Will Digital Wallets Change the Way You Pay?


Digital wallets and other similar payment systems have enjoyed a lot of hype, but it remains to be seen if they’ll substantially change the way you pay for your groceries and gas. Although systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet have seen a respectable level of adoption among both the public and businesses, there’s still plenty of ground to cover before your phone or tablet and connected accounts totally replace cards and cash.

It’s Not Universal Yet

One major problem facing the various virtual wallets and digital payment systems out there is the standardization of technology. While cash has always been accepted everywhere and credit cards use the same processing system no matter which bank or company issues it, mobile wallets don’t have a standardized, one-size-fits-all pay terminal. Newer pay terminals – especially those at large regional or national companies – often incorporate technology that makes mobile payments successful, but that doesn’t mean every single commercial business in the U.S. has them. Total adoption will take some years to complete. Additionally, both Apple and Google limited the use of touch-to-pay features to newer phones, creating another roadblock of sorts. For these reasons, it’s impossible to completely replace your existing cards and cash with your mobile device.

Tech news site Engadget had editor Nicole Lee use Apple Pay and Google Wallet for a week toward the end of 2014 and documented the results. Lee noted that, in a major metropolitan area like San Francisco, she used Google Wallet and Apple Pay at the majority of stores she visited in an average week. However, she also said that just 2.4 percent of terminals could process these digital payments at the end of 2014. Although more terminals with the required technology are expected to come into use as the U.S. implements the new EMV standard for credit cards in late 2015, digital payments aren’t yet a “100-percent sure” thing.

Issues of Privacy

These programs, and others such as newcomer Current C, offer some advantages, but there are concerns about privacy and security as well. Current C may become a third player in the digital payments market, but it already had a significant security breach during a test run in 2014, according to The International Business Times. Adoption of that service could also suffer because it’s not tied to a specific type of device, as are Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Managing your personal information is crucial for both electronic payment systems and for your life in general. Whitepages offers the ability to decide what personal information you share on the Internet, letting you make that decision for yourself. As technology continues to enter new and different areas of everyday life, keeping track of all aspects of your digital identity may become more difficult. Thankfully, we  make it easy to control your locational and contact information – making this very important aspect of your digital self much more manageable.

Quick, Fast, Speedy Info: The Use of Big Data in Professional Racing


When it’s analyzed correctly and applied in a useful way, there’s little that big data can’t do. Take NASCAR and Formula 1, for instance. The teams that make up these two professional racing leagues have fully embraced big data as a way to make their cars and associated operations faster, safer and generally better overall. That safety aspect – protecting drivers on the track – is similar to what we do at Whitepages, analyzing millions of calls to identify and screen out telemarketers, scammers and other illegitimate calls. We’re also using big data to create more enjoyable experiences for the users of our Android Caller ID app and our Whitepages Android and iOS app, just like the pit crews, team managers and engineers do in both NASCAR and F1.

The past, present and future of big data in racing

While big data has only been a distinct concept for a handful of years and has spent even less time in the public consciousness, the processes behind it have been used for much longer. In his article on the evolution of big data in racing sports, Forbes contributor Bernard Marr highlighted the use of telemetry in F1 since the 1980s. With transmitters affixed to the cars providing data in real time, the engineers and other workers in the pits were better able to understand what was happening to both the drivers and the cars while they were out on the track.

While it can be hard to really define big data, this real-time collection of information – info that’s then used to make adjustments during and after a given race – seems to fit the bill. Since F1 started using telemetry in the ’80s, the use of data collection and adjustments based on that info during both practice laps and live races has exploded. The amount of data coming in has increased, too, as Lotus F1 COO Thomas Mayer told Marr that F1 teams aren’t collecting small amounts of data anymore. They’re gathering petabytes worth of info to make a great number of adjustments large and small, from safety improvements to cutting seconds off of lap times.

Big data for the fans

While both F1 and NASCAR use data before, during and after race day to improve performance, the U.S.-based racing association has taken the lead with using big data to connect with fans. NASCAR’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard, centered around the capture and analysis of many different fan-related metrics, has been operating for 3 years. The platform works to make NASCAR’s product, its races and television broadcasts as well as news and social media operations, more interesting and relevant for fans. By analyzing the reactions of viewers through social networks, website visits and many other metrics, the organization can present more engaging race coverage to its fanbase. Big data isn’t just making things safer and faster for racing teams, it’s also used to create a more enjoyable experience for the fans who make the sport run.

Tax Scam Mastermind Busted After Swindling More Than a Million Dollars


The organizer of a massive phone fraud operation won’t lead another effort anytime soon. One of the biggest IRS scams – wherein fraudsters tried to convince targets they owed the tax-collection authority money and had to pay immediately – no longer has its head in place. While the arrest doesn’t mean a total elimination of such threats, it’s a major strike against one of the most successful of these scams.

The ringleader of the international scam’s U.S. side of operations, Sahil Patel, received a 15-year sentence, according to CNN. The final verdict from the judge came after a guilty plea entered in January. Barring an early release, Patel will remain in prison until 2030, at which point he will enter a supervised release program for three years. Beyond the jail time, Patel also had to forfeit $1 million to the U.S. government, losing most of the $1.2 million the phone fraud operation brought in. According to The Associated Press, Patel was charged with wire fraud among other infractions.

How the scam worked

The international operation relied on call centers in India, where English-speaking scammers tried to convince U.S. residents they owed the IRS money and were significantly in arrears. They used generally aggressive tones and language, along with threats of additional penalties and jail time. The fraudulent callers would instruct anyone thus tricked to purchase pre-paid debit cards to use for settling the debt, obscuring the source and destination of those payments while avoiding common debit and credit card protections like chargebacks and bank interventions.

