What Are “Scam Likely” Calls & How to Block Them

February 15, 2022
What Are “Scam Likely” Calls & How to Block Them
February 15, 2022

Have you just received a call from “Scam Likely”? 

As you might have guessed, these calls are probably not your friend or a family member on the other end of the line, they’re more likely to be nuisance calls and potential scams.

Scam calls are growing increasingly more common and according to a recent report, 59.4 million Americans lost money to phone scams in 2021.

In an effort to tackle this growing menace, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put pressure on cell carriers to identify and flag potential spam and scam calls in order to help protect their customers. The “scam likely” feature is the result of this initiative.

In this article, we’ll explain the following:

What are Scam Likely calls?

Close up Suspected Spam call on a smartphone. Cybercriminals preying on online users.

Scam likely is a default feature provided by T-Mobile to warn its users about potential scam calls. Whenever you receive a call, T-Mobile verifies the number against a database of reported scam phone numbers. If the number that is calling you has previously been reported as a scam, the caller’s number will be shown as “Scam Likely” on your screen.

How reliable is the Scam Likely filter? 

As no spam filter technology is 100% accurate, it’s possible that some legitimate calls might get wrongly labeled as “scam likely”. However, this is rare. Therefore, if you decide to answer a scam likely call, use an abundance of caution.

Also – not all scam numbers are picked up and flagged by the scam likely filter. This is especially the case with new numbers that scammers have just started using. Therefore, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security believing that any call not labeled as scam likely must be legitimate. 

STIR and SHAKEN

“Scam likely” is just one of the results of The FCC’s STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards that were set in 2018 to protect consumers from phone scams. 

This means that it’s now the responsibility of the phone companies to warn their customers about possible threats. The validation process works by authenticating numbers as they go through the complex web of networks. Numbers that don’t pass this validation get automatically marked as “Scam likely”.

Why do I keep getting scam likely calls?

Your phone number has fallen into the hands of scammers. There are many ways scammers can get hold of your number and other personal details, such as legally from data brokers and illegally from stolen data sold on the dark web. 

How do scammers get hold of your personal details?

If you’ve never willingly shared your phone number online, you might wonder how it’s possible that your information has ended up in the hands of the scammers. Sadly, most consumers don’t have much control over how their personal information is shared online. 

Companies called data brokers scrape the internet for personal data, then sell this onto other businesses. Data brokers scrape data from sources including online public records and social media. 

Therefore, if you want to reduce the amount of scam likely calls you’re receiving, it’s essential that you remove your personal data from data broker sites. 

How to remove yourself from data broker sites

All legitimate data brokers will remove your personal data if you request this. However, many of them will make you jump through plenty of hoops first. You can do this by yourself, using our free DIY opt-out guides and following the step-by-step instructions provided. 

However, this can be extremely time consuming as there are dozens of data brokers. Also – your data will usually be relisted at some point, meaning you need to be regularly checking every single data broker website.
But there is an easier way! You can join DeleteMe and let us take care of all of the hard work for you. Our plans start from just $10.75 per month.

How to block scam likely calls

Even though having suspicious calls marked as “Scam likely” is a good security measure, many people prefer not to receive these calls at all. So here’s how to block scam likely calls on iPhone and Android if you’re a T-mobile customer.

How to block scam likely calls with T-Mobile

T-mobile offers an easy solution to block all scam likely calls. No matter what device you use, all you need to do is to dial ​​#662# and that’s it (assuming that T-mobile is your phone carrier).

A number of other services are also provided by T-Mobile. If you’re unsure whether you’ve already blocked scam likely calls, you can check by calling #787#. And in case you want to start receiving these calls again and remove the scam block, just call #632#.

How to block scam likely calls on Android

If blocking scam-likely calls doesn’t feel like enough protection for you, you can also turn on an additional filter on your android device that blocks calls from any unknown numbers.

This is how you do it:

  1. Open Phone app
  2. Click three-dot menu at the right corner
  3. Click “Settings”
  4. Click “Blocked numbers”
  5. Toggle on the “Unknown” feature
block unknown phone number

While this is a very effective way to protect yourself from scammers, it may also block some legitimate calls as well.

How to block scam likely calls on iPhone

A similar option is available on iPhone, where you can silence these calls and send them to voicemail.

Silence unknown callers on iPhone:

  1. Go to settings 
  2. Click “Phone” and scroll down
  3. Enable “Silence Unknown Callers”
silence unknown calls iphone

How to stop scam likely calls on other carriers

While T-mobile is the only carrier that uses the scam likely feature, all other major carriers provide similar services to customers. Here’s a rundown of these.

AT&T

AT&T provides a service called Call Protect, a free app that blocks nuisance calls. They also offer a paid version which has more extensive security features. The free app provides the following services:

  • Spam and fraud call blocking 
  • Nuisance call alerts
  • Unknown call blocking
  • Personal block list
at&t mobile security website

VERIZON

Verizon also provides a free Call Filter app that blocks potential spam calls. The paid version of the app has additional features but the free version provides the following services:

  • Spam detection
  • Spam filtering
  • Spam & blocked call log
  • Spam reporting
  • Neighborhood filter
verizon call filter app

Wrapping Up

Now you should know what scam-likely calls are and how to block them. 

Blocking these calls to avoid being scammed is a good start, but the safest way is to make sure the scammers won’t be able to access your phone number in the first place. 

As many scams happen as a result of selling and sharing the personal information of consumers online, the best protection is to remove your personal information from the web.

Without this access to your personal information, the scammers won’t be able to call you.

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