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Posted: 01 Aug 2019 07:07 AM PDT
It turns out that these unwanted calls, which include illegal and spoofed robocalls, are the FCC's top consumer complaint and have taken top priority. This has led people to take action with tools/apps that enable call blocking technology.
So, if you want to put an end to those annoying, unwanted calls and potential scammers, call blocking is your best option. Here are a few tips on how to stop these calls in their tracks before they can even reach you.
Block calls on your cellphone
Downloading a call blocking app is probably your best option for stopping unwanted calls on your cellphone. Think of a call blocking app like a filter.
The technology uses previously gathered information from users and other resources in order to distinguish between scam calls and legit calls. If you get a call that seems like a scam, the app will attempt to catch them before they ring through.
There are apps that will typically let you choose how to respond to calls that are identified as scams. Calls can be stopped, go straight to your voicemail, or go silent and not ring at all.
They can help you to block calls based on the area code and geographical origin of the caller as well. Certain apps give you the option to send prewritten texts to callers or even complaints directly to the FTC if you wish.
In some cases, you may not need to access the app store to find suitable call blocking tools. Most cell phones come with menu options that allow you to block calls from certain numbers, however, there might be a limit to how many numbers you can block.
Getting spam/scam calls while you're at work or in a meeting can be even more annoying. Cell phones typically have features like 'Do Not Disturb', which allows you to set time parameters in which calls from specific or unknown numbers will automatically go straight to voicemail.
Block calls on a landline
If you're one of the few who still has a landline, no worries, there are ways for you to block unwanted calls, too. For traditional landlines that don't work via the internet (VoIP), you can buy and install a separate call blocking device. The devices are usually small boxes that can be attached to your phone.
Some devices operate by utilizing blacklist databases of known scam numbers that have popped up across the grid, but they also let you add specific numbers that you may want to be blocked. Other devices strictly depend on you to create and update your own customized blacklist of numbers to block.
A few devices work by using the inverse method of blacklist call blocking, which is known as the whitelist, or filtering based on approved numbers of your choice. This helps you to limit which calls get through, or, much like your cell phone, lets you set up "do not disturb" hours during which calls go straight to voicemail.
There are even call blocking devices that work to identify robocalls by playing a prerecorded message prompting callers to press a number or take a specific action in order for the call to be continued.
Block calls on an internet phone
If you have an internet or digital-based telephone, it's possible you have VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service on your home phone and don't even know it. This means that your phone makes calls over the internet, instead of over the traditional phone lines. If you're not sure how your calls are routed, you should check with your carrier.
Internet-based call blocking services are capable of blocking unwanted calls on phones that use the internet. Your carrier might be able to recommend a specific service. Or, you can do some digging yourself and search online for any expert and previous customer reviews.
Much like mobile apps available on mobile devices, some internet-based services require all calls to be routed through their service, where they are instantly analyzed and screened for any sign of illegitimacy.
You may have choices about how unwanted calls are handled. For example, unwanted calls can be set to ring silently, be routed to a separate voicemail, sent to a spam folder, or stopped altogether.
Facebook is STILL trying to fix its fake news problem
Nearly everyone has to deal with spam content and misinformation on Facebook, but the speed at which hoaxes can spread on social media is no laughing matter. Between scammers tricking money out of people and nation-state actors spamming propaganda and fake news, it's no wonder that people are fed up with Facebook's lack of moderation.
Posted: 01 Aug 2019 02:59 PM PDT
A hacker successfully penetrated sensitive information from Capital One Financial Corp., the fifth-biggest U.S. credit-card issuer. Personal information of over 106 million people has been compromised, making this one of the most massive data breaches of a bank.
Other data that was accessed by the hacker were credit scores, limits, balances and "fragments of transaction data from a total of 23 days during 2016, 2017 and 2018."
Additionally, the Virginia-headquartered bank said in a news release about 140,000 Social Security numbers of its credit card customers and around 80,000 linked bank account numbers were compromised.
However, the most considerable bulk of information accessed was credit card application data between 2005 and 2009, which included names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and self-reported income.
In total, Capital One said that "100 million individuals in the United States and approximately 6 million in Canada" were affected.
