T-Mobile Scam Shield, STIR/Shaken, spam protection failed me today

This has been Paul’s very terrible no good bad T-Mobile day.

TL;DR – in 24 hours spoofed calls, spam texts, and 23 impossible calls in a row.

So I don’t have answers to this, I’ve asked and basically been given a $4 credit, but Scam Shield has been getting only about 50% of scam and spam calls, and STIR/SHAKEN, which was completed by T-Mobile for all carriers in March according to their press release, doesn’t seem to be doing much in the way of stopping spoofing.

I started out today just planning on cancelling Scam Shield. It got exactly half of the scam calls in the couple of weeks I looked at it. I still got call after call for car warranties, scam IRS calls, etc. Really, 50% catch rate is not worth $48 a year for me. I mentioned that scams and spam was getting through, and was just given a credit and the option to cancel it. Can’t really expect a CSR to launch a multi-tiered investigation into the operations of scammers.

Immediately after I told them I’d cancel it tonight (I wanted to see the numbers I’d blocked in app and make sure I had them to block in the Android phone app,) I got spoofed impossible phone numbers calling me 23 times in a row in the space of two minutes. Below picture is a screenshot of 8 of the calls in my notification window.

2021 06 18 19.55.53 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

These are calls that are getting presented to me as having been blocked by scam shield, and presumably will make it to me when I have discontinued the service. That number shouldn’t have even been able to call me because it’s not a possible phone number in the US. No, I didn’t edit it.

For those not in on US phone number schema – the area code is doable in the US (it’s Nashville’s, 615, makes it look local) but the Central Office (second set of 3 digits) “123” is not. Per the NANP numbering format it’s NXX with N being a number 2-9, and the Xs being whatever. There’re some more rules, but the 4th digit of that phone number can’t be a 0 or a 1. Basically if you were to dial sans area code (which you can do from some landlines still I’ve heard,) that’s “long distance code, 235-226” which is not a number.

STIR/SHAKEN doesn’t even have to be brought into this. That number is invalid in the US. It should have been presented to T-Mobile, and they should have rejected processing the call so I didn’t get 23 notification alerts in a freaking row.

They claimed to have implemented number verification in 2019 (second large paragraph in the press release,) and yet a number I can look at and tell you is fake is allowed through 23 times in a row. Yeah, something’s afoot.

Scam Shield (in the app, the above was a screenshot of the notification bar overload,) decided the phone number was +61 512 5226. For those who haven’t called Australia lately that’s their country code and then about 3 too few digits to connect anywhere. I’m not going to claim to be as familiar with the Australian numbering format, but that doesn’t appear to be something that should have routed either.

But since T-Mobile claimed victory over spoofing I realized that I’ve been getting some extremely odd calls. Display names that looked like phone numbers with a letter before them (Android caller log identified the real number,) and most interestingly on June 2nd at 3ish I got a call for “insurance confirmation” from my work’s return phone number. I don’t know if it passed the caller ID name of my work, since it’s a contact it popped up what I’d named it.

But more on spam – getting text spams, and spam through the email to text gateways. This might have gotten better lately but I haven’t been paying that much attention to that route of scams.

I don’t know what it’s like on other carriers now, but since coming to T-Mobile I just don’t answer the phone any more. I don’t know if my number exploded on the scamapalooza list in the past 7 months, or if it’s T-Mobile (which immediately after the switch it started getting bad.) It’s not good, and when I say an experience here is worse than Sprint (in terms of annoying contacts,) let me tell you it’s bad.

Yeah, maybe I’m the outlier because I’ve had this phone number for 21 years now, but damn if it doesn’t feel like it’s become useless as a way to contact me since I switched and immediately started getting spammed with their email to text gateway.

Fix it guys

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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