Thursday, Mar 18, 2021, 09:16 Software

FaceTime Prank Calls: More Users Reporting Spam Group Calls

More and more Apple users are being aced with an annoying phenomenon: FaceTime spam calls. Whether on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, these spam callers abuse Apple's group calling feature to bombard other users with call after call. The calls don't have any kind of commercial affiliation like traditional sales calls and are purely pranks – although not terribly good ones. Victims are often awoken in the middle of the night to call after call after call, with few applicable protective measures. Apple doesn't currently offer protective measures for group calls and so to stop a spam group call, the affected user is forced to block every individual member in the group (in some reports, including over 32 members).

Users "Sick Of It"
One user on Apple's Support Forum commented, "I got my first FaceTim spam starting 4 days ago - it has been non-stop, over 300 numbers blocked so far. My 3 year old daughter has been accidentally answering them and going on video without a t-shirt on". The user, nathanh0, then proceeded to state that his daughter uses his iPad for education purposes, although he's now hesitant to let her keep doing so. Other users reported getting called multiple times in the middle of the night and being "sick" of the entire debacle.



No Convenient Method Of Protection
Those affected by the spam callers report group calls with dozens of members in quick succession. As soon as the first call has been declined, a second call from another telephone number begins. Most users report the calls coming from unfamiliar phone numbers. The phone pranks only work because Apple has shirked on certain security measures for FaceTime. For example, it's not possible to limit incoming FaceTime calls to members of the user's contact list.

Besides, to end the group calls, each member of the call has to be blocked separately – quite the task in calls involving up to 50 members (as in some reports). There's no button to block all members of a group call. What makes the process even more difficult is that unwilling members of the group call often call back after having missed the initial call, leading to a cascade effect. How Apple plans to counter this offence remains to be seen.

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