A Map of the Scams: Top 10 Spam Area Codes

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Spam and call scams are two things that are all too familiar to Americans. While we’ve covered some of the more notable ones like the IRS scam, there are many others such as the Grandparent scam or the Medical Alert scam. Since Whitepages believes data should be used for good, we decided to leverage our information to empower our users with the knowledge to sort the scam from the calls they want to take. What we found was that some cities were home to more spam numbers than others. We’ll show you the top 10 area codes spamming America, but first, we’ll tell you a little about how we got our results.

Whitepages analyzes more than 2.5 billion calls and texts every month

As the most advanced spam identification system on the market, we look at billions of calls, texts, and phone lookups from over 50 million users to determine which numbers are exhibiting spam-like behavior. But we couldn’t have done it without a little help from our users. We give people the power to report spam and leave comments on spam numbers to warn others. This is viewable on our website and on Whitepages Caller ID for Android, which shows you a spam score, number of reports and comments from the Whitepages community for incoming calls identified as suspected spam. By combining our research with inside info from the public, we’re able to offer accurate spam scores.

We’re on a mission to help you dodge those calls

By analyzing more than 2.5 billion calls and texts in a month, we were able to identify the top 10 states making the most spam calls. Bret Moore, Whitepages vice president of products, explains why that’s important: “Many people fall victim to… phone scams because they’re receiving calls from area codes familiar to them, often times seemingly from their backyards.” While all of us are less likely to pick up a call from an 800 number, there’s a very good chance that we’ll answer a call from a normal area code. And today’s scammers know that.

Top 10 spam area codes

Other than toll free numbers such as 800, 866, 877, 888, and 855, we identified the following list as the top 10 area codes Americans are receiving as spam:

  1. 313 – Detroit
  2. 713 – Houston
  3. 954 – Fort Lauderdale
  4. 404 – Atlanta
  5. 484 – Eastern and Southeastern Pennsylvania
  6. 407 – Orlando
  7. 214 – Dallas
  8. 202 – Washington, D.C.
  9. 972 – Dallas
  10. 205 – Birmingham

Knowing that kind of information can help you ditch the spam and scams, but to be even more effective, download the free Whitepages Caller ID mobile app to receive alerts on incoming calls suspected of spam. And remember, don’t ever give out personal information to a stranger over the phone. If they claim they’re from the IRS or your local bank, then hang up, look up that organization’s phone number and reach out to that party directly to ask if they’ve been attempting to reach you. At the end of the day, when you make the call, you’re in control.

 

 

3 Reasons for Dual SIM Phones

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What’s a SIM and why would anyone ever need more than one? SIM stands for subscriber identity module and is a circuit printed on a card in your smartphone. A SIM card can be swapped into phones, making it easy to port your phone number to different phones. There are different types of SIM cards, but for the sake of clarity, I am just going to speak about SIM cards as if there is only one type.

Everyone with a smartphone has at least one SIM card. Increasingly, phones are coming with space for two SIM cards, or dual SIMs as it is often referred to. So why would anyone need two SIM cards? There are three reasons that I think are the most common:

1. Business people who have a work and personal smartphone.

If you’ve ever had to carry around two mobile phones, you probably know how hard it can be to keep both charged and remember who called you on which phone. Dual SIMs solve the problem by putting two phone numbers on one device.

2. People who travel between countries frequently.

Many carriers charge high roaming rates when you use your phone in another country. If you live in certain parts of Europe, going from home to work may have you crossing borders. A dual SIM with two different phone plans can keep things economical.

3. People taking advantage of carriers who only charge customers for outbound calls, while inbound calls are free.

With a dual SIM phone, customers can keep a phone number that friends and family knows receives calls (which the customer doesn’t pay for) and select the cheapest plan for outbound calls. This allows them to get the cheapest prices for mobile calls.

The option to have a dual SIM phone is only available on Android and only from certain manufacturers who have innovated on top of Android, such as MicroMax in India. Android’s Lollipop update will provide public APIs to support dual SIMs.

At Whitepages, we are laser focused on call identity. Historically, identity to phone number has been a many-to-one relationship. With a single mobile phone per user, it is becoming a one-to-one relationship. So, will everyone be carrying a dual SIM phone in the future, making identity to phone number a one-to-many relationship? Probably not. Multiple phone lines are likely niche scenarios but interestingly both the high end of the market in terms of income, the business user and the low-end, prepaid users in emerging markets, have compelling reasons to use dual SIM phones. In the future, we can expect to see dual SIM phones across a range of different devices and price points.

