Tag: Featured

With the new year ahead of us, comes the season for health insurance open-enrollment, which has led to Medicare insurance scams.

Posing as ‘private companies,’ scammers are targeting eligible seniors and offering illegitimate Medicare plans to gain access to the their financial and personal information. Unfortunately, in return, the victim receives none of the promised Medicare benefits and instead a big hole in their pockets.

This is currently prevalent during Medicare’s open-enrollment period that runs from October 15 through December 7.

Most recently, the FTC has been warning those who qualify for Medicare to avoid becoming a scammer’s victim by following the tips below:

  • There are no Medicare sales representatives. Anyone who tries to sell you Medicare insurance while claiming to be an “official Medicare agent” is a scammer.
  • Ignore anyone who says you must join a prescription drug plan to keep your Medicare coverage. The Medicare prescription drug plan (also known as Part D) is voluntary and has nothing to do with the rest of your Medicare coverage.
  • Hang up on anyone who asks for a quick payment, threatens you, or offers you free equipment or services in exchange for your information. Never give information over the phone to someone who says they need it so you can keep your coverage.
  • If you need help with Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to Medicare.gov

Do your due diligence by protecting yourself or loved ones by passing this information along to those who could be targeted by this season’s growing scam.

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Political issues are always a hot topic and we all know they can catch anyone’s attention if it’s a debate one feels very strongly about. And unfortunately, as 2020 election campaigns heat up, robocallers are now using our political views to their advantage by discussing political issues to lure us into one of their scams.

How It Works

Robocallers will disguise themselves as politicians and even attempt to sound just like prominent representatives like President Trump or Nancy Pelosi.

Once they’re able to keep a victim on the line, they will continue to discuss political issues like the border wall, which “is currently a popular topic for these calls,” reported the Better Business Bureau. They then request that the victim make donations to their chosen political cause by requesting they share personal and financial information.

How to Avoid Becoming A Victim

  1. If you receive an unexpected call from an unfamiliar number claiming to be a representative from a political party, be wary of the caller or hang up immediately.
  2. Be aware that scammers can spoof numbers to make them look like they are local or legitimate calls. If you pick up an unexpected call, hang up immediately and do not interact with the caller.
  3. Never share personal or financial information to unexpected callers or businesses you have not confirmed are legitimate.
  4. If you have been a victim or have received a call similar to this scam, help others from becoming targeted by filing a complaint with the FCC.
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In this day and age, the average person is surrounded by cyber, phone and online threats. While having the opportunity to handle all aspects of our lives with a smartphone or a laptop can be a godsend, it also makes the ‘job’ of fraudsters much easier. 

SIM swapping – also referred to as SIM jacking, SIM porting, port out fraud, phone porting and SIM hijacking – is stemming from a service offered by many providers who are willing to move your phone number and services to a new SIM card in case something happens to your original SIM or phone. 

Here’s what happens. The fraudster needs to have some of your personal information, in order to be able to trick the provider’s representative into executing the SIM change. These are, in most cases, details available on social media accounts, such as name, email, birth date. If more elaborate details are required, the fraudster will acquire these either by use of phishing emails, by convincing a victim to provide personal or financial information or by purchasing them from organised criminals. 

Once they have the necessary details, all they need is a support agent on the service provider’s end who will perform the SIM change, having identified the owner of the phone number. From then on, it’s pretty much smooth sailing for the scammer. Instead of the real owner of the phone number, the scammer will receive all calls and texts, including codes sent by financial institutions for two-factor authentication. 

Here are some red flags to look out for. You may have fallen victim to SIM-jacking if you’ve experienced one of the following: 

  • Your phone connection might stop working, meaning you will no longer receive calls or texts messages and are unable to make a call. This can happen because your service may already have been redirected to another SIM. If you experience this, contact your provider immediately. 
  • Criminals will send a flurry of nuisance calls and/or messages in an attempt to get victims to turn their phones off. If you’re suspicious, it’s vital that you don’t turn your phone off as this is used as a distraction to delay you noticing a loss of service when a SIM is swapped.
  • If you see any unknown or strange activity on your bank account – or any account for that matter, always contact support to find out what’s going on. 

