SOURCE: WhitePages

Whitepages

March 24, 2016 08:00 ET

Tax Season Is Upon Us: Fight the IRS Phone Scam With New Auto-Blocker From Whitepages

New Whitepages ID Feature Auto Detects and Blocks Known IRS Scam Numbers; Whitepages Data Reveals Area Codes Where IRS Swindles Are Most Prevalent

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Mar 24, 2016) - With the April 18th Tax Day deadline looming, IRS scam calls are at an all time high. Whitepages, the leading source for caller identification and phone spam detection in North America, today released a new and improved version of its Whitepages ID app for Android. The app protects users from the headache of these cons, with a new Auto-Blocker that automatically stops known IRS scam calls from reaching the user. Based on millions of calls identified and blocked, including a long list of the IRS' own numbers that are being abused, the company also revealed the top 10 US metros where IRS scam calls originate, with Washington, D.C. topping the list.

Of the 300 million incoming calls that Whitepages scans per month in the US, more than 15 million are classified as "unwanted." In 2015, Whitepages identified the IRS scam as the number one type of scam call, with more than 1.2 million of these types of calls being made per month, accounting for at least 8 percent of all calls blocked by users. In addition, comparing February data from 2014 to 2016, IRS scam calls have grown exponentially, at nearly 2,500 percent over the past two years.

"Fraudulent phone scams are on the rise and, while some carriers and handset makers are starting to solve this problem, consumers need ways to educate and protect themselves," said Jan Volzke, Vice President, Reputation Services at Whitepages. "While the IRS scam is far from the only unwanted call identified by our leading technology, it's certainly top of mind this busy tax season. We want to help ease concern by making sure a large majority of those calls never reach their intended targets."

New updates to the Whitepages ID app include:

  • IRS Scam Auto-Blocker. The latest feature in Whitepages' continued efforts to protect consumers from both annoying spam and potentially dangerous scam calls, any incoming call that has been identified through the company's proprietary algorithms as being a known IRS scam number, will be automatically blocked and the call will not ring through to the user's phone. The Auto-Blocker also includes protection from numbers that the IRS has officially flagged as suspicious.
  • Adjustable Auto Blocking features. While the Auto-Blocker stops scam calls like the IRS scam from ringing phones, users have the option to keep this auto feature on, or adjust the protection level based on type of call including: Scam or Fraud, Suspected Spam, Hidden Numbers, or International Numbers. 
  • Custom Alerts. As scammers switch phone numbers in an effort to avoid detection, users will be alerted to popular or new area codes where scam calls are originating, so they can remain on the defense against numbers that may not yet have been blocked.
  • IRS Specific Reporting. Users can now easily report IRS specific scam numbers back to Whitepages to continually improve the experience for other consumers. 

While Washington, D.C. tops the list of areas where these tax scam calls originate, Washington and New York state are both repeat offenders. The top area codes currently associated with the IRS Scam, ranked in order, are as follows:

1. 202 (Washington, D.C.)
2. 509 (Spokane and eastern WA)
3. 206 (Seattle)
4. 360 (Western WA)
5. 347 (New York City)
6. 253 (Southern WA)
7. 315 (Upstate NY)
8. 832 (Houston)
9. 914 (Westchester County, NY)
10. 646 (New York City)

To learn more or download the Whitepages Caller ID app for Android, please visit: http://www.whitepages.com/caller-id

About Whitepages
Whitepages is the leading source for caller identification and phone spam detection in North America and proud partner of Samsung and TMobile. With a database of more than 600 million mobile and landline phone numbers in the US, and over 1.5 billion unique numbers in its global database, Whitepages leverages its extensive data insights to identify unknown calls and texts and to monitor phone-based threats for consumers and businesses. Whitepages scans more than 300 MM incoming calls per month, and has detected more than one billion robo, telemarketing and scam calls and texts to date.

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