Most people learned to lean on video conferencing during the pandemic. These platforms were used for both personal and business uses. It didn’t take long for spammers and pranksters to start exploiting the platforms. macOS and iOS users are reporting that they are being besieged by group FaceTime calls that are either spam or pranks.
Group FaceTime Call Spam
Group FaceTime calls have only been available on iOS and Mac for a few years. Certainly, the feature was put to great use in the past year during the pandemic. It was found to be quite useful, along with Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc.
Just a few months after people began quarantining and sheltering at home, FaceTime users began reporting that they were being flooded by group FaceTime calls that appear to be spam or pranks. Worse yet, there doesn’t seem to be much recourse, as the numbers that are calling cannot be blocked.
There have been reports since last June of these group FaceTime calls, and the frequency seems to have picked up significantly in the past few weeks. There have been up to 31 users at a time on these video calls. When someone hangs up, a different number calls them right back, frustrating users.
Reports of the calls are being posted to the Apple Support community and Reddit. “Since then, I’ve received about seven more calls throughout the day,” said one user. “When I realized what it was, I hung up and it called back 11 more times,” said another.
One report explained how it works: “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.”
No Fix So Far
At this point, there is no fix. These calls cannot be blocked. FaceTime calls work much like regular phone calls. Each phone number or Apple ID needs to be blocked individually. If you’ve ever tried to block spam phone calls, you understand – they just call back from a different number.
You can’t block calls from outside your contact list. However, you can do that while you’re in Do Not Disturb mode. But that’s not very favorable, to operate all the time in DND.
Another option is to disable FaceTime calls altogether. But that means you’re also blocking FaceTime calls from family, friends, and co-workers. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
If this news has not deterred you from using FaceTime, check out this list of FaceTime keyboard shortcuts on Mac to use the app more productively.
Image Credit: Apple Newsroom and public domain