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WhoApp promises to take the guesswork out of who's calling

A new app aims to ensure you never have to answer a call without knowing who's on the other end of the line.

Is the unknown number calling you the cute guy you met last night? Or an annoying telemarketer?

WhoApp, a new iPhone app, promises to take the dice roll out of picking up that call.

Developed by New Jersey's TelTech, WhoApp recognizes calls from telemarketers, scammers and even annoying acquaintances you don't want to talk to. It then turns an unknown number into a name, profile picture, address and Google Street View of the location.

WhoApp was developed in response to the growing problem of unwanted spam calls to cell phones. The top ranks of the Federal Communications Commission have publicly complained that the Do Not Call list, a national registry for consumers who don't want telemarketers calling them, isn't enough to stop these calls.

WhoApp shows you exactly who's calling when an unknown number pops up on your phone.


"No one wants to get a call from Rachel from card member services, including me," Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said during a panel at the cable industry's annual trade show this week.

TelTech has earned its bona fides in protecting privacy. The company won the Federal Trade Commission's 2015 anti-robocall competition with an app called RoboKiller, which lends some of its technology to WhoApp.

"RoboKiller was purpose-built to combat robocalls," said Ethan Garr, co-founder and vice president of TelTech. "But we realized that the larger issue is not knowing who is calling."

Here's how it works: When you decline to accept a call from an unfamiliar number, that number is sent to WhoApp. As the call is happening, the app quickly dials back the number and displays information identifying the caller.

If it's someone you want to talk to, you answer the call. Otherwise, you can let the call go to the WhoApp voicemail.

WhoApp isn't the first app designed to curb these calls but differs in how it gets its information.

Truecaller, PrivacyStar and WhitePages Current -- all of which work on iOS and Android devices -- use crowd-sourcing, information from public databases and their own algorithms to detect unwanted calls.

WhoApp is currently available only for the iPhone. The company, however, expects to release an Android version this fall.