Whitepages Powers Next Generation T-Mobile Name ID Service

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I am thrilled to announce that starting today, Whitepages will be powering the next generation of T-Mobile’s Name ID service, debuting in the new Sony Xperia® Z3 and available in stores now. This new Name ID service makes unknown numbers go away. With T-Mobile Name ID, you can identify unknown callers, receive alerts about spammers and scammers, and do it all within the native phone experience—that means there’s no app to find and launch—it works right when you turn your phone on.

This next generation of Name ID enables T-Mobile subscribers to see the names and phone numbers of who is calling, even if that person isn’t in their address book. By leveraging Whitepages’ proprietary data, the Name ID service helps T-Mobile customers: 

IDENTIFY the person, business or spammer/scammer associated with an incoming call or text, even if they are not in the user’s address book or contacts list, and receive additional information that’s auto-surfaced for outbound calls. Say goodbye to 10-digit numbers or unknown callers in the call history.

FIND information on millions of contacts and search more details on the caller or texter, including robust Whitepages contact data, spam score and feedback from other users on numbers associated with spam or scams.

MANAGE calls/texts with one-click blocking or unblocking, along with the ability to update your name and contact information for others to see.

What does that mean for you? When you make that call or send that text to a new friend or colleague, their name will automatically appear on your phone. There’s no need for you to input their info because Whitepages and T-Mobile Name ID does it for you.

Now imagine your airline calling to warn you of a change in your flight, or say it’s your bank calling about suspected activity on your credit card—you’ll know to answer those 800 numbers because Name ID will tell you who’s calling. Name ID also works for when you don’t want to take that call. When you receive a call from a telemarketer or call spammer, we’ll let you know so you can reject the call, block them and report the number as spam. All this happens right within the native phone, call history, messaging and address book of your device; it’s not isolated in a separate app that you need to find and launch every time you need it.

The new Whitepages-powered Name ID service provides T-Mobile users with the most advanced call and text identification system on the market. At its core is Whitepages’ analysis of over 18 billion calls and texts made by its users, as well as over 300 million phone numbers in Whitepages’ identity database.

T-Mobile Name ID is available exclusively on the Sony Xperia® Z3 smartphone today and will be included in new T-Mobile Android-powered devices moving forward as a free introductory service for 10 days, with the option to upgrade the service for a monthly subscription fee through T-Mobile.

Twitter’s Smart Bet on Mobile Phone Numbers as Identity

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Last week, Twitter announced a new service called Digits, which aims to replace email address and password login on mobile applications. Email addresses and associated password or single sign-on, usually with Facebook, are the most popular ways to log in to websites. While single sign-on works reasonably well in mobile apps, it is cumbersome to type in an email address and password on a small screen. Enter Digits.

Digits will enable the user to have their phone number verified by SMS and then as long as the same SIM card is in use, the user can continue to use the mobile app without having to log in. No need to remember which email address you used to sign up or a password. On Android phones, the SMS verification is seamless, the application will automatically detect the SMS message sent from Digits and verify the user and authorize them to use the app. On iPhones, the user has to take the additional step of entering the code sent to them through SMS. But once the verification step is done, the user remains logged in as long as they have the same SIM card. To get developers on board, Twitter is paying the SMS verification costs.

Verification by SMS and log in by mobile phone number is particularly valuable in many parts of the world where smartphones exceeds PC penetration. Many users in these markets don’t have an email address. In developed markets, younger users tend to use email less and are more comfortable with mobile apps and processes.

At Whitepages, we believe mobile phone numbers is a strong proxy for the identity of the user. Our popular Caller ID app identifies incoming calls and texts so you always know who’s calling and can decide whether you want to pick up or not. Mobile phone numbers with identity information (i.e. names) tend to get answered much more often than unidentified numbers. Digits uses the mobile phone number for a very similar purpose, to identify the user to the application. In both cases, mobile phone numbers are being used as a proxy for identity. 

 

5 Tips to Protect Yourself From Mobile Phone Scams

Concept of hacking or phishing with malware program

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.