Greg Gannicott’s Blog

Idea: A Phone that Warns you of Scam Calls

Posted in Technology by Greg Gannicott on May 15, 2009
Tags: , , ,

If I ever get a call from a number I don’t recognise, using the browser on my mobile I’ll often perform a search on Google and nine times out of ten there is a post which states its a scam (also nine times out of ten its the first result in Google that tells me this).

This happened earlier today with the number ‘02920 359001’, and sure enough it appears to be a scam.

This made me think: wouldn’t it be neat if my phone did this for me whenever a number not in my address book calls me? If it comes up as a scam, then it would note it on screen. Given the speed in which it can get this information (at current mobile connection speeds), it might be that the information may only be available when you check your missed calls, but that’s better than nothing.

Whenever I do one of these Google searches it usually points to a user generated site, so a wiki of sorts would be an ideal host of this information. Obviously, in order for the phone to be able to access this information, an API should be written so phone developers can easily access the information.

The next obvious step then is for a tool such as Google Voice (which sadly isn’t available in the UK) to offer the option to outright block such calls coming through (much like gmail blocks a massive amount of spam mail). If such a block takes place, an SMS/Email/Tweet/etc would be sent to you to say that a call has been blocked. You are then free to act on it as you please.

The possible downside to this idea is the fact the public control the data which blocks calls. That obviously leaves the door open to abuse. The ideallist inside me though believes this wouldn’t be a large issue.

I’d be curious to know whether an app could be written for one of the more modern smart phones out there (eg. iPhone, an android based device or the new Palm Pre) to perform this. Do developers have such access to those phones?