AI-driven schemes are at least partly to blame for the unfavorable notoriety
Seattle, Washington (November 16, 2023) - Hiya, the leader in voice security, has completed its latest study on phone spam and fraud, and the results highlight a pair of disturbing trends with dangerous implications for consumers worldwide.
First, phone spam is a growing problem affecting consumers in every major international market. According to Hiya’s study, 22 out of the 39 countries tracked in Q3 experienced spam rates of 20% or higher, and only three countries had a spam rate below 10% for unknown calls.
Second, generative AI is being used to deceive unsuspecting victims. For example, Hiya’s research indicates that voice-cloning technology is being used by scammers to convince victims that a child, grandchild or other loved one is in trouble and needs immediate financial assistance — or worse, that a ransom needs to be paid for their release.
In total, Hiya identified 6.55 billion instances of phone spam across 39 countries in Q3, or 73 million per day. Spam calls in these markets peaked in late July, hitting 543 million the week of July 24.
France and Spain experienced the highest spam rates in Europe in Q3: 44% for France and 42% for Spain. Common scam tactics in Spain included banking and family impersonation scams. While in France, package delivery, banking and the impersonation of the Compte Personnel de Formation (CPF) government program were prevalent scam tactics.
Be careful answering the phone if you live in these countries
Phone spam isn’t unique to one country or region but some countries are affected more than others. In Q3, Chile (57%), Indonesia (56.5%), Argentina (56%) and Hong Kong (56%) had the highest spam rates among the countries tracked by Hiya. In the US, 22.3% of unknown calls were spam.
Spam rates were high elsewhere, too. Brazilians received an average of 26 spam calls per person per month in Q3, with banking scams by far the most common type. Canada’s spam rate is just under the US’s, at 21.5%, but Canadians received a higher proportion of fraud calls in Q3, led by Amazon scams, government official impersonators and air duct cleaning scams.
Meanwhile, UK residents in Q3 received fewer spam calls per month than in the US (four per person on average in the UK, compared to 11 in the US), but the percentage of unwanted calls from non-contacts was higher in the UK (29.4% versus 22.3%). US phone scams in Q3 were a mix of old and new. The most commonly reported scams were Medicare, insurance, Amazon and credit cards, whereas in the UK, scams involving the country’s tax agency, energy cost-reduction scams, and pension review schemes were the most prevalent.
Avoid unknown callers in these US states, too
For the second quarter in a row, Hiya has included US state data in its Global Call Threat Report. Although New Hampshire is the 41st most populous state, Hiya’s research found that it had the highest spam rate among the 50 US states, at 21.45% of unknown calls.
According to the Federal Trade Commision (FTC), imposter scams are the most common type of scam in New Hampshire. Many scams fall under that general category, but the FTC also lists other scams reported by residents of New Hampshire, including healthcare, sweepstakes and scams related to internet/phone/mobile services, job opportunities and travel/vacations.
After New Hampshire, the highest spam rates among US states in Q3 were Oklahoma (21.41%), Texas (21.22%), Ohio (21.04%), Indiana (20.67%), Wyoming (20.32%), Kentucky (19.83%), Nebraska (19.74%), North Carolina (19.66%) and Kansas (19.44%).
Hiya report methodology
The data in Hiya’s Q3 2023 Global Call Threat Report is based on a representative sample of calls on the Hiya Voice Security Network, which includes Samsung Smart Call enabled devices and the Hiya mobile app. The spam flag rate in this report represents unknown calls outside of an individual’s contact list calls that Hiya has identified and flagged as either fraud or nuisance. The Q3 report is Hiya’s fourth. Previous reports can be found here.
Hiya is trusted by global businesses, carriers, and consumers to provide secure, engaging connections and stop unwanted calls. Built on the world’s leading Voice Security Platform, Hiya connects businesses with their customers, helps carriers secure their networks, and protects people from spam and fraud calls. Hiya’s SaaS applications, Hiya Connect and Hiya Protect, serve more than 400 million users on the Hiya Voice Security Network, powering call protection and identity for AT&T, EE, Samsung, Ericsson and more. Learn more at www.hiya.com.
November 16, 2023