Spam and scam—they’re two words that demonstrate the big difference one little letter can make in meaning. They’re also words that Whitepages uses a lot on when we talk about phone numbers. As we continue down our crusade to protect your phone from unwanted calls, we’re finding that a lot of people have varied opinions of what constitutes a spam versus a scam call. Because this is such an important topic, we’re taking a moment to set the record straight. Aside from their second letters, find out what the real difference is between a spam and scam call.
Cheats, Thieves, Swindlers – Know Your Scammers
In order to give you the best answer possible, we looked to our Phone Reputation team to shed some light on the matter. Here’s how team leader, Jan Volzke defines scam calls:
Scam calls are a form of fraudulent activity with the goal of stealing your money or your information. Similar to email scams, phone scams often present a bargain for merchandise, or something completely free (such as a free prize or a won contest). Others demand payment for actions that victims have not done or services not ordered, including missing jury duty or payments on an outstanding debt like unpaid taxes or utility bills. Scams may arrive in form of either calls or text messages and should be blocked or deleted.
What’s the level of precaution you should take? Consumers are strongly advised not to engage with known scam numbers.
A Bunch of Junk – Opening the Lid on Spam
And here’s how Jan explains spam calls:
Spam calls are similar to email spam in the sense that they’re a form of unwanted communication. Spam calls and text messages are distributed in bulk and in most cases unsolicited, which means they occur without any prior request. Examples may include telemarketers, who are typically live agents hoping to sell their legitimate (albeit unsolicited) service. Another variant of spam calls are robocalls, which deliver a pre-recorded voice statement with the same goal of a sale. Like email spam, robocalls are illegal without prior consent.
What’s the level of precaution you should take? To reduce the risk of getting more unwanted calls, consumers should avoid interacting with spam numbers at all.
Avoid Spam & Scams With Our Mobile Apps
Our definitions and warnings around spam and scams boil down to one simple message: Avoid them! On top of simply setting parameters around what constitutes spam and scam, we have the tools you need to follow through with our advice.
We analyze our database multiple times a day to keep our records on spammers and scammers up to date. In July alone, our phone reputation team looked at 308 million phone numbers and identified 11.3 million phone numbers guilty of spam and scams. All of that information feeds into our Android app and iOS app now called Hiya, which allow us to provide you with real-time alerts of incoming calls that are associated with spam and scams. Both apps also let you block and blacklist numbers, so you can stop repeat spammers and scammers from interrupting your day. Check them out and say goodbye to unwanted calls.
Want to learn more about our phone reputation services? Find out how many spam and scam numbers we’ve identified to date.