WhitePages released a new Consumer Call Blocking study today outlining the top reasons smartphone users block calls and texts. The study was conducted by Harris Poll in December 2013 among 1,001 smartphone users.

Findings from the Consumer Call Blocking study include:

  • 1 in 5 Use Call Blocking – 22% of smartphone owners use mobile apps or built-in call blocking features to avoid unwanted calls.
  • Top Reasons to Block Calls – And the winner goes to…Telemarketers and unknown numbers are the biggest reasons people block calls. Here’s the complete breakdown:
    • Telemarketers (65%)
    • Unknown Numbers (60%)
    • Spammers (44%)
    • Prank Calls (26%)
    • Wrong Number (21%)
    • Avoid changing their phone number (20%)

The Art of Avoidance
20% of adults said they have blocked calls from a former flame, while 22% said they were avoiding a stalker. 8% said they block primarily to avoid awkward conversations or sensitive family matters.

“As mobile phones have overtaken landlines, Americans have had to deal with a lot of unwanted calls going to their cell phone,” said Lori Roth, Director of Mobile Products, WhitePages. “Whether it’s telemarketers or spam, one of the recent phone scams like One Ring, or simply unwanted calls from people you know, these calls can feel particularly invasive on mobile and we’re seeing the need for call blocking, from basic to extreme, continue to steadily increase.”

To learn more read the full press release.

For all of the convenience and functionality cell phones have provided there is one not so pleasant byproduct to our faithful pocket companion: Unwanted calls and texts.  Americans block calls for many reasons, from dodging those pesky telemarketers and scammers to avoiding awkward conversations with the ex.  Whatever the reason there are apps available which can help block unwanted calls and texts…and WhitePages has two of the best in the Android Google Play market.

WhitePages Current  identifies calls and texts from unknown numbers in real time.  It uses information from your address book, social networks, and WhitePages database of over 200 million contacts to help identify incoming numbers.  WhitePages constantly adds suspected scammers to Current Caller ID’s database to alert users of incoming calls from potentially harmful numbers.  Users can also add contacts, both known and unknown numbers, to a block list which can either disconnect the call or send them straight to voicemail.  Launched in 2012, WhitePages Current has been downloaded over 5 million times from Google Play Store and has helped users to identify more than 7 billion incoming calls and texts.

Get WhitePages Current Free on Google Play

If you are looking for more advanced call-blocking features Mr. Number is a great option.  Mr. Number helps identify millions of spam calls a day  and the app allows users to block single numbers or even entire area codes. By displaying user submitted comments about spam numbers you are protected with the most up to date information.  Add ‘suspected spam’ to your block list and Mr. Number blocks them all automatically.  It has been awarded an Appy for the Best Communication App as well as reviewed by PCMag as one of the “100 Best Android Apps”.  Mr. Number is the most powerful call blocker on the market, closing in on 10 million installs to date from Google Play store.

Get Mr. Number Free on Google Play

Phone Scams are really making headlines these days. For example, the IRS recently put out a warning about a scam where callers pose as IRS agents and attempt to gather personal information about the person they are calling. Many of these scams are based on greed – wanting you to think you’ve won the lottery, that you owe money (refer to the IRS scam), or curiosity – sometimes called the “1-Ring” scam – you think you’ve missed a call – and you call back – and the scammers rip you off by charging you long distance fees.

Most of these scams are targeting cell phones, rather than landlines. But the good news is that there are ways to protect yourself.

Alert 2

Tom Donlea, our in-house fraud prevention expert, has 5 tips to keep scammers out of your pocket:

1.    Hang Up Immediately – if it’s important, they’ll call back.

2.    Don’t Call Suspicious Numbers – ‘Nuff said.

3.    Use Mobile Apps to Screen and block calls – WhitePages Current and Mr. Number are two that are helpful.

4.    Don’t Provide Credit Card Info – Only give out bank info if YOU make the call.

5.    Never Pay Money Upfront.

Check out the video link below for more info:

VIDEO: WhitePages’ Tom Donlea gives advice about phone scams

Chicago, it’s your lucky day.

Chicago tops Boston, another stronghold of Irish ancestry, if you’re tallying Irish last names, according to our WhitePages.com data.

