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AT&T's New Robocall-Fighting Tool Adds Logo Images to Caller ID

The new technology is another way to help you tell real companies from fraudsters.

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David Lumb Mobile Reporter
David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
Expertise smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, telecom industry, mobile semiconductors, mobile gaming
David Lumb
2 min read
A phone screen with a "Suspected Spam" warning, with little toy robots in the background
Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T is adding company logos to caller ID to help you sort authentic calls from scams. 

US carriers have been using a caller authentication system, the Stir/Shaken protocol, for years to fight robocalls. The technology uses digital signatures to prove that real businesses are calling people. AT&T is partnering with credit reporting agency TransUnion to roll out Branded Call Display, adding another layer of verification.

Branded Call Display uses logos from participating companies to let AT&T customers know that they're receiving a call from an actual company. The calls must first be verified using the Stir/Shaken protocol to prevent malefactors from spoofing images of trusted companies.

A smartphone screen with a logo for a company appearing on a call screen -- in this case, TransUnion's circular white logo with the letters 'tu' in blue.

An example of a company logo that appears when a carrier uses Branded Call Display to authenticate a call.

AT&T

Branded Call Display works on both iPhone and Android devices, and phone owners won't need to do anything to get the functionality. If your provider uses Branded Call Display, you'll start to see company logos popping up. 

Only AT&T customers will see the logos at first, as it's the first announced major service provider to use the technology, which was created by caller identification solutions company TruContact. Other carriers may follow if they also choose to integrate it. But the onus is on companies to be included in this additional vetting -- if they want their logos to show up on peoples' phones, they'll need to subscribe with TransUnion.

Read more: How to Stop Those Annoying Spam Calls You Get Every Day

Back in 2018, AT&T and T-Mobile jointly announced plans to use the Stir/Shaken protocol on their networks, and it was shortly adopted by other major mobile service providers. In the years following, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that even smaller providers implement the protocol by the middle of 2023 as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to fight robocalls.

While the FCC has continued its crackdown by issuing warningsshutting down repeated robocaller providers and blocking their communications into the country, millions of Americans are still beset by scam calls. Branded Call Display is another way for people to decide whether to risk picking up the phone or send sketchy callers straight to voicemail.

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