Tag: Spam

Thanks to iOS 10, you can now say good-bye to receiving all those unexpected phone calls from scammers and local telemarketers on your iPhone!

As you update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS, you’ll be able to take advantage of how third-party apps, like Hiya, can now identify and automatically block unwanted calls.

Raving about Hiya’s free application, Lets Unlock iPhone gives you a step-by-step guide to how you can start blocking unwanted spam calls on your iPhone once you download the Hiya app. Check it out, oh and let’s not forget the iPhone 7’s new waterproof feature, by clicking the image below:


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Growing up, there was one birthday card I was always hesitant to open. It was one from a family friend who liked to put glitter on the inside of cards to “make them fun.” When I first opened one of these glitter bombs, my naïve 7-year-old self thought it was cool. Then I had to clean it. I just got a chore for my birthday, thanks. Much like glitter to a carpet, the act of spoofing isn’t going away anytime soon.

Spoofing is when the caller ID on your phone has been manipulated to hide the true identity of the caller, be it the number, name, or both. It’s tempting to answer a call and provide information to a caller when you think you know who they are or where they’re calling from. And that’s exactly what “spoofers”, for lack of a better sounding term, are counting on.

Take a quick look at some of the more common spoofing phone scams so you can be weary if one comes around.

Common Spoofing Scams:
IRS Scam
Student Loan Scam
Jury Duty Scam
Grandparent Scam

What to do if you suspect you’re on the phone with a spammer:
Hang up. The longer you’re on the phone with them, the more chances they have to convince you to fork over personal information or wire them money.

Do a little recon. If you want to ensure peace of mind and verify that you haven’t indeed missed a free cruise, then look up the number. Is it legit? Sweet, you’re the .00001% who scored a sweet deal, pack your sunscreen and call them back. If you’re with the rest of the 99.9999% population [you are], then you just saved yourself from a scam.

Report it. For every person that thinks, “I’m sure somebody else already reported this, so I won’t,” a puppy dies. Save the puppies. Report the scam.

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Spam and scam – two words that look and sound very similar. To many people, they essentially mean the same: trouble. Here at Hiya, we use these words a lot when we talk about phone security. As we continue to follow our mission of protecting our users from unwanted calls, we want to make sure that they know how to identify a spam or scam call.

We’ve found however, that the lines can become blurry between a spam versus a scam call. So we’re taking a moment to set the record straight and find out what the real difference is.  

A Bunch of Junk – Spam Calls Explained

Our Data and Reputation Services team are experts when it comes to detecting the newest phone spam or scam. They know what distinguishes a spam from a scam call and what you should do if you get one. This is how Jan Volzke, our VP of Reputation Services, explains a spam call,

“Spam calls are similar to email spam in the sense that they’re a form of unwanted communication. Spam calls and text messages are distributed in bulk and in most cases unsolicited, which means they occur without any prior request. Examples may include telemarketers, who are typically live agents hoping to sell their legitimate (albeit unsolicited) services. Another variant of spam calls are robocalls, which deliver a pre-recorded voice statement with the same goal of a sale. Like email spam, robocalls are illegal without prior consent.”

It is also interesting to monitor the call patterns of Spam calls. Call patterns exhibit unique characteristics that allow sophisticated heuristic algorithms to identify Spam calls. Here is a pattern for a number used by Telemarketers:

The pattern shows that Telemarketers consistently make a large number of calls over a long period of time. The daily volumes do not vary by much.

Cheats, Thieves, Swindlers – Meet the Scammers

Here is how Jan defines a scam call,

“Scam calls are a form of fraudulent activity with the goal of stealing your money or your information. Similar to email scams, phone scams often present a bargain for merchandise, or something completely free (such as a free prize or winning a contest). Others demand payment for actions that victims have not done or services not ordered, including missing jury duty or payments on an outstanding debt like unpaid taxes or utility bills. Scams may arrive in form of either calls or text messages and should be blocked or deleted.”

Call patterns for Scam calls are completely different. Since these are criminals, they use one number for a short duration of time and quickly discard it. Here is the call pattern for a number used to propagate an IRS scam. The lifespan of the number is very short and the volumes are bursty in nature – a few days of large amounts of calls, followed by a long period of no activity.


Scam calls are harder to identify because of how short their lifespan is. Criminals are getting smarter and frequently switching numbers to avoid detection. Most anti-spam solutions that rely on user reports are ineffective against scam callers for this very reason.  Advanced heuristics-based call pattern analysis and machine learning algorithms help detect scam calls.

Whether it’s a spam or a scam call, the best thing to do is avoid engaging with these numbers. If you happen to pick up a call that seems suspicious, hang up immediately. An unwanted call may at best be annoying and at worst may lead consumers into costly traps.

If you want to put an end to all those pesky calls, we’ve got you covered. The Hiya mobile app provides you with real-time alerts of incoming calls that are marked as suspected spam or scam. By blocking and blacklisting numbers, you can stop repeat spammers and scammers from ever ringing through to you. Say bye to spam and scam with Hiya.

