It probably feels like you get a lot of unwanted robocalls, and you’re right. The average mobile phone user gets about 14 spam calls per month, according to the results of a study conducted by Hiya, a voice security platform. This includes a growing number of spam calls that pretend to be from streaming services.
Phone spam is a rampant issue that government agencies and mobile carriers have been trying to squash for years with protocols and task forces. It’s a massive problem with as many as 68 million Americans reporting losing money from these scams, according to Truecaller. For every robocall operation shut down, it seems like a dozen more crop up.
Scammers approach calls in different ways, but the goal is generally the same – to trick you into sharing sensitive personal information like account login information or credit card numbers. Hiya’s report listed the top phone scams so far in 2023 which includes insurance, Medicare, credit card, cryptocurrency, auto warrant, and payment app scams. Bad actors can also pose as Amazon customer service representatives or a victim’s loved ones.
Voice spam calls, or vishing, isn’t the only way cybercriminals can try to steal from you. Scammers can also send emails and other messages, also known as phishing, that ask you for personal information, or request that you click on a bogus link. Do not click the link.
Seventy-seven percent of fraud attempts came via short message service, SMS, text message, according to the report, while 23% of attempts were sent as multimedia messaging service, MMS, text messages. MMS images and large amounts of text can make it more difficult to detect spam.
“With more and more businesses turning to MMS to deliver their promotional messages, the spam and fraud is becoming even more challenging to sort from legitimate use-cases,” Hiya reported.
Scammers use manipulation tactics that prey on your emotions and have gotten increasingly good at it over the years. If you’re uncertain about the status of an account — check your account through the service’s website or call the company directly.
If you think you’ve been targeted by a scam, you can report it to the FCC or file an informal complaint.