Of course, it’s best to avoid falling into the SIM hijacking trap. Here are a handful of tips to avoid being a scammer’s next victim: 

  • Be on the lookout for phishing! Don’t click links, download programs, or sign in to websites you don’t recognize. 
  • You should keep your personal data personal, and share as little as possible on your social media accounts. Also, it is advisable to delete or deactivate any accounts you no longer use. 
  • Protect your accounts as much as possible. Use randomized and unique passwords. Use a suitable two-factor security method that relies on a physical device, and not on SMS-based verification. Avoid using your Google, Facebook, etc. accounts to log into other services. 
  • You should ask your provider what additional security options they may offer so that your service cannot be diverted without your permission. 

Have you already been SIM jacked? Here is a list of tips to help you do some damage control: 

  • While panicking is understandable, you need your brain’s full capacity to solve the situation. So deep breaths and…
  • Contact your mobile service provider to either cancel your phone number/service or revert it back into your control. Also, request the details of the support process that has led them to swap the SIM, as well as any activity that occurred since the swap so that you can take that information to the authorities. 
  • Change your password for any of your accounts that may have been compromised. 
  • Secure any financial accounts and contact your bank to take all necessary measures. 
  • File a report with law enforcement. 

A successful SIM swap attack can affect many of your accounts, therefore, many areas of your life (bank/card details, tax returns, personal correspondence, etc). It’s best to keep some of those areas offline, and whether you avoid or fall victim to such an attack, always educate others, so more people can be aware and alert. 

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We may develop the Hiya app in Seattle but Pumpkin Spice Lattes aren’t the only thing we’ve got brewin’! In addition to keeping our caffeine intake up as Fall sets in, we’ve been hard at work on some enhancements to the app that we’d like to tell you about. 

Our mission at Hiya is to bring trust and identity to the mobile call. We’re experts at identifying callers because of our industry-leading spam identification rate and low error rate. A high identification rate and low error rate ensures that the maximum number of desirable calls get through while the undesirable ones don’t – and we’re delighted to say that this app update delivers a 400% improvement in spam identification and blocking coverage to users! You read that right: we’ve tweaked, we’ve tested, and we can now safely say that this is the most powerful version of the Hiya app that we’ve shipped to date.

Hiya for iOS now supports Dark Mode!

Even though our app primarily helps you steer clear of unwanted robocalls, that doesn’t mean we left the look and feel untouched. We’re thrilled to announce that the Hiya app now supports Dark Mode on iOS (Android to follow)! Finally, existing Hiya app users who don’t yet have a Premium subscription can now use the Neighbor Scam blocking feature to the fullest extent by adding up to 25 phone numbers (previously a Premium-only capability).

We won’t stop here. Be on the lookout as we continue to improve the app throughout 2019 and beyond!

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GoDaddy, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, today launched the Spam Call Filter in GoDaddy’s SmartLine mobile app, a feature introduced in partnership with Hiya, an industry leader in nuisance and scam call protection. The feature sends spam calls from known black lists directly to voicemail, minimizing interruptions throughout the day for busy small business owners. 

Through an analysis of 13 billion global incoming mobile calls per month and expansive algorithms, GoDaddy SmartLine customers’ inbound spam calls will now go straight to voicemail and labelled as spam in their SmartLine call history. Hiya keeps a continually updated database of spam numbers to protect customers from unwanted calls. This new feature will reduce the amount of unwanted calls ringing on users’ phones, providing customers 24/7 real-time spam call protection and a record of flagged spam calls in their SmartLine call history. 

A previous study commissioned by GoDaddy, found that more than half of small business owners consider 1:1 conversations with customers crucial to their business and 40 percent reported knowing whether an incoming call is a business or personal call would be helpful in managing their productivity. In fact, respondents noted they’ve answered calls non professionally thinking it was a robocall. In tandem, Hiya’s recent State of The Call report found that U.S. mobile users have received 25.3 billion robocalls in the first half of 2019 and 48 percent of calls U.S. mobile users receive are picked up, leaving more than half of all calls unanswered. 