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We’ve all been guilty of clogging up our smartphones with apps. But over time, some people have learned to limit the number of apps they have on their phones for a variety of reasons, while others are quick to test a cool new app, but soon delete it if it isn’t worth keeping around.

However, no matter how you find and organize the apps you use, it’s all about knowing what to look for in a high-quality mobile app that makes the process easier.

When it comes to a caller ID app that’s versatile and you can see yourself using on a daily basis, it’s even more important to make sure you’re picking the right one.

Here are five things to look for in a mobile caller ID app:

1  Awesome data sources: The most immediate advantage offered by a caller ID app is how it identifies incoming calls and text messages. Gone are the days of debating on whether you’ll pick up a call. Now you’ll immediately know if you want to answer, ignore or even block future calls from the number. Because you’ll be making big decisions based on what your app tells you, it’s crucial that the data used by the app is accurate and up to date. Hiya leverages a reliable, consistently updated database to provide you the best info possible.

2  ID for both text and calls: The use of texting has become a practical and easy alternative to phone calls, it makes so much more sense, that many people want to identify not only voice calls, but text messages too. A caller ID app that doesn’t provide this service means limited effectiveness and a lot of time spent trying to figure out who is texting you and why. Hiya delivers info on incoming calls and texts, giving you complete coverage on both methods of communication.

3  Detect and avoid spam: Why go through the process of determining if an incoming call is spam when the right app can do it for you? Hiya not only identifies the person or company trying to call your phone, it also lets you know if that person has been reported in the past as a telemarketer, scammer or annoying caller. With that initial information, you can choose to ignore those calls and avoid what could be a costly phone call.

4  Block unwanted callers: Having more control over your calls means you should also get to choose which calls you receive. Finding a caller ID app that gives you that capability will brighten up your day because it stops unwanted calls from interrupting you. Hiya  lets you block any phone number—spam or not. So whether you want to block that telemarketer, or don’t ever want to take a call from your ex again, Hiya has you covered.

5  Customization and ease of use: A smart caller ID app allows users to change settings and make decisions that create a personalized and more individually effective program. With the Hiya app, you can customize how your caller identity shows up when calling other app users. It helps them recognize that it’s you and gets more of your calls answered. A lot of that is due to a simple integration with Facebook or LinkedIn. When you connect Hiya to one of your social profiles, you automatically get your name and photo updated on your caller identity.

Need to see more? Check out some of our other cool features like location and photo sharing by watching our video.


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Go Data, it’s your birthday.

Bust out your party hats because Hiya is giving out a party favor for all ages. Did someone say pop-rocks???!! No. BETTER.

In order to keep our spam protection at its finest, Hiya has integrated the FCC and FTC’s phone complaint lists into our existing database of spammers. Having these two power houses, both highly trusted in the phone spam industry, is incredible. Plus, it solidifies what we already knew: our coverage is solid. How? Great question. Glad you asked. More than 70% of the numbers reported to the FCC and FTC were already flagged by our own detection service. [Self high five].

However, that doesn’t mean that our improvement train has reached the end of the line. The FCC and FTC issue weekly and biweekly updates to their lists. Therefore, their reports will be continuously integrated into our service (Hiya) and into your lovely hands. On average, the combination of the two lists provides Hiya an additional 7,000 U.S. numbers every two weeks to add to our already solid spam database. Simply put, that means more coverage for our users.

This is just one of the steps that Hiya has taken to directly vet and use third party phone spam information to improve the user experience. Don’t worry, we’re not taking away the power from the people; you can help too! If any of those spammers comes a callin’ (rude), we encourage you to report it through the FTC Complaint Assistant, FCC Complaint Board or Hiya. Either way, we’ll get it, we’ll mark it, and we’ll take it down like pop rocks at a 2nd grade birthday party.

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VP of Product, Mayur Kamat, weighs in on Apple’s recent announcement to allow third party developers to build anti-spam features. Whereas Android has always allowed developers this kind of freedom, Apple has been severely late to the game. While it’s a step in the right direction that Apple has acknowledged the growing problem of phone spam, there are limitations to their offering and more needs to be done.

To learn more about what this could mean for your iPhone and what it also *won’t* mean, click on the image below.


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Hiya is hip, we’ve got the 411, and we don’t want you getting tied up with phone scams, no matter how dope their ID is.* How, you ask?

We fight the bad guys. In our industry, that’s spammers (annoying) and scammers (fraudulent). According to the FTC, “every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams – from a few dollars to their life savings.” So, while we’re fighting the good fight (not all heroes wear capes), use these tips to protect yourself from scams.

Hang up. If you get a call asking for payment, hang up immediately. No one from a legitimate business or federal government agency will call you demanding money, particularly the IRS.

