Phone scams stolen money from almost 40 percent of consumers in 2020

February 24, 2021
phone scams communications frauds money loss fraud prevention vishing SMSing

Almost 40% of telecommunication consumers have lost money to phone scams and frauds during the previous year based on a recent research report conducted by a Hiya, a telecommunication platform.

It is now more than ever that consumers and organizations rely on using voice calls to process transactions with voice network traffic rising 184% in 2020 compared to the previous year. This increase however is being exploited by fraudsters that targets unsuspecting consumer to conduct their scam modus.

A survey response from more than 2,000 phone consumers and 300 business professionals in America revealed that 75% were targeted by phone scammers over the past 12 months. In 2020, 50 billion spam calls were recorded that targets the United States alone and more than 157 billion spam calls were recorded in Europe and North America, 58% of the spam calls were identified as fraudulent.

These huge number of spam calls is indeed irritating and confusing. About 40% of the survey respondents have reported losing money to these phone scam and spam last 2020 with average amount of $182 per consumer. More that 7% of the respondents reported the loss of more than $500 to telecommunications fraud – this is during the time that people are losing their jobs and business are closing as result of the current pandemic.


The high number of victims is not surprising as it can be difficult to spot phone scams as one of the tactic used by scammers is posing as a representative of a legitimate business or organization to exploit their targets.


44% of the US consumers surveyed are regularly targeted by these spoof calls, with larger businesses typically spoofed more than SMEs. This is having negative consequences on businesses, too, with 48% of consumer respondents reporting they are suspicious of subsequent calls coming from a business that has been spoofed. Some of the schemes recorded includes SMS that contains fake promotions, fund recipient from a benefactor, a fraudster can guise as a bank representative vishing consumer to update their profile or to give out financial info with threats that their account getting frozen to pressure their victim.

These kind of schemes impacts consumer trust at the time that professionals and organizations are more reliant to using voice transactions as medium to conduct business and to connect with customers. It is definitely concerning that customers satisfaction and cash flow transactions were among the areas most impacted negatively by customers declining to pick up the phone.

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