Unwanted Robo Calls

Unwanted calls to consumers this year have spiked by 76% in 2017, up from more than 10B last year, according to the Robocall Radar Report by Hiya,

According to Hiya, a leader in phone spam protection, from the release of their 2017 Robocall Radar Report of more than 3.5 billion calls and texts, unwanted calls to U.S. consumers overall have increased by 76% in 2017, up from over 10 billion last year, and the most prevalent type of scam currently targeting Americans is the “Neighbor Scam.”

Deemed the “Scam Tactic of the Year” by Hiya, grew in prevalence by a shocking 750% this year. Phone fraudsters use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software to mimic (also known as spoofing) the first six digits of a user’s phone number, the area code and the following three digits, to trick consumers into thinking a nearby friend or business is calling. Based on 2 billion calls flagged as spam by Hiya since the beginning of the year, Hiya estimates that one in three user reports, reference the Neighbor Scam.

Jonathan Nelson, Senior Product Manager, Reputation Data of Hiya, says “Scammers are constantly creating new ways to trick consumers into picking up the phone and this time that involves spoofing local numbers… while many consumers now know to be wary of unknown callers, the latest threat comes disguised as a number similar to your own, dramatically increasing the likelihood that someone would answer the call.”

Consumers should be aware of common scam techniques that fraudsters leveraging the neighbor scam use once they have someone on the line:

  • Scare tactics - Scammers will make consumers believe that there is a warrant out for their arrest or that they inadvertently owe the IRS money in order to scare consumers into providing them with personal or financial information.
  • Immediate demand of payment - Scammers create a sense of urgency so consumers believe they need to pay immediately or suffer dire consequences.
  • Unusual forms of payment - The most common methods of payment demanded by scammers are wire transfers, debit cards, and gift cards (i.e., iTunes, grocery stores, etc).

The Neighbor Scam was far from the only tactic being used to defraud consumers this year. Based on its real-time analysis that identifies spammers in minutes, Hiya rounded out the top five scams of the year, which include:

  • The Utility Scam (aka “Most Consistent Scam of the Year”): Taking advantage of expensive utility bills, fraudulent callers offer to lower bills, threaten shutting off the utility provided or offer fake federal program assistance.
  • Flood Insurance Scam (aka “ Most Fast- Acting Scam of the Year”): Robocallers targeted individuals in hurricane-impacted areas to collect fake “overdue” flood insurance premiums.
  • Free Cruise Scam (aka “The Only Scam to Decline in 2017”): This is the one scam with some good news. While many people now know to be aware of free cruise scam calls, which continue to target Americans, a class action lawsuit was finally brought against a marketing group working with cruise lines who violated the Telephone Consumer Protections Act (TCPA) when they made automated calls to consumers offering free cruises. This helped to increase general awareness and promote TCPA compliance.  
  • Equifax Credit Report Breach (aka Most Opportunistic Scam of the Year): Though not initially carried out over the phone, the massive Equifax data breach that targeted over 145 million Americans resulted in fraudulent calls asking consumers to verify Equifax account information. This scam is highlighted in the report due to the severity and the expectation that the information from this and other 2017 data breaches will be used for targeting phone scams for a long time.

In a year where scam and fraudulent calls continued to increase and innovate in frequency more than ever before, the report provides a valuable solution by helping consumers determine whether or not to pick up the phone. This includes identifying legitimate numbers by name as well as identifying and blocking known spam and scam numbers.

Hiya is available for additional information on iTunes and Google Play.



1 comment about "Unwanted Robo Calls".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, December 29, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    I get more than my share of scam calls. On the second call from the scammer, I go on the offenive and tell them everything I can think of about their moma to family history. I am not a hateful person. I just hate scammers. So, treat them just as bad and they will they usually don't call again. My form of Do Not Call. 

Next story loading loading..