With the holidays right around the corner, scammers will be trying harder than ever to get your money – they’ve got families of their own to buy gifts for, after all. With over 2.4 billion phone calls made each month, scammers are using increasingly clever ways to penetrate carrier networks and reach their victims. According to our survey, scammers are getting more aggressive in the amount of calls they make and through the use of new spoofing techniques.
We asked 1,000 mobile phone users in the U.S. about their phone calls and found that nearly 85% them have received a call they believed to be a scam, up from 73% last year. Almost half of those surveyed said scammers use a familiar or identical area code and prefix to try and get them to pick up. It’s a process known as spoofing, used to deliberately falsify the caller ID and disguise their identities. If you’ve gotten a fishy call from your same area code, you’re not alone – neighbor spoofing calls are up 400% from last year and now account for 4% of ALL mobile traffic.
According to our data, over half of all unknown incoming calls that match the first six digits of your mobile number are neighbor spoof calls. We’ve found they like to target consumers on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3:00-6:00 pm EST specifically – and you’re least likely to get a scam call on a Sunday.
So why are the holidays such a popular time to get scammed? It’s because of people’s willingness to give this time of year. Over 40% of those we talked to feel more willing to donate around the holidays, leaving lots of room for scammers to capitalize on generosity. We’ve written countless times about fake donation scams, where people pose as charities seeking donations. The FCC warns about disaster relief in particular, as they’ve received a high volume of complaints about these types of calls.
Other interesting facts we found out from the survey?
- Nearly 60 percent of respondents have received a scam call in the past month
- Cruise and vacation scams were ranked the most common scam call with 57 percent of people having received one, followed by IRS (40 percent) and imposter scams (27 percent)
- Over 80 percent of those surveyed would be more inclined to change from their current cell phone carrier if it meant telemarketers and scammers could be blocked/identified compared to just 66 percent of those in 2016
- Close to a quarter of those surveyed would leave their current carrier to one that blocked or identified incoming telemarketing and fraudulent calls
- Almost 9 in 10 people feel it is important to know why a number is calling
- Weekends are the lowest activity time for scammers, then it ramps up throughout the week