WhitePages Current, a free caller and text identification application for Android users, has been updated today to counter the plague that is the “one ring scam.” In case you’re unfamiliar, scammers are now trying to exploit smartphone owner’s “missed call” screen by programmatically dialing thousands of numbers per hour, all of which they immediately hang up on after just one ring.
Users who see these missed calls will often call the number back out of curiosity, and then are charged for every minute they’re kept on the line. (According to the BBB, calls are connected to paid international adult entertainment services, or other premium services located outside the U.S.)
The WhitePages Current application was already working to ID unknown numbers, including those from known scammers, but the company today announced that it has now added over 20,000 new scam numbers directly tied to “One Ring” and similar scams. When these numbers dial your phone, you’re alerted with an immediate notification which reads “possible fraud or spam.” This is displayed on the screen during the incoming calls.
You’ll also be able to be alerted to suspicious numbers in the app’s recent call history, which is helpful since “One Ring” scammers generally hang up quicker than you can answer.
And finally, the app will offer a prominent warning if you’re about to place an outbound call to a number with a high spam score – in case you miss all the other notifications, and are just really, really hoping that your missed call is from that guy or girl you met at the bar last night.
The “One Ring” scam is actually fairly clever, since it relies on the fact that many consumers now take a phone call quite seriously. If someone is actually dialing you, instead of texting or messaging through some app, then it’s usually important enough to warrant your attention.
The WhitePages Current application is one of many in the company’s lineup of iOS and Android apps, including also WhitePages (the flagship app) and Mr. Number. To date, it has seen over 9 billion calls and texts made by its users, and has ID’d 7 billion of those since its launch in summer 2012.
There are a number of other caller ID applications on the Android market, including many which claim to ID scammers’ phone numbers. However, the WhitePages update is specifically targeting “One Ring” scammers and is offering protection against tens of thousands of “One Ring” scam numbers, which is what makes the app’s update notable.
(Or, you know, you could just stop calling back unknown numbers. I mean, if it’s that important, they’d leave a voicemail, right?)