Tag: Featured

As we close out 2019, we are honored to end the year by being named Built In Seattle’s #3 pick in their “50 Best Small Companies” list and ranked in their overall ” 100 Best Places to Work In Seattle” list.

Check out why we qualified and how we stood up to the rest by clicking here.

Built In Seattle quoted a Hiya employee saying, “Working in Hiya is truly unique in that you’d have the opportunity to wear many hats and interact with different stakeholders. The impact of each individual on all projects can be tremendous.”

Built In’s “Best Small Companies” list rates companies with less than 100 employees based on their employer benefits, and employee submitted compensation data. Rank is determined by combining a company score in each of these categories.

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President Donald Trump signed a bill on Monday that increases fines on criminal robocall violations and cracks down on companies making the calls, as part of a federal push against telephone scammers.

“This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls,” the White House Office of the Press Secretary said of the TRACED Act. “American families deserve control over their communications, and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation.”

The move comes as part of crackdown against the targeting companies and individuals who have collectively placed more than 1 billion unwanted calls for financial schemes and other services. Monday’s bill, which passed in the Senate in May and the House earlier this month, came following the Federal Communications Commission’s announcement of a nationwide crackdown on illegal robocalls in June.

The legislation imposes stiffer fines of as much as $10,000 per call on robocallers who knowingly flout the rules on calls and instructs the FCC to develop further regulations that could shield consumers from unwanted calls.

It will also accelerate the rollout of so-called “call authentication” technologies the industry is currently developing, which could cut down on the number of calls coming from unverified numbers.

Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican and cosponsor of the bill, pointed to its bipartisan support in a statement earlier this month anticipating the President’s signature.

“I have yet to meet someone who says they enjoy receiving those unwanted and illegal robocalls that plague our phones, whether we’re at home, at work, or in the car, which is why the TRACED Act takes several important steps in the fight to curb this scourge,” he said. He called the measure “a significant win for consumers in every corner of the country, and it finally and officially puts illegal robocallers on notice.”

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey said that, by passing the legislation, the Senate “sent Americans a holiday gift on everyone’s list: stopping the plague of robocalls.”

“The annoying and harassing robocalls we receive every day are neither a Democrat nor Republican menace; they are a universal menace,” he added.

The law isn’t the only measure being taken to target the calls. The FCC voted in June to give wireless carriers like Verizon the green light to block unwanted robocalls automatically for all customers. In August, 12 of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies and attorneys general from all 50 states plus Washington, DC, announced a voluntary agreement to prevent and punish illegal robocallers.

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Today, the senate decided to give their final approval to House-passed legislation that would not only minimize but hopefully stop the scourge of robocalls flooding consumer phones across the U.S.

According to International Business Times, “Spam detection services company Hiya released findings last week indicating spam calls increased 108% this year to 54.6 billion, with consumers receiving an average 14 such calls a month. The company also found Americans answer their cellphones less than half the time and only 18% of the time if the call is coming from an unidentified number.”

To learn more about this bill and how it will eliminate scammers from calling you, click here.

Senate approves House-passed legislation that will cut down the number of robocalls plaguing consumers.

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Hiya, the industry leader in nuisance and scam call protection, has seen spam calls rise 49% since this time last year (January through November 2019), based on data the company analyzes from more than 13 billion calls per month. The data also finds more than 2.1 billion spam calls were made in 2019, with the average Canadian receiving six unwanted calls per month. 

Below are some key findings from Hiya’s Canada State of the Spam Call report, which includes data surrounding nuisance and scam calls:

MOST POPULAR PHONE SCAMS:

Phone fraudsters use various techniques when calling their victims. According to Hiya’s data, the most common types of scams that fraudsters are using to target Canadians include: 

  • The Immigration Scam: Scammers are posing as immigration officers to trick new Canadian residents or those working through the Canadian immigration system. Victims are told they have incorrectly completed and submitted immigration documents which are required by law. 
  • The Emergency/Grandparent Scam: Scammers will target senior citizens in the early morning or late at night, to better the chance that the victim is disoriented. They then claim that the victim’s grandchild is in trouble and in need of money. The scammer demands that the grandparent send money immediately through a wire transfer service. 
  • The Inheritance Scam: Scammers will call a victim asking if they are aware that a relative has a large sum of cash in a bank overseas. They usually pose as a lawyer, government representative, banker or foreign government official. They will go to great lengths to convince the victim that the fortune is real, and that they will need their personal and financial information to claim the lump sum. 
  • Tech Support Scams: Scammers target older people by notifying them that there is a problem with their computer, which can be fixed for a fee. They then trick them into downloading malware by sending them a link that then infects their computer with a virus. Scammers can also trick victims into handing over financial information and personal details over the phone. 

TOP AREA CODES:

To help Canadians avoid these calls, Hiya has identified the top area codes where these scams appear to originate:

  1. 647 (Toronto) 
  2. 416 (Ontario) 
  3. 519 (Southwestern Ontario) 
  4. 604 (Vancouver) 
  5. 780 (Edmonton) 
  6. 403 (Alberta) 
  7. 514 (Montreal) 
  8. 905 (Hamilton) 
  9. 778 (British Columbia) 
  10. 613 (Ottawa) 

STAYING SAFE: Tips on mitigating the risk of scam calls include: 

  • Do not answer or return calls if you do not recognize the number.
  • Specific to the immigration scam, under no condition would anyone from the Government of Canada ask for payment through prepaid credit cards, iTunes gift cards, or money transfer services. 
  • Anytime a payment is required, it is to be made through a bank or online at the federal department’s website. 

