FaceTime group call spam is on the rise

Posted:
in iOS edited March 15
Apple device users are seeing an increase in FaceTime group call spam, with some forced to block hundreds of unknown numbers due to largely ineffective built-in privacy safeguards.

FaceTime


Detailed in an Apple Support Forums thread and social media posts, FaceTime users are facing a deluge of group calls from unknown numbers and accounts. Suspected to be the brainchild of "griefers," these calls can trigger a chain reaction resulting in multiple, quick-succession callbacks in a short period of time.

As noted by ArsTechnica, which first reported on the issue, pranksters can call up to 31 numbers at a time using FaceTime's group calling feature. When one person in the group hangs up or the call fails, a second call from a different number will ring everyone back. These secondary calls are typically returns from befuddled users.

"Starting around 2 am this morning I began receiving group [F]ace[T]ime calls from a mix of numbers in my contacts and random numbers I didn't have saved. Since then I've received about 7 more calls throughout the day. The calls only ring once or twice before ending," the original post reads.

The nuisance group calls have been a problem since at least last year.

Apple's security measures do little to prevent mass FaceTime spam. Currently, users can block individual numbers or accounts, but not groups en masse. That means a recipient might have to manually block 31 numbers per prank to be free of follow-on calls. Further, Apple does not present an option to restrict FaceTime calls to numbers already in a user's address book, a mechanism that would effectively avert such activity.

More drastic solutions include disassociating a cellular number from FaceTime or deactivating FaceTime altogether. Both options will prevent users from receiving wanted calls, however.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    Anilu_777Anilu_777 Posts: 260member
    The ability to restrict calls to contacts only is definitely needed.  However, if a group call includes some contacts and some non-contacts, which this prank seems to do, it also mimics a situation where this might happen normally.  I’m in an iMessage group where only half of the members are contacts.  It would be perfect if we could turn this off on a per-group basis so we could choose which groups can or cannot allow non-contacts to FaceTime us.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 507member
    AppleInsider;

    You guys have a serious forum bug.  I tried to respond while in the article webpage.  However when I click the Post Comment button, I was informed that the article thread has been closed.  I've lost my train of thought because of the serious bug.  Please correct your software.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    macseeker said:
    AppleInsider;

    You guys have a serious forum bug.  I tried to respond while in the article webpage.  However when I click the Post Comment button, I was informed that the article thread has been closed.  I've lost my train of thought because of the serious bug.  Please correct your software.
    So they close a post to prevent further comments and it disrupts your “train of thought”. Why don’t you reach out to AppleInsider by email or whatever? No need to complain about it in anther thread. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    macseeker said:
    AppleInsider;

    You guys have a serious forum bug.  I tried to respond while in the article webpage.  However when I click the Post Comment button, I was informed that the article thread has been closed.  I've lost my train of thought because of the serious bug.  Please correct your software.
    no, its all here
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    macseeker said:
    AppleInsider;

    You guys have a serious forum bug.  I tried to respond while in the article webpage.  However when I click the Post Comment button, I was informed that the article thread has been closed.  I've lost my train of thought because of the serious bug.  Please correct your software.
    no, its all here
    Agree with the other responses about this being off-topic, but since we’re on the subject, it’s only a problem in iPadOS and macOS. It isn’t an option in iOS (unless you force it to display the non-mobile page, which I don’t even know how to do). I just tested it and my comment wouldn’t post from the “article webpage” (unlike from inside the forums like I’m doing now). 
    edited March 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    Here’s my actual, on-topic comment:

    Points for using the excellent term “griefers,” which deserves much wider usage and encapsulates something essential about trolls.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,009member
    iOS sorely needs the feature where calls/messages from non-contacts can be assigned something other than the default ringer. Set this to none and the call won't bother you. Right now the only workaround to achieve this is to set the default to none and manually assign a ring tone for every contact -- for someone like me with over 1000 contacts that's an ugly task.
    watto_cobra
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