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.
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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