For more tips on how to avoid these calls and what to do if you answer them, check out Hiya’s blog post here. Hiya provides a valuable solution by helping consumers determine whether or not to pick up the phone. This includes identifying legitimate numbers by name as well as identifying and blocking known spam and scam numbers. Hiya provides an industry-first solution available on both its iOS and Android apps to protect consumers from robocalls and other phone scams.

For more details from the State of the Spam Call Report, including top unwanted call categories, top phone scams, top area codes targeted by spammers, and more, please click here.


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Today Hiya released findings showing that as spam calls steadily rise, Americans continue to let their phone ring through to voicemail. The findings come on the heels of the newly announced Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, which aims to do away with the scourge of robocalls, having just passed nearly unanimously by the notoriously divided House of Representatives (next step is the Senate). According to Hiya’s analysis, spam calls grew to 54.6 billion in 2019, up 108% compared to the previous year, and consumers receive 14 spam calls per month, on average. Simultaneously, the number of calls being picked up remains at just under one in two (47%), one percentage point lower than when Hiya last released the State of the Phone Call report in June, but with a 5% decline since the beginning of the year. 

“The fact that US spam calls grew 108% in 2019, coupled with the fact that less than half of all calls made to mobile phones are picked up, speaks to the impact this epidemic continues to have on Americans,” said Alex Algard, CEO of Hiya. “We applaud the joint efforts of the House and Senate who have been pushing hard over the past year for the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act to become law, and look forward to working alongside both regulators and our carrier partners in 2020 to collectively restore trust in the mobile call.”

Over the course of 2019, Hiya found that the average American makes and receives a total of 218 calls per month. Of these, 65% of calls identified as a legitimate business were picked up by consumers, lasting an average of 2 minutes and 58 seconds. While spam calls have made people wary of answering their phones, it’s still the preferred form of communication for many industries, from healthcare to financial services to education, which underscores the importance of accurately identifying both unwanted and wanted calls.

Below are some key findings from Hiya’s State of the Phone Call report, which includes data surrounding nuisance and scam calls:

Unwanted robocall stats and spam trends for the first half of the year :

  • Total number of robocalls placed in 2019: 54.6 Billion 
  • Growth in Robocalls year over year: 108%
  • Average number of monthly unwanted calls received per person: 14 (exactly double the 7 unwanted calls Americans were receiving at the end of 2018)

Average calls per month:

  • On average, people make and receive a total of 218 calls per month 
  • Of those 218 total calls, 117 are calls received and 101 are calls made 
  • Of those calls received, 39%, or 46 of them, are from numbers “not saved to contacts” 

Average incoming call pick-up rates:

  • 47% of all calls received are answered 
  • 71% of calling numbers that are “saved in contacts” are answered 
  • 65% of calls identified with a business name are answered 
  • 18% of unidentified calls are answered 
  • 9% of calls identified as spam are answered 

Typical duration of phone calls:

  • Spam calls: 45 seconds 
  • Unidentified calls: 30 seconds
  • Identified calls from businesses: 2 minutes and 58 seconds
  • Calls from a user’s contact list: 5 minutes and 28 seconds

Top business industries calling mobile phones ranked in order of total call volume:

  • Health Care: doctor’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies 
  • Financial Services: banks, credit unions, debt collectors
  • Insurance: home, life, health, auto
  • Government: schools, government agencies
  • Automotive: car dealerships, car repair 

For more details from the State of the Phone Call Report, including top unwanted call categories, top phone scams, top area codes targeted by spammers, and more, please click here.

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As stockings are hung, trees are trimmed, and holiday shopping begins, it’s no surprise that when it comes to shopping, most of us have migrated to ONLINE SHOPPING.

With that being said, whether it be a limited edition of the Complete Hardcover Collection of Harry Potter or the non-stick pan from “As Seen On TV” for your last minute White Elephant Gift, Amazon has always been our source to find such things. Unfortunately, being the popular go-to-shopping site that they’ve become, scammers in the UK have picked up on the trend and are now targeting Amazon shoppers with unwanted charges for Amazon Prime memberships.

Using robocall techniques, a victim will receive a call stating they have been charged for an Amazon Prime subscription. They are then told to press 1, and are connected to a scammer posing as an Amazon representative as they attempt to cancel the subscription.

The scammer then informs the victim that the subscription was purchased fraudulently and that they will need remote access to the victim’s computer in order to fix the security flaw.

The victim is then asked to download an application called ‘Team Viewer’ and asked to log into their online banking account. Unfortunately, the combination of the two then gives the scammer access not only to the victim’s computer but also to both their personal and financial information, allowing them to steal personal funds right from under their nose.

As of last month, £400,000 have been stolen from unsuspecting victims in the UK. Police officials are now warning citizens to, “look into call blockers/filters from your phone provider and just remember if you are unsure, just put the phone down and never give out your persona information over the phone.”

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Today, was a win for advocates pushing to find a solution against the scourge of robocalls flooding consumers across the U.S.

Thanks to an almost-unanimous vote of 417-3, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill, backed by Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, that directs the Federal Communications Commission to submit evidence of criminal robocall violations to the Federal Department of Justice and will now require phone companies to provide solutions that will identify robocalls before they reach our phones.

Times Telegram reported that, “The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act, or TRACED Act, was introduced in the Senate on Jan. 16 by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota. The bill passed the Senate by a 97-1 vote May 23, with support from Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, before passing the House by a 417-3 vote on Dec. 4.

Portions of legislation cosponsored by Brindisi, including the Spam Calls Task Force Act and the Locking Up Robocallers Act, were included in the Senate bill, according to a statement.”

Now that the co-sponsored version of the bill has passed the House, the final bill will now go to the Senate. Once passed by the Senate it will head to the President for review.

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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. Since July, Hiya has seen a 150% growth in November.

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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