AI-Driven Phone Scams Becoming More Prevalent, With Americans Receiving an Average of 14 Spam Calls Monthly
Phone fraud and spam calls are on the rise, driven by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology by scammers. According to a recent study by voice security provider Hiya, one out of every four calls flagged as unknown is ultimately determined to be unwanted or spam. This increase in activity means that Americans are now receiving an average of 14 spam calls per month.
Hiya’s study, presented at the State of the Call Summit on October 5th, analyzed 98 billion calls globally, of which 25% were flagged as spam or fraud. In the United States alone, out of the 2.13 billion calls observed, 27% were flagged as spam. However, only 1% were identified as fraud, while 26% were categorized as nuisance calls.
While there has been a steady decline in global spam calls since the last quarter of 2022, scammers are adapting by employing new deceptions and utilizing AI and spoofing technologies, adding complexity to their attempts at defrauding consumers.
In response to the increasing problem, American consumers have been proactive in reporting unknown calls. Operation Stop Spam Calls, an initiative launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this summer, has played a role in improving reporting. In July, the FCC reported promising results, including a 99% decline in auto warranty scam calls and an 88% month-to-month decrease in student loan scam calls.
Nonetheless, scammers may have shifted their tactics to continue deceiving consumers despite the targeted efforts of Operation Stop Spam Calls. The Hiya report identified the top phone scams of 2023, indicating a persistent challenge in combating these fraudulent activities.
SMS and MMS fraud and scams also plague consumers. In 2022 alone, over 321,000 Americans were targeted by mobile-phone-based scams, commonly known as smishing scams. Additionally, MMS or mmishing scams pose a significant problem.
The Hiya study, conducted in partnership with KONTXT (part of RealNetworks), analyzed text message scams and uncovered the top text message scams. These scams include:
– Phishing messages imitating financial institutions
– Offers for free gifts or prizes
– Fake delivery notifications
– Messages pretending to be from government agencies requesting personal information
– Job offer scams
Although spam calls and texts have declined in the past year due to collaborative efforts between relevant agencies, scammers persist in employing new strategies. Americans must remain vigilant in protecting themselves from these phone scams.
Overall, the rise of AI-driven phone scams highlights the need for continued efforts to combat fraudulent activities and safeguard consumers. With technological advancements, scammers have become more sophisticated, necessitating increased vigilance and reporting from individuals and robust measures from relevant authorities to mitigate the risks associated with spam calls and text message scams.