SOURCE: WhitePages

October 17, 2014 10:00 ET

Whitepages Enriches Caller ID App With Real-Time Call and Text Spam Score

Consumers Get an Estimated 1.5 Billion Spam Calls Every Month; Phone Solicitations Accounted for 40% of All Fraud Complaints Last Year; Whitepages Offers Tips to Can the Spam

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - Oct 17, 2014) - Whitepages, the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S., today announced new call and text spam capabilities for Whitepages Current Caller ID, its free caller ID app for Android mobile devices. This enhanced version of the Whitepages Caller ID app offers the most advanced spam identification system on the market, based on real-time analysis of billions of calls, texts, and phone lookups from Whitepages' 50 million users. Consumers will now see a spam score, number of reports and comments from the Whitepages community for incoming calls identified as suspected spam. Consumers can also add their own comments on incoming spam calls to build out the company's reputation database and help warn other users. The new features add another layer of information for consumers to protect themselves against scams and inform others of spam or robocallers.

According to Pew Internet Research, 68 percent of mobile phone users receive unwanted sales and marketing calls with one-quarter saying they encounter this problem at least a few times a week or more frequently, illustrating that call and text spam is a pervasive and growing problem in the United States. The advancements in the Whitepages Caller ID app stem from the company's recent efforts to protect consumers from a number of pervasive scams this year, including the "One Ring Scam," "Grandparents Scam," various insurance call scams and most recently the "IRS Phone Scam." The Whitepages Caller ID app will alert consumers if a call comes from a number identified with those threats. The app also helps to identify calls from robocallers, which is increasingly important as the political election season gets into full swing.

"As more and more consumers move to 'mobile only' phone ownership, the nuisance of unsolicited calls and the danger of being targeted by fraudulent calls becomes more prevalent," said Alex Algard, CEO, Whitepages. "Whitepages Current Caller ID provides a consistent and reliable tool for preventing unwanted communications before you answer the call, protecting consumers from spam and dangerous and costly scams."

Whitepages data shows:

  • Consumers get an estimated 1.5 billion spam calls/texts every month
  • Over 60 percent of Americans who have blocked calls have done so for an unknown number
  • Over 6,000 numbers are used in the IRS scam

Scam, spam and fraudulent calls and texts are sent from a rapidly changing pool of phone numbers, with new ones showing up every minute due to phone spoofing and other tactics that make suspicious activity difficult to identify. With real time analytics based on a combination of user feedback and call and text activity analysis, Whitepages Caller ID is able to provide the most accurate and comprehensive spam score possible to stay ahead of emerging threats and keep consumers protected.

In addition to using mobile apps like Whitepages Caller ID, Whitepages offers the following tips for consumers to "can the spam."

  • Hang up immediately. If you get a call from a government agency asking for a payment, hang up. No one from a federal government agency will call you randomly looking for a payment, even the IRS. The same goes for a call from someone saying you've won a sweepstakes; odds are you did not, and if you did, they can send you something in writing.
  • Don't call a suspicious number back. In the case of the "One Ring Scam", the number looks similar to a number from the United States, but in fact is from the Caribbean and is not legitimate. These scammers use phone numbers that issue additional charges to the bill of the incoming caller -- most of the time consumers are unaware of the charges and they can add up very quickly.
  • Never provide credit card information or any specific personal identification, like a social security number, to a caller that you do not know personally, even if you are familiar with the business they say they are from. Recent scams include calls that spoof energy companies and Microsoft technical support, for example.
  • Do not pay money up front if you have been contacted about winning a contest or being accepted for a new insurance policy. For legitimate offers, an upfront payment is generally not required.
  • Report suspicious numbers to help others avoid threats. Whitepages offers consumers the ability to report spam phone numbers through its Caller ID app as well as at Whitepages.com.

Whitepages Caller ID recently surpassed 18 billion calls and texts made by its users and 15 billion calls and texts identified. Since it launched in August of 2012, the app has been a top 25 app in the competitive communications category on Google Play and was a finalist in the social category of the 2013 Webby Awards.

Download the Whitepages Caller ID app from Google Play, or for more information on Whitepages apps please visit: www.whitepages.com/mobile.

About Whitepages

Whitepages is the leading source for contact information in North America and is at the forefront of developing services that help people find, understand and verify personal and business identities in an ever-changing digital world. Whitepages is committed to empowering users with control, safeguarding the accuracy and authenticity of digital identities, and advancing transparency. With over 50 million unique monthly users, Whitepages offers access to more than 200 million personal and business identities and provides users with the ability to control their own. Whitepages also operates Whitepages PRO, an API and web-based service which helps businesses verify the identities of their customers. To learn more, visit http://www.whitepages.com.