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. Clearly, call and text spam is a pervasive and growing problem in the United States.
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. In addition to using mobile apps like Whitepages Caller ID, we suggest the following tips 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.