Group FaceTime call spam is on the rise

Apple device users are seeing an increase in FaceTime group call spam, with some being forced to block hundreds of unknown numbers due to largely ineffective built-in privacy protections.

Detailed in an Apple Support Forums threads and social media posts, FaceTime users are faced with a flood of group calls from unknown numbers and accounts. Suspected of being the creation of the “mourners”, these calls can set off a chain reaction resulting in multiple callbacks in rapid succession in a short period of time.

As you noted, who 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 call everyone. These secondary calls are usually returns from puzzled users.

“Starting around 2 am this morning I started hosting group aceI made calls from a combination of numbers in my contacts and random numbers that I didn’t have saved. Since then I have received over 7 more calls throughout the day. Calls only ring once or twice before ending, “the original post reads.

Annoying group calls have been a problem for at least the past year.

Apple’s security measures do little to prevent massive FaceTime spam. Currently, users can block individual numbers or accounts, but not groups in bulk. That means a recipient might have to manually block 31 numbers per prank to be free from follow-up calls. Furthermore, Apple does not present an option to restrict FaceTime calls to numbers that are already in a user’s address book, a mechanism that would effectively prevent such activity.

The most drastic solutions include disassociating a cell number from FaceTime or disabling FaceTime entirely. However, both options will prevent users from receiving wanted calls.