SOURCE: WhitePages

WhitePages

December 22, 2011 08:00 ET

WhitePages Identifies the Ten Most Aggressive "Call Spammers" of 2011

Telemarketers Top the List of Most Persistent, But Debt Collectors Account for the Majority of "Call Spam"

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - Dec 22, 2011) - Following analysis of over 45 million unsolicited calls or texts to its Caller ID customers, WhitePages (www.whitepages.com) today revealed its ten most aggressive "Call Spammers" of 2011. "Call Spam" is defined by WhitePages as unsolicited calls or texts to mobile phones from telemarketers, debt collectors and scammers. The most persistent "Call Spammers" in 2011 were telemarketing companies like World Wide Commerce Associates (WCA), Grocery Savings Direct and Courtesy Awards. However, the majority of the list was comprised of the nation's most aggressive debt collectors, which explains why the Federal Trade Commission gets more complaints each year about debt collectors than any other industry.

"Call Spam" was identified using WhitePages' suite of popular Caller ID solutions, that includes six mobile apps that have been downloaded more than 15 million times, and to date have identified over 150 million "Call Spam" and 600 million "unknown" numbers. In its 2011 analysis, WhitePages estimates that more than 30 percent of all calls placed to cell phones are from numbers that are not already in people's phone contacts and that nearly 25 percent of these unknown calls are "Call Spam." WhitePages discovered that one percent of "Call Spammers" were responsible for over 6.5 million calls and texts, which means a very small group of callers account for a large share of "Call Spam" volume. WhitePages also found that many telemarketers and debt collectors call or text from numerous phone numbers with a variety of area codes and that their favorite time to call is on Mondays at 11:00 a.m. PST.

Here are the ten most aggressive "Call Spammers" and insight into their antics in 2011, according to WhitePages:

  • Allied Interstate: Calls from this company are very persistent, sometimes calling many times throughout the same day, leaving no message if not answered. Coincidentally, Allied Interstate was fined $1.75 MM dollars in 2010 to settle charges of repeat violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. The number most frequently associated with this company is 973-944-1999.
  • CBE Group: Calls from this company are regarding late payments to healthcare, utility, telecommunications, financial, education and government bills. According to their website, CBE aims to redefine the future of debt collection, making sure that consumers are treated with respect. The number most frequently associated with this company is 515-954-7687.
  • Consumer Connections: Calls from this company start by asking people if they are planning on going back to school within the next six months. The number most frequently associated with this company is 561-463-5521.
  • Courtesy Awards: Calls from this company most commonly offer gas and retail gift card vouchers as a reward for answering five questions. They also ask for credit card information so they can charge the recipient whatever it costs to send the cards. The number most frequently associated with this company is 855-249-3979.
  • CMI Group: Calls from this company are regarding late payments to cable, medical and commercial bills. The number most frequently associated with this company is 800-377-7789.
  • ER Solutions/Convergent: Calls from this company are regarding debt of all kinds. ER Solutions was acquired by Convergent, which is one of the largest debt collectors in the country. The numbers most frequently associated with this company are 800-322-2307 and 877-495-0400.
  • Grocery Savings Direct: Calls from this company suggest that the person they are calling qualifies for $1000 in groceries but that they need to send $3.00 in order to receive the voucher. The number most frequently associated with this company is 313-528-6738.
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates: This company, whose tagline reads "We're giving debt collection a good name," purchases and manages portfolios of defaulted and bankrupt consumer receivables and provides a broad range of accounts receivable management services to lenders, service providers, governments, and others. The numbers most frequently associated with this company are 757-275-8578, 757-506-0177 and 731-256-7106.
  • Santander: Calls from this company are regarding late payments on auto loans. Headquartered in Dallas, Santander USA is owned by the Spanish company Banco Santander and in addition to originating loans, also buys loans from small and large banks and credit unions across the country. The numbers most frequently associated with this company are 888-222-4227 and 469-385-5260.
  • World Wide Commerce Associates (WCA): This number calls and suggests you have won $2600 travel dollars toward a trip to Cancun for participating in "last week's average American online survey." According to their website, WCA operates a subscription-based program that "rewards consumers for consenting to receive recorded messages that include special product offers and purchase incentives." The number most frequently associated with this company is 314-627-6914.

While "Call Spamming" itself is not an unlawful activity, it can be frustrating and telemarketers, debt collectors and scammers will always find crafty ways to reach consumers' cell phones. There are some steps that consumers can take that could help mitigate their penetration. To see WhitePages' recommendations for consumers, visit the WhitePages Blog.

About WhitePages' Caller ID Products:
WhitePages offers a suite of popular Caller ID solutions that includes a Caller ID Android app, WhitePages, 411 and Reverse Phone iPhone Apps, WhitePages webOS App, Windows 7 App, text LOOKUP service and Reverse Phone on WhitePages' web and mobile sites.

About WhitePages
WhitePages is the leading provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S. With over 30 million unique monthly users and powering over 2 billion searches on over 1,500 sites including MSN and the United States Postal Service, only WhitePages offers consumers one-click access to more than 200 million adults, also providing them with the ability to edit and control their own listings. The company's suite of mobile products includes a top-50 mobile website and popular iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, webOS and Windows 7 applications that have been downloaded more than 15 million times.

For more information, please visit www.whitepages.com or check out the WhitePages blog at blog.whitepages.com.

WhitePages and their respective logos are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of WhitePages. Other products and company names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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