I have been getting a lot of incoming calls from unknown telephone numbers recently on my iPhone.
Here is a recent example: 763-275-1399.
I didn’t recognize the area code. Later, in my missed call log, the iPhone indicated that the call was from Becker, MN. I don’t know anybody in this little town (pop. 4,500 according to Wikipedia). When I went to the Reverse Phone Lookup on Whitepages on the Internet, the report I got was that this number was probably a “Scam or Fraud” source. This free service identified the number as being made over VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol (a method of making telephone calls using a computer). Furthermore, the number was flagged as “Telemarketer” by others receiving calls from it, and, even more scary, as having a Spam/Fraud Potential of “High Risk.”
I’m picturing somebody sitting in in front of a computer in his or her bedroom making calls to try to scam money from unsuspecting mobile phone users.
In the last two months, I have declined to pick up more than a dozen calls to my iPhone from unknown telephone numbers. Checking them out later on Whitepages produces the same report: Scam or Fraud.
So, here is what my practice will be going forward: If I don’t recognize a telephone number and particularly if I don’t know anybody in the area code it was made from, I won’t pick up. Then I check the Reverse Phone Search feature of Whitepages before possibly calling back.
Sadly, the same is true with my land line telephone number (yes, I still have a land line, also). I screen the calls by letting them go into voice mail. Most leave no message, which tells me that the caller was a telemarketer–or worse!