How To Tell If a Number Is Fake? Spokeo’s New Phone Reputation Score

PASADENA, Calif., March 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Spokeo, the leader in people search and reverse phone number lookup, is pleased to announce a new tool to fight unwanted calls.  Our Phone Reputation Score feature, now available on our website or the Spokeo mobile app for Android, is the quickest and most convenient way for consumers to learn whether it’s safe to answer or return a call from an unrecognized number.

Robocalls, nuisance spam calls and straightforwardly criminal scam calls remain a problem for most Americans, despite the passage of recent legislation — the 2019 Pallone–Thune TRACED Act — designed to curtail them.  The measures of the TRACED Act, in conjunction with existing tools such as the Do Not Call list, are intended to help reduce the number of nuisance and spam calls consumers receive.

One key aspect of the legislation required telephone companies to upgrade their caller ID capabilities, resulting in new messages such as “Valid Number,” “Fraud” or “Potential Scam.”  This is a useful new capability for consumers, but it’s not especially precise —it’s a broad-strokes approach that fails to filter out a large number of nuisance and scam calls.  Even when it works as intended, it’s not as useful as a proactive, consumer-facing scammer phone-number lookup tool.  With the launch of the Phone Reputation Score feature, Spokeo will meet that need.

Spokeo’s Phone Reputation Score
Consumers can do reverse phone number lookup on Spokeo’s platform, which will automatically return a Phone Reputation Score.  This is a more granular, detailed and accurate rating than those auto-generated by telephone carriers.

The Phone Reputation Score draws on Spokeo’s long-standing partnerships with a number of phone data companies, giving us a rich database of metadata from calls originating or terminating within the United States. 

“In a world where it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake, it’s helpful to have some guidance to determine whether you should pick up that unknown phone number,” commented Harrison Tang, CEO & Co-Founder of Spokeo. “Spokeo’s new Phone Reputation Score feature leverages the company’s proprietary algorithm created by our team of top data scientists to detect patterns within the data that can indicate a high likelihood of recent scam and illicit activity. The combination of our algorithm and the crowd-sourcing of user feedback on these phone numbers present a powerful way to combat scam calls.”

A second source of proprietary data used by the algorithm is the Spokeo community itself.  Spokeo users have the option to leave comments about the phone numbers they’ve searched, and our algorithm analyzes those for evidence of spamming or scams and other fraudulent activity.

Scammer Phone-Number Lookup
Checking an incoming phone number to assess whether it’s likely to be a scammer is both quick and easy:

  1. Open the Spokeo app on your mobile device, or in your browser.
  2. Tap or click to select “Phone” as your search type.
  3. Type in the phone number, and tap or click the Search button.

Your search results will feature a prominent Risk Level graphic, explaining how likely it is that your call is from a scammer.  The risk level will display as Low, Medium or High, as determined by Spokeo’s proprietary algorithm.  You’ll also be shown six of the key factors underpinning that decision, such as the validity of the phone number and its point of origin.

Users can choose whether to answer or return a given call with a higher level of confidence, based on its Phone Reputation Score.

How To Tell If a Phone Number Is Fake
The Phone Reputation Score itself is a powerful tool, but it’s most useful when combined with the other information found in Spokeo’s search results.  If a caller claims to be “Officer Friday” from your local police force, but a Spokeo search shows that the number is registered to Joseph Blow Jr., it’s clearly a fraudulent call.

In real life, scammers are usually more sophisticated and exploit the computerized telephone system to present falsified caller ID information to your phone carrier.  This is called spoofing, and it means that a call originating anywhere in the world might appear to come from your local exchange or — more dangerously — a known and trusted source, like your bank or the IRS.

This is why the Phone Reputation Score displays the key underlying data points as well as the overall score.  If a number is legitimate but has recently been spoofed by scammers, its Risk Level may still show as Low or Medium, but you’ll see a rash of recent searches and complaints in the underlying data.  In that instance, it’s best to avoid answering the call, and then reach out directly to the company or agency involved through its published number or customer-support email address.

Availability of the Phone Reputation Score
The Phone Reputation Score will be displayed as part of the search result on every Spokeo reverse phone-number lookup.  There will be no added cost to any current Spokeo member; and potential users can search unknown numbers at the modest price of 95 cents per search with a 7 day trial offer.

Media Contact:
Jean Lin

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at 

Phone reputation score screenshot