Phone roadblock: an overview of applications to protect against fraudulent and spam calls

Phone Roadblock

Phone RoadBlock

The fact that telephone spam and fraud has reached unprecedented proportions is evidenced by numerous publications in the media and complaints from mobile users and statistical data. For example, according to"Kaspersky Lab," received using the mobile application Kaspersky Who Calls (we will talk about it a little later), in the first quarter of 2021, the share of spam calls in Russia among all incoming from unknown numbers was an impressive 70% and the share of calls with suspicion of fraud – 6.3%. At the same time, the latter figure increased compared to the same period in 2020: then it was 5.6 percent. Most often, unsolicited calls to Russian mobile network subscribers came with offers of loans (their share was 46% of all unsolicited calls from unknown numbers), as well as from debt collectors (with a share of 26.5%). In addition, many spam calls have been recorded from companies involved in providing communication and medical services.

The scale of the problem is also eloquently evidenced by the data of Sberbank, which in 2020 recorded more than 3.4 million customer complaints about telephone fraud. This figure has grown more than 30 times compared to 2017 and more than doubled in 2019. At the same time, the number of fraudulent calls to citizens reached 100 thousand per day. Moreover, studies have shown that criminals are seriously preparing for such calls, using IP telephony to change the number and actively practicing social engineering methods. So, in 42% of cases, they entirely called the correct name, surname, and patronymic of the person they called. The most common legends were the need to confirm the data (72%), the message about blocking the card (58%), and the loan offer (57%). In almost half of the cases (46%), the attackers tried to get a code from an SMS or card data, and in every fifth case (21%), they wanted to convince them to transfer money to an allegedly secure account.

The statistics are disappointing and confirm that almost every Russian with a telephone is at risk, which can be minimized by the following mobile caller ID programs. Such applications automatically recognize an incoming call, thanks to which the user sees on the smartphone screen not just a set of numbers, but the name of the caller's organization, its type of activity, or information about the reputation of the number. Based on this information, you can make an informed decision whether to answer the call. The accuracy of identifying unknown and anonymous calls is ensured by a regularly updated base of phone numbers, which is replenished, among other things, thanks to feedback and feedback from subscribers. This approach helps improve protection against annoying phone spam.

2 GIS

Developer: "DublGIS."
Supported Platforms: Caller ID is only available on iOS.
Cost: free.
Download in the App Store.

An electronic directory with city maps, the functionality of which allows you to use the product as a caller ID, however, only on Apple iPhone smartphones with iOS version 10 and higher. To activate caller ID, you need to open the mobile device's settings, and then in the menu "Phone → Call blocking and identification," turn on the toggle switch opposite 2GIS.

The program's database contains up-to-date information about 4.3 million companies operating in 666 cities of 11 countries of the world, and according to this indicator, 2GIS is one of the leaders in the segment of information and reference services. Of course, such an application is unlikely to protect against potential scammers. Still, it will do just fine to protect against annoying calls from financial institutions, medical centers, telecom operators, and other companies involved in mass calling subscribers.

Kaspersky Who Calls

Developer: Kaspersky Lab.
Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, the version available for Huawei devices without Google Mobile Services support.
Cost: monthly subscription 129 rubles, annual - 1,190 rubles; a free version has some limitations.

Caller ID displays details of an incoming or missed call from an unknown number, including company name, category, and number reputation. Kaspersky Who Calls can recognize fraudulent and spam calls and automatically block them, saving the user from potential threats and invasion of personal space. The program features also protects against phishing SMS and outgoing calls to numbers suspected of fraud. It supports automatic blocking of incoming calls with a hidden number and for selected spam categories (bank advertising, insurance advertising, Internet and communications advertising, collectors, surveys, etc.). Thanks to the database of phone numbers stored in the mobile device's memory, Kaspersky Who Calls can identify calls without an Internet connection.

Like many other products of this class, Kaspersky Who Calls provides the ability to exchange data about numbers, which helps to improve protection. Any person using the program, if desired, can upload unwanted numbers to the cloud - then the system will update the database. As a result, all application users will be informed about calls from new fraudulent numbers.

Phone by Google (" Google Phone")

Developer: Google.
Supported platforms: Android.
Cost: free.
Download on Google Play.

