Ever wonder where spam comes from. Here’s some insight on what we’ve experienced with reach. If you receive a spam call and want to check the carrier, you can use Free Carrier Lookup to see where it’s coming from.
Email Signup and Multiple Apple ID’s
Earlier this year, we ran a test. We stopped charging $1.99 to try our business phone app. Our monthly trials jumped from 30 to 204. 95% of the new trials were spammers. Once they signed up for one of our phone numbers, they started spamming consumers. We noticed that spammers were signing up with generic emails from free email providers such as gmail or yahoo. Johnsmith56789@gmail.com was a typical user id entered during signup. We discovered everything from multiple apple ids, fake emails, simulated devices etc. This led us to our next test.
Phone Number (VOIP)
Not wanting to get rid of our free trial, we decided to remove email signup. To try the app for free, you could only sign up with an existing phone number similar to dating websites such as Hinge or Bumble. While this cut down the number of spammers, we noticed another pattern. Spammers weren’t using a carrier issued number to sign up, they were using voip numbers. In our ongoing study, every single user that has used either Google Voice, Bandwidth, Onvoy, or some other voip provider to sign up for our app has been a spammer. A recent report has come out that 50% of spam comes from Onvoy telephone numbers.
A Path Forward
Which leads us to our current state. I hate spam just as much next as the next person. (Probably more so as I’ve dealt with 1000’s of them over the life of this company.). In our next update we will be requiring a valid phone number from the main carriers to sign up. This might scare some users but we don’t do anything with a users information other than use it as a log in identifier. I believe strongly this solves 99.9% of our spam cases and will help cut down on an issue that plagues many consumers. We are considering offering business email signup (email@example.com) for the future.
If you’d like to better understand how spam works and how to prevent it you can check out our other articles here.