Even with Mayor Walsh heading up Boston, the City of Big Shoulders has people with Irish surnames and that’s not even counting Mrs. O’Leary (whose name makes the Top 10 in both cities).

There are nearly six times as many Murphys in Chicago as Boston, but it’s the top name in both towns.

So if you plan to partake in the wearing of the green, enjoy corned beef and cabbage or pull a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, pull up a three-legged stool and ponder the most popular Irish surnames in Boston and Chicago:

Most Popular Irish Names in Chicago:

Murphy – 3768
Kelly – 3326
Ryan – 1810
Walsh – 1592
O’Brien – 1428
O’Donnell – 694
O’Connell – 668
O’Malley – 639
Byrne – 492
O’Leary – 322

Most Popular Irish Names in Boston:

Murphy – 637
O’Brien – 473
Walsh – 453
Kelly – 425
Ryan – 381
O’Connell – 165
O’Neill – 154
O’Donnell – 136
Byrne – 123
O’Leary – 97

And a tip o’ the hat to my dear brother Jack on his St. Paddy’s Day birthday!

We’ve been officially swept up in Oscar frenzy, and today unveiled some factoids around the names of the 10 Best Actor and Best Actress Oscar Nominees, including how many others in the U.S. share those names. Based on data from Names.WhitePages.com, Amy Adams has the most popular name, while Leonardo DiCaprio, Chieweld Eiofer, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep are true originals.

It is the time of year to enjoy all things celebrity, so we wanted to look at how many other Americans these nominees share a name with. We were surprised to see there were more true originals on this list of ten than was expected.

Watch Kathie Lee & Hoda on the Today Show discuss our findings:


 
Best Actor Nominees:

Christian Bale

  • 3 people in the U.S. share the name of the “American Hustle” actor
  • 152,856 have the name Christian
  • Utah has the most Christians per capita, peaking in 1996
  • 4% of the people with the name Christian are girls
  • Christian is making a comeback with kids: 64% of people with this name are age 12 and under

Bruce Dern

  • 4 people in the U.S. share the name of the star of “Nebraska”
  • 476,261 people are named Bruce
  • Maine has the most people per capita with the name Bruce, which peaked in 1951 in popularity

Leonardo DiCaprio

  • Mr. DiCaprio is the one and only “Wolf of Wall Street”, according to the Names database, but 36,266 people in the U.S. are named Leonardo, with the name peaking in popularity in 2010
  • Florida has the most Leonardos per capita
  • 73% of the people with this name are age 12 and under, pointing to the fact that Mr. DiCaprio may be influencing parents’ name choice

Chiweld Ejofer

  • Uniquely named – the British star of “Twelve Years a Slave” is the only person in the U.S. with this name

Matthew McConaughey

  • 9 people have the same name as the “Dallas Buyer’s Club” star
  • 1,212,032 people in the U.S. are named Matthew
  • Massachusetts has the most people with per capita named Matthew, which peaked in 1983
  • Over one-fourth of people named Matthew are age 12 and under

 

Best Actress Nominees:

Amy Adams

  • 1,885 people share the name of this “American Hustle” star
  • 1,018,401 people are named Amy, with Iowa boasting the most Amys per capita
  • The name Amy peaked in popularity in 1975

Cate Blanchett

  • The Australian star of “Blue Jasmine” does not share her name with anyone in the U.S.
  • There are 6,289 people in the U.S. who share the name Cate, with the most living in New Hampshire

Sandra Bullock

  • There are 209 people who have the same name as the “Gravity” star, with the most living in North Carolina
  • 1,208,597 people are named Sandra in the U.S.
  • The name peaked in popularity in 1946, and West Virginia boasts the most people per capita with this name

Judi Dench

  • No one in the U.S. shares Dame Judi Dench’s name
  • 20,765 people in the U.S. share the” Philomena” star’s first name with Wyoming boasting the most per capita.
  • The name Judi peaked in popularity in 1945

Meryl Streep

  • The “August: Osage County” star is peerless when it comes to sharing a name
  • And while Ms. Streep was born Mary Louise Streep, the name Meryl is relatively new on the scene, compared to the name lineage of others on this list
  • Peaking in 1956, 6,854 people in the U.S. are named Meryl, with New York boasting the most per capita

To learn more about name popularity in the United States, please visit: http://names.whitepages.com/.