We Wasted 227 Million Hours Answering Spam Calls in 2023




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Truecaller, a spam-blocking app, released its U.S. Spam Scorecard, showing households in this country wasted 227 million hours answering fraudulent calls in 2023.

The U.S. Spam Scorecard offers insights into billions of spam calls and text messages detected through its artificial intelligence-powered app. Truecaller users received an average of 5.7 spam calls per month, totaling 2 billion unwanted calls nationwide. Overall, the U.S. wasted 227 million hours answering spam calls last year. That equals 9.4 million days or 26,250 years worth of unwanted communications between January 1 and December 31, 2023.

The number of hours wasted underscores why spam calls continue to be a big problem. While the number of reported spam calls fluctuates and shows a slight decline, the sheer numbers are still massive. In January 2023, Truecaller reported 2.57 billion spam calls, which dipped to 1.66 billion in July and ended the year with 2.01 billion. However, text messages received remained relatively the same, with a slick uptick in instances. In January, 480.32 million texts were caught by Truecaller. By July, the number dropped to 378.81 million but ended December with 501.14 million texts.

Most calls relate to credit card fraud, identity theft, medical and insurance scams, social security schemes, car warranties, and debt collection cons that last an average of 4 minutes. 

The Federal Communications Commission’s crackdown on illegal transmissions through the Robocall Response Team is partly why there’s a decline in nuisance calls and texts. The organization investigates illegal traffic, determines the source, and requires network operators to block customers that generate robocalls and robotexts. If a provider fails to comply, such as in the case of Solid Double and CallWin, the FCC can order other providers not to accept their traffic.

In November, the Federal Trade Commission received 1.2 million complaints about robocalls, down from 1.8 million in 2022. The FTC launched more than 180 actions targeting operations that generated billions of illegal calls and texts to U.S. consumers with Operation Stop Scam Calls. 

The FTC works alongside more than 100 federal and state law enforcement partners and attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Colombia. On January 2, the FTC issued its largest penalty to date, a $10 million settlement from XCast Labs for facilitating hundreds of millions of illegal robocalls.

About 87.2% of spam calls to U.S. numbers originate from within the country, and the remaining 12.28% mostly came from a small handful of countries. India ranked as the number one country conducting illegal calls to the U.S. at 83.24%. To put this in perspective, Colombia, Nigeria, Mexico, Peru, and Eygpt make up the following five slots, ranging from 1.08% to 1.95% each, while the rest of the world totals 9.5% combined.

Overall, Mississippi gets the most unwanted communications on average per month, with 32.7 million calls and 9.6 million texts. Massachusetts received the least, totaling 21.35 million calls and 5.09 million texts.

The states with the most unwanted calls:

  1. Mississippi: 32.7 million calls, 9.6 million texts
  2. South Carolina: 55.37 million calls, 14.15 million texts
  3. Oklahoma: 41.19 million calls, 9.7 million texts
  4. Montana: 9.52 million calls, 2.65 million texts
  5. Georgia: 93.37 million calls, 16.9 million texts
  6. Arkansas: 25.25 million calls, 9.15 million texts
  7. Texas: 243,92 million calls, 43.24 million texts
  8. Alabama: 41.81 million calls, 10.18 million texts
  9. Louisiana: 38.11 million calls, 8.47 million texts
  10. Tennessee: 54.38 million calls, 15.81 million texts

The states with the least unwanted calls:

  1. Massachusetts: 21.35 million calls, 2.73 million texts
  2. Alaska: 2.38 million calls, 2.73 million texts
  3. Hawaii: 4.92 million calls, 2.72 million texts
  4. Washington: 27.27 million calls, 9.16 million texts

Truecaller kept tabs on which states benefitted the most from its blocking features. Texas ranked first and clocked 9.194 million hours saved every month, followed by California with 5.56 million, Florida with 5.14 million, North Carolina with 3.86 million, and Georgia with 3.5 million hours saved.

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