This Company Ranks Your Phone Number's 'Reputation'  --  And Might Block You If It's Lousy

You’re probably familiar with two-step verification via your mobile phone — employers are increasingly asking workers to sign in to their email accounts only after verifying their identity with a text code sent to their mobile phones.

Now there’s company that wants to use that data to assign a reputation rating to your mobile phone.

And if your phone number has a lousy rep, you might find yourself being blocked from web sites and apps that use the system.

Telesign works a bit like your credit rating: If you try to sign in to a service using a throwaway phone not normally associated with your identity, that phone number will get a high-risk rating. You might not be allowed to sign in to whatever you’re hoping to access.

Forbes described the Telesign rating system this way: “The range is 0 to 1000, with 0 being a gold iPhone and 1000 being a burner phone that’s only used to order drugs and kill people.”

Telesign, which is based in Marina del Rey, Calif., combines your phone number with your sign-in data and its own “meta-data” on your phone’s activity to ascribe a score to your phone. Wired identified one problem with the service: Although companies may block you for having the “wrong” phone number, you can’t look up your number’s rating on Telesign to see if there is a problem. “It’s something we’ve talked about, but we don’t have a way to share scores yet,” CTO Charles McColgan told the magazine.

The Accertify unit of American Express, Citrix and Intel are already using the Telesign system.

Telesign ratingTelesign / ForbesThe Telesign rating system.

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