Avoiding the fraudsters

Despite the many people who didn’t go along with the scam, the operation netted more than a million dollars during approximately two years of operation. With an average loss of $5,000 to $7,000 per successful call, it’s easy to see that many people were confused, frightened, bullied or otherwise convinced to pay into the scam, according to The AP. CNN reported the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s office has logged more than 600,000 such calls through July 6 in 2015.

The last thing anyone wants is to deal with malicious, fraudulent calls like these, especially when repeated calls and high-pressure, blatantly illegal tactics are brought to bear. At Whitepages, we’re dedicated to developing a better, safer and more enjoyable environment for your phone. Our Caller ID app, available for Android devices, lets you decide which calls to take and which to ignore. With identity verification measures in place, you’re better able to protect yourself from fraudulent and malicious incoming calls. Reliable Caller ID gives you the power to choose if and when to answer, creating a more enjoyable experience with your phone. With so many phone scams in operation – along with legitimate but potentially unwanted calls from telemarketers a common occurrence – a comprehensive tool to streamline and secure your smartphone experience is a must.

What Happens When You’re on the DNC List and You Get a Call?


The National Do Not Call Registry may not be perfect, but it offers some serious protection for the many Americans who have signed up. Originally developed as a temporary measure to prevent telemarketers from calling home phones, various improvements to the laws during the late 2000s supporting the Do Not Call Registry have pushed it to permanent status. Additionally, the last series of revisions to those laws caused a major drop in the time window from signup to protection, moving from 90 days to 31. Along with other laws related to barring or severely limiting the use of autodialers and other nefarious telemarketer tactics, people in the U.S. are relatively well off when it comes to getting protection from unwanted calls.

How can you sign up?

Without going into too much detail, signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry is easy. To ease the process of signing up, we already have an informative, step-by-step blog post about both signing up for the DNC list and augmenting its protections with the power of Whitepages. With that info in mind, let’s dive into the question behind this post: What happens when you’re on the DNC list and you get a call from a telemarketer or other unwanted commercial source?

The DNC list works!

Do you know what you can and can’t do if it turns out a telemarketer or scammer is violating the list and calling your number? The Federal Trade Commission spells out the process in plain language on its website. If you’ve been a recent victim of an unsolicited call, here is a quick rundown of what you need to know:

  • Any unsolicited commercial call – which means exceptions for surveys, nonprofit solicitations, political campaigns and debt collectors – received after your number has been on the DNC list for 31 days is grounds for a complaint. You can follow this link to the FTC’s complaint page and click the green “continue” button.
  • Even if you haven’t signed up, or if you haven’t yet been on the list for 31 days, you can report commercial calls made with a recording instead of a live person. These calls are often from scam artists, so you shouldn’t have to waste your time answering and hanging up on what is likely not a legitimate call.

What happens with successful complaints? 

The FTC maintains a database of press releases about major scams and violations brought to light by individuals filing complaints. Some of the most recent headlines include large judgments against legitimate companies that break the rules, as well as against businesses that are nothing more than fraudsters and schemers. These investigations all started because of complaints filed by individuals and led to serious consequences for organizations that broke the FTC’s clearly defined rules.

If you use the DNC list along with our Caller ID Android app, you’ll have even greater protection. Automated spam alerts tell you when an unfamiliar number has a high potential for fraud, squashing the possibility for calls from less-scrupulous organizations that ignore the DNC list.

#TeamWP: Meet Office Administrator, Meira


You may have heard that the Whitepages New York City office was recently redone. We want to introduce you to the team member who helped to manage it all, Meira. As an office administrator, Meira’s tasks are not limited to office duties, but instead she gets to jump in on fun projects, like managing the move of the NYC office. As Meira says herself, all of the side projects have been “great learning experiences!” Let’s meet Meira!

Which office are you in?
New York

Why did you join Whitepages?
I initially joined as an intern the summer after graduating college. I was instantly hooked on the atmosphere, the people and the opportunities presented to me in the very first days in the office.

What’s your hometown?
Stoughton, Massachusetts

What’s your favorite snack in the kitchen?
Avocados all the way!

How do you take your coffee?
Iced latte with almond milk…iced coffee even in the winter! (Though, it’s starting to break the bank so may need to cut back…they charge $0.50 for ice – CRAZY!!)

What do you listen to at work?  What’s on your playlist?
John Mayer/Train Monday-Thursday but, on Friday’s, I tend to get a little crazy with some throwback 90’s playlists!

What was your very first job?
My first job was a camp counselor at a summer camp that I grew up going to but my first job out of college was Whitepages.

Describe your first computer.
The colored apple desktop – I think it was light blue, back in the day when I used to fight with my brother about whose turn it was to go on AOL/AIM (we were timed and had to alternate every 30 minutes). This was when Oregon Trail, Backyard Baseball and Sims were the cool games to play.

What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
Rocket Power, Boy Meets World and definitely Rugrats – I know I’m pretty embarrassed to even admit this.

Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you’d know _______.
I’m vegan (past 8 months) – and have been a vegetarian since I was eight years old.

What are you most proud of?
Surviving (so far) in New York City

What do you do when you have 30 minutes of free time?
Work out, read, and explore Brooklyn/Manhattan

If you had 10 extra dollars what would you buy?
Something at Whole Foods, because really, any extra money is needed when shopping there.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?
‘Thousand Miles’ by Vanessa Carlton and if I’m really feeling risky then ‘Superbass’ by Nicki Minaj

What’s the last vacation you went on?
Cape Cod – my mom lives there so it’s more of a staycation when I visit. The trip before that was to San Francisco!

What’s your signature gelato flavor?
Most gelato contains dairy so sorbet is more of my go-to if given the option and mango would definitely be my signature flavor.

Two things you can’t live without?
The ocean/sun and Pon De FLO, which is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) program that I do 6x a week.