Verizon automatically enrolling customers in free robocall-blocking service

Verizon said it has already helped its customers avoid 1.5 billion robocalls this year.

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The cellphone service provider said Tuesday that it began auto-enrolling customers in its free Call Filter service after a recent Federal Communications Commission ruling gave phone carriers more authority to block spam calls.

“We know our customers are sick and tired of the endless onslaught of robocalls,” said Ronan Dunne, Verizon’s executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group. “Let me be clear: I am too.”

Verizon customers will need to download the company’s Call Filter app to take advantage of the service.

The app will block calls from any number reported as fraudulent and forward them to voicemail. Suspected nuisance calls will also be marked as “Potential Spam” instead of a name on the incoming call screen, or customers can set the app to block them too.

“Our team is committed to developing and enhancing the tools that will help bring relief to our customers,” Dunne said. “This is another major step in that process.”

AT&T has also promised to automatically enroll customers in its spam-blocking Call Protect service in the wake of the FCC ruling.

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Both companies were in a group of large phone carriers that signed an agreement with all 51 attorneys general last week to help authorities prosecute the people behind illegal robocalls. Kathy Grillo, Verizon’s senior vice president of public policy and government affairs, said the company “fully supports the anti-robocall principles” shared by the attorneys general.

“It’s imperative that we stand together on a common set of goals that include stopping carriers from hiding their identities, working with other carriers on efforts to trace back illegal calls to the source, and keeping the originators from sending robocalls in the first place,” Grillo said.