instead of trying to diagnose who passed the "prove you're real" test.  I don't know what permissions apps have when it comes to the phone.  I did a one-page search on Google Play and didn't find anything, leading me to believe it may not be feasible.


                  The method I use is simple:

                  - If you're in my contact list, I may or may not answer, depending on my mood.

                  - If you're not in my contact list, I hope Google finds who it is with whatever caller id it uses (it's reverse-found the numbers used by my doctor's office -- including the call I got yesterday)

                  - If you're not in my contact list and Google doesn't find you, you go to voicemail.  I use Google Voice as my voicemail, so it's easy for me to screen the transcription whether I need to acknowledge it or delete it.


                  It's rudimentary, but it prevents me from having to maintain contact lists in two locations, gives me access to voicemails from legit unknown numbers, and I can easily delete the spam voicemails without thinking.  I would LOVE some way to get rid of robocalls but still allow reminder calls through, but that's probably something super-tough.

              • tmo_mike_c

                Re: Call screening - the right way

                We're always looking to give our customers a better calling experience and we appreciate this suggestion. I'm sending this to our internal folks for review. Though I can't guarantee it'll be something T-Mobile adopts as an option, this is good feedback about how we can make something like this better. I'm sure guessing you've already seen our Help with scams, spam, and fraud page for handling unwanted/spam calls, but I figured I'd post the link anyway.

                  • themacguy

                    Re: Call screening - the right way

                    The Caller ID spoofing, etc. dance around the edges of this problem. I don't even want to have robocallers leave me a voice message which just wastes my time; I have to listen to (a small part of) it, then delete it.


                    I resolved my problem (partially) by using conditional forwarding - which is enabled by calling *004*{the number here}05*# - (don't type the brackets). If I do not see a caller ID or the area code is not local or if T-Mobile can actually ID the caller as a spammer/telemarketer, I just decline the call and, rather than dropping the caller into my voicemail (where the robocaller may deposit a lengthy speech about medical insurance, etc.), the conditional forwarding sends them to my MagicJack phone number where their call screening works for EVERY call. (And that's what I was asking for here with my T-Mobile account!). BTW, you turn off conditional forwarding by calling ##004#


                    Now I can schedule an automated call-back from my doctor's office (or even T-Mobile) and I can see the caller ID and answer the call on my T-Mobile phone. If I decide not to answer the call (because I don't recognize the #), the call gets forwarded to the call screening on my MagicJack.


                    In all cases, a voice message gets eMailed to me so I may review it and, if necessary, act upon it. This solution also addresses smplyunprdctble's concern about not being able to answer a genuine (valid) automated call-back if it was intercepted by the catch-all screening first. Now I realize that many (most?) T-Mobile subscribers do not have any alternative phone# that has call-screening available as an option so maybe a slight alteration of my original suggestion is in order:


                    Let us turn on an optional "call-screening" service (unrelated to any external database) that only activates when the call is NOT answered (or specifically declined with a swipe). The call-screening would then ask for the caller to enter a random number in order to leave a voice message. Solves the issue of legitimate auto-callbacks from Dr's office, etc.


                    For me, however, as I prefer all my voicemail to be eMailed to me, this MagicJack workaround actually resolves things (as all callers dropped into voicemail will have to enter a random number to proceed). No more robocallers with recorded messages.