“Entrepreneurs are pressed for time as it is, and an increase in robocalls creates additional strain,” said Melissa Schneider, VP Global Marketing Operations GoDaddy. “At GoDaddy, we’re focused on building solutions that make it easy for entrepreneurs to focus on what matters to their business. Spam Call Filter helps SmartLine customers accomplish meaningful work and maintain connections with customers and clients, without the hassle of unwanted spam calls.” 

The GoDaddy SmartLine mobile app enables users to differentiate business and personal calls by providing customers a second phone number for their business. Through the integration of Hiya’s capabilities to the SmartLine mobile app, customers will now receive a third level of distinction to secure customers from the significant rise of robocalls. 

“SmartLine’s Spam Call Filter leverages Hiya’s market leading spam detection platform to ensure business owners are protected from nuisance and scam calls,” said Alex Algard, CEO of Hiya. “We are pleased to partner with GoDaddy as they play a leading role in restoring trust in the mobile call by tackling one of the biggest issues currently impacting people worldwide.” 

The Hiya integration is available now to all SmartLine customers for no additional cost. 

To learn more about GoDaddy SmartLine, visit: https://www.godaddy.com/smartline

To learn more about Hiya, visit: https://hiya.com 

About GoDaddy 

GoDaddy is empowering everyday entrepreneurs around the world by providing all of the help and tools to succeed online. With 19 million customers worldwide, GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company visit www.GoDaddy.com.

About Hiya

Hiya brings trust and identity into the mobile call by making the calling experience secure and engaging. With a mission to provide a better phone experience on every smartphone globally, Hiya’s products and services provide users with the context needed to help them decide whether or not to pick up their phone. Through analysis of more than 13 billion calls per month, Hiya protects nearly 100 million users from unwanted scam and nuisance calls globally. Hiya is available as a consumer app on Google Android and iPhone and is integrated into the phone experience for AT&T Call Protect, T-Mobile Name ID, and Samsung Galaxy, A-Series and J-Series users worldwide. For more information, please visit https://hiya.com.

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Today, Hiya announced a new product that allows businesses to provide meaningful context into their calls to mobile customers. Featuring business name, logo, location and reason for the call, Hiya Connect helps companies improve contact rates and increase the quality of conversations with their customers.

With Hiya Connect, businesses are able to instill trust by providing identity and context at the first ring. This significantly increases call completion rates, customer satisfaction, and topline revenue. Hiya Connect helps businesses:

  • Increase contact rates. Consumers are frustrated with the amount of fraud and nuisance calls they are receiving and therefore expect, more than ever before, context when receiving a phone call. Hiya Connect presents a company’s brand identity, so more consumers will pick up or call back numbers when they know who is calling. 
  • Leverage the power of their brand. Businesses spend a significant amount of time and money building their brand, only to be stuck behind an anonymous phone number at the critical moment they’re trying to reach their customers. Hiya Connect allows businesses to leverage the credibility they’ve built with their brand’s reputation at the very moment that they are trying to reach their customers.
  • Restore trust in the phone call. A phone call is the most personalized form of communication between a business and their customer, outside of face-to-face interaction. Hiya Connect helps businesses establish and restore the trust that has been impacted by the proliferation of spam calls and not only increases contact rates, but also the quality of conversations a business has with its customers or prospects.
  • Access important call analytics. Enterprise call centers measure every aspect of their business, but very few are able to capture the sentiment of consumers for calls that go unanswered. Hiya Connect provides a wealth of insights in its Caller Registry analytic solution including contact rates and consumer sentiment (e.g. how many people have blocked a number or reported it as spam, etc.).

Hiya Connect is currently deployed in 40+ countries via Hiya’s Android and iOS apps, and via the company’s partnership with Samsung. It requires no technical integration and can be up and running within minutes. For more information, please contact connect@hiya.com.

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Yesterday, CNET and TechCrunch published articles claiming that some robocalling apps (including Hiya) send basic device data (e.g. OS version, device timezone) to third-party data analytics companies without consumers’ explicit consent. To be clear, the third party analytics companies that these stories are referring to are services like Google Analytics, all of which help Hiya improve or track how our service is performing so that we can provide the best experience for our users.

This is an important topic, and we thank Dan Hastings, CNET and TechCrunch for bringing this matter to our attention. We have issued an app update that has fixed the issue reported.

