Almost One in Seven Calls is Either Fraudulent or a Telemarketer

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Almost One in Seven Calls is Either Fraudulent or a Telemarketer

November 21, 2016

Most of us knew, at least anecdotally, that fraudulent calls and telemarketing were fairly widespread in the United States. Since most of us receive such calls fairly routinely, that point was quite clear. Baidu's DU Caller recently offered up some new data showing just how far this problem goes with some new data in the field.

DU Caller—a smartphone privacy app perhaps incongruously released from Baidu, a Chinese Internet search engine provider—revealed via its product manager, Keskin Zhao, that about 15 percent of, or roughly one in seven, calls were either connected to a telemarketer, some kind of call-placing robot system, or an outright fraud. The numbers in question draw from a pool of over six million calls in a six-month period, so it's clear there was plenty of information to draw upon.

Further, DU Caller noted that it has intercepted over 30 million such calls worldwide to date, and 20 percent of the fraud calls worldwide were focused on the United States and its smartphone users. The database of known fraud numbers the app maintains now measures over 1.5 billion such numbers strong, and the numbers keep growing.

That's where a system like DU Caller could be worthwhile. Offering automatic caller ID, a blacklist system that can be customized as needed, and a call recording feature for Android devices only, the system allows several key points to not only prevent fraud and other callers from even reaching the user, but it also provides a means to record the fraudulent caller for potential use later. However, given the nature of call recording law—one-party versus two-party consent states—it may be worthwhile to consult an attorney first before using the call recording function.

It would be easy to look askance at a Chinese company offering smartphone privacy tools, but regardless of the political environment in China and its stance on Internet access issues, the points remain that the United States' smartphone landscape is packed full of frauds and assorted annoyances. With mobile use on the rise, telemarketers and scammers alike are going where the customers are, and increasingly, that's on the other end of a smartphone. So systems that can provide a measure of privacy against such calls and prevent the same from reaching a customer's ears are especially vital.

Baidu DU Caller may not be a user's first choice in call recording or privacy protection, but its offering is no less valid than that of its competitors. It may have a tough time outside China, but that's mainly because it will join a much wider slate of options without name recognition or particular advantage to recommend it.

Edited by Alicia Young

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