As reported here on Techlicious, phone scams are on the rise. In the new “One Ring Phone Scam,” crooks create a missed call notification to a premium-rate phone service, hoping to trick you into calling a $9 per minute international chat line with a $19.95 call fee.
The scam works because the scammer’s number isn’t in your smartphone’s contact list. But what if it was? What if your phone already knew the scammers’ phone numbers, crowdsourced from people like you from around the country?
That’s the idea behind Truecaller, a smartphone caller ID app. With Truecaller, when a telemarketer calls you, you’ll be warned before you pick up the phone that it’s a spam call so long as one of the app’s 40 million users have already reported it as such. It’ll also give you info on legit callers, too. And, of course, there is a block feature.
When you first install Truecaller, you’ll be asked to provide your cell phone number and link the app to a Facebook or Twitter account. Given Truecaller’s nature, you’ll want to enter the app’s privacy settings (Settings > Privacy) to limit who can have access to your contact information by searching your phone number – all callers, friends of friends or by request only.
Naturally, the best way to block real telemarketers is to add your phone number to the Federal Trade Commission’s official Do Not Call Registry page. Doing so won’t block scammers, however. Adding an app like Truecaller (or a competing app like PrivacyStar) to your phone helps provide you with that extra protection.
The Truecaller app is available for virtually all mobile platforms, but the live caller ID functionality is limited to Android devices. You can download it by visiting truecaller.com or via the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).