It’s become a fact of life now – if you have a phone, you probably receive spam calls. Calls from Canada Revenue warning that you’re behind on payment and now have an arrest warrant! Calls from Microsoft that they’ve detected a devastating virus on your computer and need access immediately! All scams, and all very common, but perhaps not for much longer!
Back in 2018, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it was forcing Canadian Telecoms companies to implement call blocking systems to thwart these types of automated telemarketing calls. They were given a deadline of December 2019 to start rolling out these services and we’re starting to see the results now.
They started with a simple approach by blocking impossible numbers – those which had more than 15 digits or didn’t conform to the standard telephone number scheme.
Now Bell have just announced that they’re planning to roll out a more advanced system that should really start to cut back on a lot of the scam calls we get every day. Based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), this new system which learns to recognise these scam calls is supposedly capable of blocking an additional 120 million more spam calls per month! Altogether they’re now blocking over 220 million spam calls per month!
Rizwan Jamal, president of Bell Residential and small business said, “Canadians rely on their phones to stay connected with family, friends, customers and colleagues, and customers at all carriers are justifiably frustrated by the volume of fraud calls they continue to receive,”.
According to Bell, the system “uses defined sets of typical call characteristics and proprietary algorithms to analyse and identify scam calls, even as fraudsters attempt to employ techniques to defeat the system.” So hopefully it’ll keep one step ahead of the scammers who’re always changing their tactics!
Jamal added “Our industry has made solid progress in combatting these scam calls, and Bell’s innovative new AI process would further dramatically reduce the number that get through to customers. We’re ready to take the next step, and while we welcome today’s decision by the CRTC to move the process forward, we eagerly await its approval to launch our trial,”.
The system was trialled for 90 days by Bell in July of last year (https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2020/2020-7.htm) as they needed to prove that it wouldn’t block legitimate calls. Blocked numbers are cross-referenced with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre who handle reports of fraudulent numbers from across Canada. If you’re interested, you can visit their website here: