AT&T will automatically block fraud calls for new customers

Existing subscribers will have to wait.

AT&T is making quick use of FCC rules explicitly allowing carriers to block robocalls by default. The network will start automatically blocking fraud calls (and issuing suspected spam call alerts) for new phone customers as a matter course, at no extra charge. You'll have to opt out if you don't want the company to screen calls this way. Existing customers, meanwhile, will see the feature automatically reach their accounts in the "coming months."

If you like the capabilities, you can turn it on right now either by downloading the AT&T Call Protect app or enabling it through your myAT&T account settings.

This could be heartening if you're an AT&T customer and tired of being peppered with robocalls and scams. We'd expect much of the industry to follow suit, if it hasn't already. With that said, there's reason to be cautious about offerings like this regardless of your provider. Although AT&T isn't charging extra, the FCC rules don't prevent it or others from using the auto-blocking as an opportunity to raise subscription rates. It may take a while to learn whether or not there are any pitfalls to what otherwise seems like a promising upgrade.