|What is a data broker? A data broker is a company that collects and sells information on individuals. They collect this information from a host of places, including public government records, social media, and marketing companies, before selling it for profit. Examples of such companies include My Life and Radaris. The scope of data that is collected by brokers is increasingly alarming and usually goes unnoticed. For example, one data broker company called Acxiom claims to have information about 10% of the world’s population in their database. In short, the personal information held by data brokers poses a massive security risk. When the information that they hold falls into the wrong hands, individuals face the risk of identity theft or credit card fraud. All without the individual being aware. Not to mention countless unwanted phone calls!|
|National Do Not Call Registry – Our Verdict This should stop legitimate telemarketers who play by the rules. However, if you’re being plagued by robocalls and scammers, it won’t solve that problem, as they don’t care about the no-call registry. What’s more, the registry only applies to sales calls, so legitimate organizations such as charities, political parties, and survey companies can still bother you with unwanted calls too. Protection rating: 1 out of 5|
|Built-In Phone OS Features – Our Verdict While the Google service is innovative in how it uses data from Google My Business, not every business has a Google My Business account, especially many small Mom and Pop stores. What’s more, a business or organization may have lots of different phone numbers, and not all of them are listed on Google My Business. It’s also not entirely clear how it compiles and updates its spam lists. Apple, on the other hand, will block all unknown calls, but this could come with its own issues, such as genuinely urgent calls getting diverted to voicemail and going unnoticed. Protection rating: 2.5 out of 5|
|Carrier Services – Our Verdict This is a good starting point as all the major carriers provide some form of scam call blocking for free, so customers may as well install and activate this. However – these services are far from watertight. For a start, providers have only applied this tech to the IP-based parts of their networks, meaning phone systems operated with older technology are not covered by this. Integration between carriers is also patchy, meaning there are plenty of gaps in the system. What’s more, it’s unclear how many of the paid plans will cut down on nuisance calls above what’s provided on the free plans. Moreover, paying a carrier close to $50 per year to better protect you from bad actors using their own network can leave a sour taste in the mouth. Protection rating: 3 out of 5|
|Third-Party Apps – Our Verdict These third-party services offer a more robust approach to spam call blocking compared to the services offered by carriers, thanks to the huge databases of nuisance numbers that they maintain. However, robocallers and scammers operate like a virus by constantly mutating to find new ways to attack. Therefore, while these services can definitely help to cut down on nuisance calls, they are not foolproof. You are still likely to receive calls from new numbers set up by scammers, before these numbers are added to blacklists. Protection rating: 4 out of 5|
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