What you need to know
- Apple users are reporting growing issues with FaceTime spam calls.
- They come from large groups of users, making them very difficult to stop.
- Users have reported receiving more than 30 calls at a time, and over 300 in just four days.
Multiple users have reported growing concerns around FaceTime spam calls from groups, which makes them very difficult to block.
As reported by ArsTechnica:
FaceTime users are getting bombarded with group calls from numbers they've never seen before, often as many as 20 times in short succession during late hours of the night.
Griefers behind the pranks call as many as 31 numbers at a time. When a person receiving one of the calls hangs up, a different number will immediately call back. FaceTime doesn't have the ability to accept only FaceTime calls coming from people in the user's address book. It also requires all numbers in a group call must be manually blocked for the call to be stopped.
According to Apple's support forums, one user reported getting more than 300 calls in just 4 days, saying the problem had been "non-stop". Worse still, some calls were answered accidentally by the user's three-year-old daughter:
"I got my first facetime spam starting 4 days ago," one user reported to an Apple support forum earlier this month. "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."
As the report explains, it seems users will call a group of other people, who then dial back when the call fails just after it has been answered, the more people who receive the calls, the more people call back:
The high volume of callbacks appears to be the result of other people receiving the call dialing everyone back when the initial call fails shortly after answering. As more and more people receive follow-on calls, they too begin making callbacks.
Whilst Apple has plenty of tools to help stop this sort of thing, unfortunately, the measures fall short because you can't block calls from a FaceTime group, only individual numbers, meaning each caller must be blocked individually. The only sure-fire means of stopping the issue is to switch off FaceTime, which of course stops you from getting all FaceTime calls, not just the ones you don't want.
As the report notes, the simplest fix from Apple would be a tool that would let users block an entire group of FaceTime users, as opposed to individuals, but it's unclear how long that would take to implement, or whether it is even possible.
Have you experienced this growing trend yourself? Let us know!