Whitepages Releases Annual “State of the Unwanted Call” Report

Global Mobile Data Leader Reports 55 Percent Increase in
Fraudulent Phone Scams in 2015

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Whitepages,
the leading source of contact information in North America, today
released its annual “State of the Unwanted Call” report which reveals a
55 percent increase in fraudulent scam calls in 2015 versus 2014, along
with a 22 percent increase in pesky spam calls and a 34 percent growth
in spam and scam calls in 2015 overall.


The report, which was created through tracking 1.2 billion calls scanned
since April 2015 through the leading phone scam/spam protection app on
Android, Whitepages
Caller ID
, is meant to highlight an issue plaguing the country and
affecting all Americans. Whitepages detected 67 million “unwanted” calls
over Q2-Q4 of 2015 and categorized 74 percent as pesky spam calls, and
26 percent as scam calls, which indicates a plot or scheme to deceive
someone usually for monetary gain.

“In addition to these menacing phone scams, we are also concerned about
inconvenience and peace of mind,” says Alex Algard, Founder and CEO of
Whitepages. “At best these phone calls are a nuisance and siphon
away your valuable time, but at worst, they are frightening calls in
which consumers are threatened into paying large sums of money out of
fear. This is why Whitepages is devoted to uncovering spammers and
scammers and providing phone users with the protection they deserve.”

Media headlines on incredibly savvy and frightening phone scams were
unavoidable this year. The top five fraudulent scams of the year, which
will likely sound familiar, were:

1. The IRS scam (false call from the IRS about a tax issue);
2. The
“Lucky Winner” scam (caller offers a false prize in order to gain
financial information);
3. The extortion scam (when a false story
about a family member or loved one is used for financial gain);
4.
The tech support scam (when the caller asks for financial information in
exchange for false tech support).
5. Phishing scam (mainly used to
extract passwords and financial information from consumers)

The top reported spam calls came from telemarketers, debt collectors,
robocalls, and surveys. In 2015, the carrier that was targeted most by
scams and spam calls was AT&T, with Whitepages reporting 3.8 percent of
all incoming calls to the network were considered “unwanted” by Caller
ID users. This issue is top of mind with carriers right now, namely
T-Mobile, who offers a Whitepages powered spam/scam protection app, Name
ID
, to help protect their consumers. Larger carriers do a better job
of filtering unwanted calls, which explains why the nationwide stat is
almost twice as high with 5.6 percent of all calls being considered
“unwanted.”

“Internet telephony has reduced the cost of a phone call for everyone –
including phone spammers. Phone calls have become the most disruptive
link to consumers and so far the industry has largely left consumers to
fend for themselves,” says Jan Volzke, Vice President of Reputation
Services at Whitepages. “Whitepages Caller ID and similar phone spam
blocking services have become consumers’ first line of defense. Carriers
and device manufacturers should step up their protection from unwanted
calls to prevent this problem from starting to impact their businesses.”

Whitepages also identified the top 10 area codes where scam and spam
calls appeared to have originated in 2015 (minus toll-free #s):

Top Area Codes Where Fraudulent Scam Calls Originate

1. 202 – Washington, DC

2. 206 – Seattle, Washington

3. 360 – Western Washington

4. 509 – Spokane, Washington

5. 347 – New York, New York

6. 646 – New York, New York

7. 876 – Jamaica (the country)

8. 703 – Northern Virginia

9. 415 – San Francisco, California

10. 323 – Los Angeles, California

Top Area Codes Where Pesky Spam Calls Originate

1. 407 – Orlando, Florida

2. 202 – Washington, DC

3. 702 – Las Vegas, Nevada

4. 786 – Miami, Florida

5. 213 – Los Angeles, California

6. 646 – New York, New York

7. 312 – Chicago, Illinois

8. 206 – Seattle, Washington

9. 305 – Miami, Florida

10. 347 – New York, New York

About Whitepages:

Whitepages is the leading source for contact information in North
America and is at the forefront of developing services that help people
find and verify personal and business identities in the digital world.
With a top 40 website, 55 million monthly visitors and several million
downloads for their suite of mobile apps, Whitepages offers access to
more than 250 million personal identities. Whitepages uses its extensive
data insights to monitor phone-based threats for consumers and
businesses, detecting more than one billion robo, telemarketing and scam
calls and texts to date. Whitepages also operates Whitepages Pro, a Web
and API-based service which helps businesses verify the identities of
their customers. To learn more, visit about.whitepages.com.

Contacts

DKC
Alison Crisci, 312-340-6997
Alison_Crisci@dkcnews.com