The official Google calling app is bundled with original versions of Android and available for download to users of modified OS builds. A feature of the program is the built-in caller ID, which functions in tandem with the Google My Business service and recognizes calls from Russian organizations quite well. In addition, the application detects spam calls that can be blocked automatically with equal success - the corresponding option is available on the Phone by Google settings.

Truecaller

Developer: True Software Scandinavia AB.
Supported platforms: Android, iOS.
Cost: monthly subscription 69 rubles, annual - 649 rubles; a free version has some limitations.
Download on Google Play, App Store.

One of the world's largest incoming caller identification service providers with a user base of 250 million. Truecaller's largest market, 150 million people, uses the service every month in India alone. Judging by the reviews in Runet, there are also many admirers of this software solution in our country.

The main emphasis in Truecaller is placed on the social component and the mutual exchange of detailed information about spam and fraudulent calls by the user community. For this reason, after installing the application, you must create an account in the service, confirm your phone number, and agree to synchronize data with the Truecaller database. Without following this procedure, you will not use the program. This is the first annoying moment; there is also the second one - an inconvenient and overloaded interface stuffed to capacity with advertising banners in the accessible version of Truecaller, which, in addition, lacks many useful features. Yes, the product fulfills its main task, but only strong-willed users can find an approach to it.

"Don't pick up the phone."

Developer: Mister Group sro
Supported platforms: Android, iOS.
Cost: Free for Android; iOS free for a month - further by subscription ($2 per month).
Download on Google Play, App Store.

Caller ID, functioning in tandem with the online service shouldianswer.net. Able to protect both from unwanted incoming calls and outgoing calls. Do Not Pick Up can block hidden, foreign, or premium numbers, as well as spam, ads, and scam calls. The application periodically synchronizes the base of numbers with the mentioned services and stores the data in the mobile device's memory. Thanks to this, the program can function offline and does not require a permanent connection to the Internet.

A feature of the "Don't Pick Up" program is a database created by the users themselves: whenever a call from an unknown number ends, they can anonymously rate it as safe or as spam and add a text comment. This can be done using both a mobile application and the sites listed above. Then, after verification of the sent information by administrators, it is stored in a database that is available to all users. As a result, up to 30,000 new reviews are added to the program database daily.

Sberbank Online

Developer: Sberbank (Sberbank).
Supported platforms: Android, iOS.
Cost: free (requires a registered account in the Sberbank Online system).
Download on Google Play, App Store.

The client application of Sberbank, just a month ago with the next update, received automatically checking incoming calls. To enable it, you need to open the "Security" section in the settings of the Sberbank Online program and activate the "Check incoming calls" option. If the caller ID detects a fraudulent call, the application will display a warning on the screen.

To protect against fraud, the program uses data from the Sberbank security service and an artificial intelligence-based fraud monitoring system. Every day, Sber specialists process about 10 thousand messages about fraud attempts and, using their own phone number analysis model, form their own unique base for verification based on actual events. Currently, the database contains more than 600 thousand unique fraudulent numbers.

"Yandex"

Developer: Yandex.
Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, the version available for Huawei devices without Google Mobile Services support.
Cost: free.

An all-in-one mobile application includes popular Yandex services and several useful utilities, including automatic caller ID. The latter is based on the company's own telephone database, supplemented with information about more than 5 million organizations from Yandex.Spravochnik and user reviews of calls from unknown numbers. An impressive knowledge base allows the program to recognize calls from companies in various fields of activity and spam and phones of potential scammers. According to the developers, the database is downloaded to the device when you first turn on the determinant and takes up to 50 MB, depending on the region. To save mobile traffic, data is downloaded only via Wi-Fi.

Conclusion

We will not zealously agitate in favor of one or another caller ID - they all equally well cope with the tasks assigned to them. Tastes, as they say, do not argue, but for the sake of objectivity, it is worth saying that such applications ask for permission and get access to the phone book with a list of contacts. Therefore, you need to be very careful about such solutions and choose proven software with good reviews, high ratings, and only from reliable developers with a good reputation. Little-known products of dubious quality and with a small number of downloads are best avoided.

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