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The Battle Against Phone Scams: 5 Emerging Threats in 2023

In this post:

  • Phone scams remain a persistent threat, with AI-driven spam calls on the rise, averaging 14 per month for Americans.
  • Operation Stop Spam Calls is making progress, but scammers adapt; top scams include Amazon impersonators and cryptocurrency schemes.
  • SMS fraud is growing; top text scams in 2023 involve CVS, TV bills, payment notices, and political fundraising.

In a digital age dominated by technology and automation, phone scams remain an ever-present threat to consumers. A recent study conducted by Hiya, a voice security provider, sheds light on the persisting issue of phone fraud and spam calls. Despite some improvements, scammers continue to adapt and employ new tactics, making it crucial for Americans to remain vigilant in protecting themselves from these deceptive practices.

The alarming surge in spam calls

Hiya’s study, released at the State of the Call Summit on October 5th, reveals that phone scams driven by AI are on the rise, with over 25% of calls from unknown numbers being deemed unwanted or spam. For Americans, this translates to an average of 14 spam calls per month. Of the 98 billion global calls observed, 25% were flagged as spam or fraud. In the U.S., out of 2.13 billion calls observed, 27% were flagged as spam, with 26% categorized as nuisance calls and only 1% as fraud.

The global perspective

The study highlights that the average cell phone user worldwide receives an estimated 14 spam calls each month. While the report did show a steady decline in global spam calls since late 2022, it also unveiled scammers’ determination to persist with new deceptions. This determination is fueled by the implementation of AI and spoofing technologies, adding a new layer of complexity to their fraudulent attempts.

Operation stop spam calls: A ray of hope

Fortunately, consumers in the United States are becoming more proactive in reporting unknown calls. Operation Stop Spam Calls, a joint initiative launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has made strides in combating spam calls. In just a few months, it has yielded promising results, including a 99% reduction in auto warranty scam calls and an 88% month-to-month decrease in student loan scam calls.

The top 5 phone scams of 2023

Despite the successes of Operation Stop Spam Calls, scammers targeting Americans have shifted their tactics to continue deceiving consumers. According to Hiya’s report, the top phone scams of 2023 are:

Amazon impersonators  Scammers impersonate Amazon and target account holders with false claims of unauthorized purchases or the need to update credit card information. Avoid sharing your Amazon login or credit card details with these fraudsters.

Bogus insurance policies and Medicare: Fraudsters attempt to sell fake insurance policies by claiming that outstanding bills for auto insurance, life insurance, and health insurance must be paid. These scams aim to collect sensitive information, including bank account numbers, social security numbers, or credit card information.

Credit card company scams: This prolific scam uses various tactics, such as urgent requests to renew subscriptions, posing as your credit card fraud department, or asking for payment related to package deliveries, all with the goal of obtaining your credit card information.

Cryptocurrency scams: These scams prey on the desire for quick profits by encouraging victims to purchase cryptocurrency via text or phone calls. In 2022, Americans lost $1.4 billion to this type of scam.

Loved one in trouble: Advances in AI technology enable scammers to replicate a person’s voice using video clips or voice recordings. Scammers then “spoof” or use the person’s phone number to contact family members and friends with an urgent plea for money in the loved one’s voice.

Rising threat of spam texts

While much attention is given to spam calls, SMS (and MMS) fraud and scams are also on the rise. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission reported that over 321,000 Americans fell victim to mobile-phone-based scams, including “smishing” scams. MMS or “mmishing” scams are also a growing concern.

Top text message scams of 2023

Hiya’s study, in collaboration with KONTXT, identified the top text message scams:

CVS cares: A message claims to be from CVS, offering a store credit and including a hyperlink for recipients to claim the credit.

Uncollected TV: The message informs the recipient of a past-due TV bill and includes a hyperlink for more information.

Payment notice: The message notifies the recipient of a payment from someone and includes a hyperlink to either accept or decline the payment.

Political fundraising: The message promotes a political party or initiative and includes a hyperlink for more information.

Staying one step ahead of scammers

While collaborative efforts like Operation Stop Spam Calls have made strides in curbing phone scams, the battle is far from over. Scammers continue to evolve, employing AI and new tactics to deceive consumers. Americans must remain vigilant, staying informed about the latest scams and taking precautions to protect their personal and financial information. With awareness and proactive reporting, individuals can collectively combat the persistent threat of phone and text message scams in an increasingly digital world.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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