While we do not mean to deflect the story about app analytics in any manner, it is important to point out that numerous apps across many verticals do exactly what these stories are aiming to “uncover”. Also, we find some irony in the fact that even TechCrunch and CNET’s own mobile apps currently utilize third party analytics in the same manner as they reported that Hiya did. To be clear, many media company apps behave in the same manner, so the TechCrunch and CNET apps do not stand out in this regard from most apps, but neither does the Hiya app or “robocall blocking” apps.

We stand committed to providing our users with the best spam detection service on the market, and we will always do this with the utmost respect to our users’ privacy. Read more about our privacy philosophy here.

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The ongoing battle for the fight against robocalls has found a stronger line of defense after the US House of Representatives pass the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act (H.R. 3375) on Wednesday, July 24 by a vote of 429-3.

The Act is as follows:

  • Requires that phone carriers implement call authentication technology so consumers can trust their caller ID again, with no additional line-item for consumers, and includes a process to help rural carriers implement this technology.
  • Allows carriers to offer call blocking services to consumers, with no additional line-item charge, with important transparency safeguards to make sure important calls aren’t inadvertently blocked.
  • Directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue rules to protect consumers from calls they didn’t agree to receive and to ensure consumers can withdraw consent.
  • Requires the FCC to enact safeguards so companies can’t abuse robocall exemptions.
  • Ensures the FCC has the authority and the tools to take strong, quick action when it tracks down robocallers, including by extending the statute of limitations from one year to three, and in some instances four, years for callers violating robocall prohibitions.
  • Mandates the FCC to submit a report to Congress on the implementation of its reassigned numbers database to make sure the Commission is effectively protecting consumers from unwanted calls.

Committee on Energy & Commerce members Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), who had introduced the bill to the House of Representatives last month were joined by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Ranking Member Bob Latta (R-OH) to release the following statement, “Today, the House of Representatives voted to restore Americans’ confidence in the telephone system and put consumers back in charge of their phones.  We’re proud of the strong support our bipartisan Stopping Bad Robocalls Act received this afternoon and look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to produce a bill that the President can sign into law.  The American people are counting on us to help end the robocall epidemic, and we will deliver for them.”

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Today, we are excited to announce that we are collaborating with Comcast to help protect Xfinity Mobile customers from unwanted nuisance and scam phone calls. Starting today, Xfinity Mobile customers can download the Hiya app for free to begin receiving alerts about potential spam calls and block them, as well. With Hiya, Xfinity Mobile customers will receive alerts about potential spam calls while having the capability to block all and any unwanted calls. For legitimate calls, the app will also identify common businesses clearly identifying who is calling and includes a “neighbor spoofing” blocker, allowing customers to block specific area codes if they are bombarded by a number of unwanted calls from that area code.

Not only are we pleased to help protect Xfinity Mobile customers from unwanted calls, but we are proud to collaborate with a company that has been aggressively tackling the issue of unwanted calls head on. Comcast has been playing a leadership role in the industry-wide effort to develop and implement SHAKEN/STIR, an important protocol to combat fraudulent calls. In March, Comcast and AT&T (a Hiya partner!) announced what is believed to be the first call between two separate providers’ landline voice networks using the SHAKEN/STIR protocol.

Hiya brings trust, identity and context to the mobile call. With a mission to provide a better phone experience, Hiya provides users with important context, giving them the right information at the right time. Our collaboration with Xfinity Mobile gets us one step closer to restoring trust in this important means of communication.

To learn more about our collaboration with Xfinity Mobile, please visit the Comcast blog here

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Last night, Hiya attended Seattle Business magazine’s 30th annual 100 Best Companies to Work for awards dinner at the Washington State Convention Center.

Amongst 1,000 attendees, companies were honored in four categories – small, midsize, large, and headquartered outside of Washington.

For the second consecutive year, we were proud to be named one of the best small companies (15-49 employees) in Washington.

“A common theme across all these successful companies is transparent, communicative leadership and responsiveness to employee concerns,” said Seattle Business magazine Editor in Chief Rob Smith. “A positive company culture drives innovation and profit, boosts productivity, reduces turnover and creates employee enthusiasm.”

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