30 out of 39 countries examined by Hiya showed an increase in fraud calls in Q2
Seattle, Washington (August 10, 2023) Phone fraud on a country-by-country basis reached new heights in Q2, according to the Q2 2023 Global Call Threat Report published today by Hiya, the leader in voice security. Some scams monitored by Hiya took a “shotgun” approach, blasting thousands of robocalls aimed at unsuspecting Amazon users, while others were narrowly targeted at immigrants or the elderly.
While the overall volume of spam calls, which Hiya defines as unwanted calls including both fraud and nuisance, declined from Q1, data collected and examined by Hiya showed that the rate of fraud calls increased in 30 out of 39 countries in the second quarter, led by Puerto Rico, the Czech Republic, and Australia.
From Q1 to Q2, the phone fraud rate increased 375% in Puerto Rico, 177% in the Czech Republic and 170% in Australia. Rounding out the top 10: India (164%), Israel (155%), Poland (145%), New Zealand (144%), Indonesia (137%), Singapore (116%) and Slovakia (83%).
A handful of countries saw their phone fraud rates decline in Q2, led by Austria (33% decline), the UK (28% decline) and Portugal (9% decline). Three countries – Greece, Sweden, and Canada – saw no increase or decrease whatsoever on a quarter-over-quarter basis.
The Global Call Threat Report compares the volume and rate of suspected spam calls in over three dozen countries worldwide. The data in Hiya’s report is based on calls traversing Hiya’s voice security network, which includes Samsung Smart Call-enabled devices and Hiya’s mobile app.
Phone spam and fraud continues to be a global problem
Hiya identified 6.5 billion instances of phone spam worldwide in Q2, down slightly from Q1 (6.7 billion spam calls). On average, Hiya found 500 million phone spam calls per week (or around 70 million per day) in Q2, peaking at 550 million spam calls the week of April 10.
In the US in Q2, one out of every four calls from a non-contact was flagged as “suspected spam”. Popular scams included Venmo-related fraud, impersonation of family members, and a resurgence of auto warranty scams — which took a sharp dive in mid-2022.
Despite receiving fewer spam calls than Americans in Q2, Canadians continue to experience a higher percentage of fraud: 6.3% compared to the US’s 1.3%. Impersonation scams were popular in Canada in Q2, with fraudsters pretending to be loved ones, government officials and Amazon.
In the UK in Q2, 28% of calls from non-contacts were spam. Of those, one in three were fraud calls – that’s the highest proportion of fraud in Europe. Common scams included Amazon, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and family member impersonators.
Spain and France had the highest rates of unwanted calls in Europe in Q2. Spain’s spam rate was 44.9% and France’s rate was 42.5%. What’s more, Spain has the second-highest rate of fraud in Europe. Bank scams were popular in both Spain and France.
In the Asia-Pacific region, spam rates in Indonesia and Hong Kong topped 50%.
For the first time ever, Hiya included US state data in its Global Call Threat Report. Although Oklahoma is the 28th most populous state, it had the highest spam rate in the US — just under 25%. Residents of Oklahoma received an average of 12 spam calls per month in Q2. Texas (24%), Ohio (24%), Indiana (24%) and Missouri (23%) rounded out the top five.
While Oklahoma topped the list for spam calls, the state that got the highest percentage of fraud calls in Q2 was Connecticut, followed by California and Ohio. In each of those three states, more than 1% of unwanted calls were fraud.
AI at the center of the phone spam and fraud issue
Several of the countries featured in Hiya’s Q2 report experienced an increase in scams where fraudsters impersonated family members. While Hiya users have not reported AI-generated family member scams, news reports have appeared in the US, Canada, and the UK.
“AI voice-generated scams are very likely the model of the future and we expect to find more and more evidence going forward,” said Kush Parikh, President of Hiya. “In order to address this emerging tactic, carriers must implement stronger voice security solutions to protect their subscribers.”
Hiya Protect is a complete call protection solution that enables mobile carriers to protect their subscribers by blocking fraud calls and labeling nuisance calls. It’s powered by Adaptive AI, a self-learning spam protection system that uses a multi-layer approach to analyze every aspect of a phone call, from the phone number to the call recipient, the enterprise making the call, and the characteristics of the call itself. For more information about Hiya Protect, visit the website, or send us a message.
To view the complete Q2 Global Call Threat Report from Hiya, download a copy 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 250 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.
August 10, 2023