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February 27, 2014

WhitePages App Fortified to Protect Users from Phone Scams

In recent weeks, mobile consumers have been scammed and spammed and ended up incurring big charges due to fraudulent calls. WhitePages, a provider of contact information for people and businesses in the U.S., has stepped in to help consumers protect themselves from costly phone scams.

New functionality added to WhitePages Current, a free call and text ID app for Android (News - Alert) mobile devices, is aimed at helping consumers filter out unsolicited and potentially dangerous calls. It now includes a full contacts list and dialer that automatically build the contacts list with names and addresses from WhitePages when the phone is used to make and receive calls.

"We take spam very seriously, and our goal is to provide a variety of tools to help consumers avoid these types of calls,” said Tom Donlea, director of risk services at WhitePages.

When a call comes from any one of those numbers, WhitePages alerts consumers with a "possible fraud or spam" message. If callers make a call to a number that has a high spam score, they are alerted with a ‘prominent warning’ that they might incur high charges to their phone bill.

Using spam identification technology and accompanying spam scores, WhitePages has added over 20,000 new scam numbers tied to One Ring and similar scams.

"We know spammers continuously create new ways to scam consumers, and we have already added thousands of new numbers into our spam scoring database to continue to provide consumers with the best protection," noted Donlea.

The logic used by these scammers, especially in the latest ‘one-ring’ scam, is very simple. When people see a missed call, the natural instinct is to call back and find out who called. The trouble begins then. When the call is returned, callers are connected to paid international adult entertainment services or other premium services that charge huge amounts as call fees and per-minute fees. Mobile users unwittingly incur high phone bill charges.

Since it launched in August of 2012, the app surpassed nine billion calls and texts made by its users and seven billion calls and texts identified. With the added ability to identify call and texts from unknown phone numbers, including phone scams, it could well turn out to be a savior at a time when ‘phone scams’ are driving consumers crazy.




Edited by Alisen Downey
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