Don’t call an unknown number back. Scammers can be sitting on a beach in the Caribbean and look like they’re calling from the US. This tactic is called spoofing and it’s almost as gross as it sounds. If you call them back, scammers can charge you by the minute. You won’t know it’s happening and the charges add up very quickly (the FCC broke this down for you). If it’s important, the caller will leave a voicemail. If they don’t, you’re justified in not answering. Mischief – managed.

Never share credit card numbers or specific personal identification. Information like your social security and credit card number should never be given to a caller, even if you are familiar with the business or charity they appear to be calling from (remember, spoofing). Well known scams have posed as energy companies, Microsoft technical support, and charities. Rule of thumb: only give information if YOU called THEM.

Do not pay money up front. You just won a subscription to the grumpy cat of the month club, what are you going to do next??! Well, first I need to pay this company for the sweet prize that I won… NO. Any legitimate offers will not require an upfront payment.

Report suspicious numbers. Misery loves company so share your experience with others! Scams can be reported through the FTC’s Complaint Assistant.

Never post your number online. Just because the candy’s free doesn’t mean you should take it. Don’t put your number online unless necessary. If you build it, they will come. If you document it, they will call.

Get Phone Scam Protection from Your Carrier or App Store. Android Headlines broke down the Top 10 Best Android Apps to Block Calls.

Now that you have the legwork taken care of, treat yo’self and know that any money you spend will be through your choice, and your choice alone.**


*I call this Ode to a Rap, by a Child of the 80’s
**Hiya cannot be held responsible for any frivolous spending caused by the elation of being free from scammers.

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Being a victim of a phone scam is never fun, and here at Hiya we’re doing our best to protect and prevent you from being a scammer’s next victim. In our monthly round up of the “Worst Phone Scams of the Month,” we’ll keep you posted on the latest scams that are affecting fellow smartphone users, by informing you about the latest trends in phone fraud and text messaging attacks.

This past month, we have confirmed a number of SMiShing attacks in the U.S for Bank of America while text messages for Scotiabank and Canadian Bank of Imperial Commerce (CIBC) are affecting our neighbors to the North.

As for AT&T and Apple customers, there is an increase of SMiShing in the United Kingdom amongst Apple ID, iCloud ID, and iTunes accounts. Messages will warn customers that their accounts have either been deactivated or suspended, or have had too many unsuccessful login attempts, and to verify their information through a link.

Lastly, despite tax season being over, scammers are making their way internationally through text message attacks from HM Revenue & Customs in the United Kingdom. Luckily, HMRC has caught on and has notified their customers that they “will never ask for personal/payment information by text or email”.


Below is our monthly Smishing sampling for you to keep an eye on:

Apple4Apple3 Apple2 Apple1 BOA2 BOA1 CIBC1 HMRC3 HMRC2 HMRC1



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We may have met in another life once, under a different name: Whitepages Caller ID. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a fake name to throw you off (we’re all about keeping identities real). We have set off as our own company, changed our name, got a makeover and man, are we excited!

A little background to guide our story: In 1997, a digital identity company named Whitepages launched in Seattle. In 2008, the company launched Whitepages Caller ID, a mobile business, and it has been a mover and a shaker ever since. Recently, as Whitepages Caller ID’s successes continued to grow, we realized we could make this product bigger – better – on our own. Long story short, here we are and darn glad to meet you!

So what is Hiya? What do you get with Hiya? Excellent question; glad you asked. For those experienced with Whitepages Caller ID, you’re getting the exact same high-quality services that you did before. Difference is, you’ll have a cleaner, slicker user-experience, with an updated look and feel to match our new identity. For those who are new to our space (welcome!), you can expect:

Caller Identification

Hiya has more than 600 million active mobile and landline numbers in the US and over 1.5 billion unique numbers on a global scale. So yes, we can tell you who’s on the other end of the line, regardless of whether they are in your contacts. We’re taking the guess work out of “to answer or not to answer.” Whether you want to avoid that distant relative is completely up to you.

Spam and Scam Protection

If it acts like a duck and quacks like a duck… we shoot the duck. (Not literally! Don’t report us to PETA). Hiya analyzes more than 400 million calls per month to provide users with alerts on the latest phone spam threats. We’ll keep you up to date on scams so you can stay safe. If a duck squeaks through the quacks (HA!), users can easily report that number to help protect the community.

Block Unwanted Calls

We know we’re not the only one who ever re-named a number in their address book as “BY THE BEARD OF ZEUS, DON’T ANSWER”. It’s easier now: Hiya lets users block unwanted callers, and provides an auto-blocker that keeps known scam numbers from ever ringing through to a user’s phone.

Needless to say, it’s pretty awesome, but there’s more! Come on down and you’ll also gain access to in-call location sharing (you’ll wonder how you lived without it), the ability to look-up any unknown number, and enhanced contact management.

Can you feel our excitement? Simply put, we are undeniably passionate about making today’s mobile calling experience better for all of us. We’re ecstatic to introduce you to Hiya and can’t wait to make a lasting impact!

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