Spoofed scam calls are bad enough, but neighborhood spoofing is worse — it can all be too tempting to answer when you see a number eerily similar to your own. Verizon (currently Engadget’s parent company) might have a solution. It’s updating its free Call Filter app with a “Neighborhood Filter” that blocks calls from numbers that share your area code and prefix. Scammers who try to reach you will go straight to voicemail.
You can specify other neighborhood numbers if you know scam artists use them, provided you pay $3 per month for Call Filter Plus. And yes, you can make exceptions. Any number in your contact list or allowed numbers will still get through, and you can correct an accidental block by telling the app to ignore the filter for future calls.
The updated app is available now for Android and iOS. Neighborhood filtering isn’t the most sophisticated defense against scam calls, but it’s arguably overdue. This kind of spamming is frequent, to the point where you might get multiple calls per day. A simple filter could lead to far fewer annoyances, not to mention greater trust in those calls that do come in.