Fortunately, no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were exposed, and over 99% of Social Security numbers were not affected, according to the bank.
The breach was discovered on July 19, but the hacking occurred on March 22 and 23. The company said it "immediately fixed the configuration vulnerability that this individual exploited and promptly began working with federal law enforcement."
Furthermore, Capital One also indicated that it is "unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated by this individual," but as a safety measure, the company is still investigating.
"While I am grateful that the perpetrator has been caught, I am deeply sorry for what has happened," Richard D. Fairbank, Capital One chairman, and CEO said in a statement. "I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected, and I am committed to making it right."
The bank also set up a consumer website about the breach, which you can access here.
The latest proceedings highlight the fact that no institution is safe from the threat of cyberattacks, especially in the digital age, where knowledgable individuals can easily access sensitive private information.
In recent months, the number of cyberattacks involving the highjacking of people's information has been seen in places such as Baltimore's government and Florida. In both instances, hackers were able to leverage the need for government systems, which was held captive, to ask for financial return.
Similarly, Baltimore and Florida had easily accessible data centers that hackers were able to breach.
Both foretellings that more advanced preventive measures need to set in place to hinder hackers from easily accessing and waving personal information as a hostage.
In the recent case with the Capital One Bank's hacking, the FBI has identified Paige A. Thompson, 33, a former software engineer and was arrested on Monday for the theft. Court records show that the act occurred between March 12 and July 17.
The criminal complaint alleged that Thompson posted the stolen data online on information sharing site GitHub and made statements on social media "evidencing the fact that she has information on Capital One, and that she recognizes that she has acted illegally."
Paige, who lives in Seattle, had previously worked as a tech company software engineer for the cloud hosting company that Capital One was using, the Department of Justice said. She was able to gain access by exploiting a misconfigured web application firewall, according to a court filing.
Furthermore, the DOJ said that Thompson has made an initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Seattle and is currently detained pending an Aug. 1 hearing. Computer fraud and abuse are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Capital One said in the release that the incident is expected to cost between $100 to $150 million in 2019.
The company will also offer free credit monitoring and identity protection to everyone affected.
As a user, you can start protecting yourself from further damages by freezing your account. It prevents lenders from getting access to your credit report, which is mandatory for the credit card or loan application. It protects you in that the hacker who has stolen your personal information can't open an account in your name and get access to the funds.
You can also check your credit card statement to make sure there are no fraudulent charges. Normally, this information arrives via mail at the end or start of the month, but these can now be accessed online. If there are discrepancies, you should let your bank know immediately.
Posted: 04 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT
Developers at the Swedish company True Software have added yet another feature to their application Truecaller, that is best known for helping users screen calls from strangers, spammers and robocallers. This feature is called Truecaller Voice and promises "high quality (HD), low latency and quick to connect audio calls" to both Android and iOS users. The Stockholm-based company said the app will also allow its users in emerging markets, such as India, to place free VoIP-powered voice calls using mobile data or Wi-Fi.
According to a statement from the company, Truecaller users make 180 million outgoing calls per day using the app's built-in dialer. Therefore, the Truecaller Voice shortcut has been strategically integrated into relevant touchpoints in the app such as call logs, the SMS Inbox, contact profiles and the aftercall screen, enabling users to seamlessly access the VoIP-based calls anywhere within the Truecaller app without switching to other applications. This feature is claimed to work smoothly, even in areas with low network coverage.
Commenting on the launch, Rishit Jhunjhunwala, VP of Product at Truecaller, said, "We are ecstatic at the launch of Truecaller Voice. We have been working towards building a full communication suite for our users and voice calling is the next big step in line with this mission. Through this integration, we are looking forward to effectively provide an end-to-end communication experience, where users can call, text, chat, filter messages, block spam and even make digital payments, all in one app. We are also planning to expand this feature to iOS in a few weeks."
Truecaller Voice aims to offer a free communication experience to more than 140 million users worldwide. Moreover, with the latest VoIP-based service, Truecaller will now compete even more closely with WhatsApp's voice calls that have become increasingly popular in India. In the future, the company also plans to introduce group voice calling support, and there may be a free video calling feature on Truecaller as well.
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