Hiya Report: the United Kingdom Leads all of Europe in Phone Fraud

In the UK, 28% of all unknown calls are spam, and nearly half of those are fraud, the highest proportion in Europe and the third highest of every country analyzed by Hiya

LONDON- February 23, 2023 - Hiya, the leading voice security company, has published its Q4 2022 Global Call Threat Report, a comprehensive study that measured the volume, frequency and type of phone fraud and spam between October and December. A key takeaway is that spam and fraud are rising, with scammers preying on the most financially vulnerable consumers. 

Phone fraud and spam are hardly new but they reached previously unachieved peaks in Q4. Hiya identified 7.5 billion instances of phone spam alone in Q4, or 82 million instances per day. The week of October 17 was the worst: over 655 million cases of spam were recorded by Hiya.

Europe experienced one of the highest rates of phone spam and fraud among regions analyzed by Hiya. While most calls are received from numbers in the subscriber's contacts, many calls come from unidentified, "non-contact" callers. Hiya measures spam as a percentage of calls from non-contact callers. In Spain, for example, 43.9% of non-contact calls were identified as spam. France had the second highest spam rate at 40%, followed by Italy with 35.1%, Poland with 29.1%, Sweden with 28.9% and the UK with 28%. 

Phone fraud in Europe was the worst in the United Kingdom. Unlike the United States, where most of the unwanted calls are simply nuisance calls, in the UK more than half of the unwanted calls are actually fraud. Some scams have been around for years, such as those impersonating Amazon or the UK’s tax agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, while others are new and seem to be related to the rising cost of living. In Q4, Hiya observed a surge in energy related scam calls leading up to an energy rebate that took effect October 1st. 

In France, the most common scam observed by Hiya in Q4 was related to a government initiative called Compte de Formation Professionnel (CPF). This program provides citizens with an allowance they can use to pay for professional training (to learn carpentry, do a course on professional coaching, etc.) The amount depends on an individual’s circumstances, but it’s around €3,000 annually. Fraudsters call to “advise” citizens on how they can get the most out of the budgeted amount, while angling for a portion or all of the money. 

Research has found that people living under financial strain are more likely to be scammed,” said Kush Parikh, President of Hiya. “Cost of living spikes, including skyrocketing energy prices in Europe, are almost certainly to blame for the increase in phone scams over the past months. Worldwide, consumers are drowning in phone spam and fraud, damaging the reputation of telecom carriers. Carriers must double-down on voice security to improve the trust and privacy of their customers.” 

Hiya’s Global Call Threat Report is based on calls passing over its Voice Security Network. Hiya defines spam as unwanted calls, including fraud. In the report, the spam flag rate represents unidentified non-contact calls that Hiya has identified and flagged as either fraud or spam.

To view a complete copy of Hiya’s 2023 Global Call Threat Report, visit: https://hiya.com/global-call-threat-report

About Hiya

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 Network, powering call protection and identity for AT&T, EE, Samsung, Ericsson and more. Learn more at www.hiya.com


February 23, 2023


Elise Harrington
(206) 949-4109