Revamped PrivacyStar App Uses Color Coding To Help You Avoid Telemarketers

PrivacyStar released a version of its Android app today aimed at making it easier for users to avoid calls from aggressive telemarketers and debt collectors.

The previous PrivacyStar app already provided real-time caller ID, as well as call and text blocking. (You can watch an old TechCrunch TV interview with the company’s CEO here.) It also allows users to report abusive calls and texts. Now, according to Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Sasse, it’s using that data to create a color-coded “alert system” for calls.

In other words, when you get a call from a number that would normally be unknown to you, PrivacyStar won’t just try to tell you who it is, but also identify the caller with a color that indicates how likely they are to be an annoying telemarketer. Here’s how the company described the system:

  • Green: For callers not in the address book and not known to be telemarketers or debt collectors
  • Yellow: A reported telemarketer or debt collector, but not on the PrivacyStar list of reported offenders
  • Red: For callers who are telemarketers or debt collectors that are on the PrivacyStar list of reported offenders
  • Scammer: Known scammers, calls and texts from these numbers will be automatically blocked before reaching the user and a notification will alert the user that a scammer has been blocked

The “offenders” mentioned above are those who have allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In fact, the updated PrivacyStar even includes an option to report offenses directly to the Federal Trade Commission from directly within the app.

I wasn’t able to test the app out, since the new features are available on Android only (Sasse said that’s because developers don’t have access to many call blocking features on the iPhone), plus I actually get very few telemarketing-type calls.

PrivacyStar is available in both free and paid versions, but the new features are available in both. You can download the app here.