In a bid to crack down on the unwanted spam calls that seem to be afflicting Americans at an ever-increasing clip, Verizon is working on a new tool to help weed out junk calls by automatically sending them to voicemail.
Known as the Neighborhood Filter, the new tool would automatically separate out communications from spammers that are wise to the fact that you’re more likely to pick up the phone when you think it’s someone from your hometown calling. This method — known as spoofing — allows scammers use familiar area codes in increasingly desperate and obvious attempts to get you to pick up their call, which is, more often than not, a robot calling to let you know about your car’s extended warranty.
The tool is available to access through Call Filter — an app owned and operated by Verizon that offers users a free and premium tier that costs $3 per month per line (the price is capped at $8 per month once you reach three or more lines). While Call Filter Free offers basic filtering without any of the bells and whistles, the premium tier will net you access to additional tools including a spam risk assessment meter, a personal block list and access to a database containing over 100 million confirmed spam numbers.
Verizon has seemingly been aware of the plague that is unwanted spam calls for years now; the provider initially launched Call Filter Free in 2019, although at the time the service was unavailable to prepaid customers and only available to access by postpaid accounts. With neighborhood filter, Verizon is upping the ante on its spam filtration by specifically targeting would-be scammers who would seek to use familiar area codes and prefixes to trick you.
Users who are interested in reducing unwanted spam calls can navigate to the Call Filter app using both on iOS and Android, and can toggle their settings to select whether they want blocked calls to be sent straight to voicemail or terminated automatically.