Sections on this page
- Our Take: T-Mobile Scam Shield
- Scam Protection
- Pros and Cons
- T-Mobile Scam Shield Compared
- T-Mobile Scam Shield In-Depth
- Who Is T-Mobile's Scam Shield App For?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Scam phone calls have become a huge and increasing problem in the age of the cell phone, with more than 58 billion robocalls made and more than 30 million Americans getting scammed by them in 2019 alone. Luckily, some companies are starting to figure out how to fight back. Scam call blocker apps have become a popular tool for screening calls, with several versions hitting the market in the past few years. So how does the T-Mobile Scam Shield app stack up?
Our Take: T-Mobile Scam Shield
All told, the program offers customers some of the market’s most varied options for keeping their phones safe, even before considering the additional features of the paid premium service.
Scam Shield is a newer entrant in the scam blocking arena, introduced by T-Mobile in summer 2020 to replace the company’s previous scam-blocking tech, Name ID. The company upgraded some of its scam-blocking options with the update, making for a much more inclusive app.
With Scam Shield, T-Mobile is offering a suite of tools to protect you from robocall scams, including:
- Scam ID and Blocking. Suspicious calls are flagged, and you have the option to block those numbers completely.
- Enhanced Caller ID. A sophisticated tool that verifies numbers coming from real people or businesses.
- Second Number. Another way for those you love to reach you, on a more private line.
- Number Change. The option to change your number completely if the robocalls become too intense.
- Be ID Aware. A program designed by McAfee to help ward off identity theft. Get 12 months for free when downloading the app.
- Scam Shield App. The nucleus, where the above features can be monitored or tweaked and offers additional features for a fee.
Even if you don’t download the app, the company will let you sign up for Scam Block protection—which prohibits robocalls from getting through—by dialing #662#.
And for a monthly fee of $4, you can access Scam Shield Premium, which includes a suite of additional features, such as reverse phone number lookups and getting voicemails texted to you automatically.
Pros and Cons
Nothing in life is perfect. While T-Mobile’s Scam Shield offers several protections, it isn’t without its drawbacks.
Scam Shield App Pros
- The app is available for both iOS and Android and, thanks to some massive mergers, for clients using T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, and, eventually, Sprint. It even works for landlines.
- Scam Shield comes with more protection options than those offered by other major service providers.
- Most of the main features are free, and those who were previously paying for T-Mobile’s Name ID will no longer be charged for the service.
- Easy to use. The Scam Shield app centralizes all functions, making it a one-stop-shop for everything from adding blocked numbers to changing your number.
Scam Shield App Cons
- While a majority of the features are free, not all of them are. T-Mobile charges $4/month for premium features such as creating “always block” lists and sending specific telemarketer categories directly to voicemail.
- T-Mobile’s scam-identifying tech is good but not perfect, and the Scam Shield may accidentally block some legitimate phone calls.
T-Mobile Scam Shield Compared
Scam Shield offers a bit more of a comprehensive package for dealing with unwanted calls when it comes to the competition.
The app’s options to create a proxy number or change your number completely are unique in the field of scam protection apps, along with the limited-time offer for a free 12-month subscription to Be ID Aware, a program designed to help ward off identity theft.
Still, its biggest competitors, AT&T and Verizon, offer slightly more nuance when it comes to blocking calls.
Scam Blocking + Price Compared
AT&T’s Call Protect program doesn’t just automatically block confirmed scam numbers but also redirects numbers noted as a scam risk and allows users to block all unknown numbers or report nuisance numbers.
For their part, Verizon breaks down incoming calls to be identified as “Potential Spam,” “Robo Caller,” and “Potential Fraud.” The company’s Call Filter app offers by far the simplest version of scam protection of the big three—even including the additional features of Call Filter Plus, which is also the most expensive, at an additional $2.99-$7.99 per month.
AT&T’s Call Protect Plus costs $3.99 per month, the same as T-Mobile, though even with its premium plan, the company’s program isn’t as comprehensive as Scam Shield. Still, you’ll need a more updated operating system (minimum Android 5.0 or iOS 10) to run T-Mobile’s program, compared to AT&T’s.
T-Mobile Scam Shield In-Depth
With Scam Shield, T-Mobile has built a network that’s reportedly 30% better at detecting scam calls than the other major networks.
The program utilizes everything from artificial intelligence, machine learning, and patented technologies to stay ahead of robocall trends, tracking down which numbers are bad for you and refreshing its database every 6 minutes.
To help filter out those risky numbers that may sneak through, T-Mobile utilizes STIR/SHAKEN technology, akin to a supped-up Caller ID, which can identify numbers coming from verified businesses or people.
Its proxy number option gives you another out, essentially offering a burner number that can be used to attract all the scam calls while leaving your private number free for personal communications.
Yet, these powerful features can sometimes be too effective. Some customers have reported legitimate numbers ending up on their blocked lists and have had trouble getting them back on the Scam Shield’s good side.
Other reviews note that all of their calls were blocked, while some say the app did little to nothing to prevent the onslaught of robocalls. And further reviews note that parts of the app—including reporting new scam numbers and installing a proxy number—can be cumbersome, with T-Mobile’s customer service slow to help.
But most customers don’t seem to mind. Overall, the app is highly rated, receiving 4.7 out of 5 stars on the App Store with 86,000 reviews and counting.
Who Is T-Mobile's Scam Shield App For?
All T-Mobile customers should consider using Scam Shield.
With Scam Shield, T-Mobile offers a product that’s useful for anyone experiencing robocalls—which is to say, anyone with a cell phone.
The product is free, easy to download, easy to use, and a helpful tool to keep your cell phone safe from scammers. So if you’re a T-Mobile customer who wants to remain risk and hassle-free, this app is probably for you.