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Phone Fraud and Spam Reached All-Time High, Costing Scammed Consumers Nearly $2,300 on Average in 2023

Hiya, the global leader in voice security, has published its 2024 State of the Call report, a global study of the trends shaping the voice calling industry. A key takeaway from the report is that whil...

Business Wire

Hiya’s 2024 State of the Call report reveals that 28% of unknown calls were spam or fraud and that 16% of consumers fell victim to phone scams in 2023

SEATTLE: Hiya, the global leader in voice security, has published its 2024 State of the Call report, a global study of the trends shaping the voice calling industry. A key takeaway from the report is that while consumers and businesses continue to prioritize voice calls, phone fraud and spam are on the rise – and phone users are paying for it.

Consumers and businesses consistently identify voice as their preferred method of communication in a variety of circumstances due to the efficiency, reliability and human touch that only voice calls can deliver. And yet, never before have phone users been so vulnerable to security threats. According to Hiya, 28% of all unknown calls in 2023 were fraud or spam. Although only 16% of consumers reported losing money to phone fraud in 2023 compared to 22% in 2022, the average financial loss reported by consumers who lost money to phone fraud was $2,257 – a 527% increase over the $360 on average scammed consumers reported last year. The average loss reported by consumers in 2023 is nearly 4x what consumers spend monthly on food, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In an effort to better understand how consumers and businesses feel about voice calling and what drives them to continue using the medium despite the security issues, Hiya analyzed over 221 billion phone calls from 2023 and surveyed 12,000 consumers, 1,800 workers and 600 security and IT professionals. Respondents were based in the United Kingdom, US, Canada, France, Germany and Spain. Here are the five most significant findings from the research:

Trend #1: Consumers and businesses continue to prioritize voice calls

Consumers in 2023 preferred voice calls over email or text by a wide margin, especially when communicating about sensitive information or important business decisions. For example, 36% of consumers said they prefer voice when engaging with healthcare providers, 33% prefer voice for bank/lender communications and 32% opted for voice when talking to credit card companies. On the business side, 66% of companies said voice calls were “essential” or “very important” to achieving their goals, such as making sales. Nevertheless, 44% of companies reported ongoing efforts to diversify communication channels across email, chat and social media.

Trend #2: Spam and fraud calls are a major problem that is only getting worse

According to Hiya’s research, consumers reported receiving 5 unwanted calls per week on average, although the number varies by region, with U.S. consumers reporting the highest rate of unwanted calls, at 8 per week. Hiya’s data confirms the problem is getting worse: In 2023, more than 28% of the 46.75 billion unknown calls analyzed by Hiya were spam or fraud, compared to 24% in 2022. Despite this trend, few consumers are using apps designed to enhance call protection. Only about one-third of consumers have downloaded phone fraud prevention apps, and 59% said they would be unwilling to pay extra for protection.

Trend #3: The financial cost of spam and fraud calls is also increasing

The impact of spam and fraud calls on consumers amounts to much more than mere annoyance. They’re also losing money – and the financial cost has grown significantly over the past year. Sixteen percent of consumers surveyed by Hiya said they lost money to a phone scam in the past year, and the numbers are higher in Germany (19%) and France (18%). Unwanted calls are also wasting consumers’ time. On average, consumers report spending nine minutes each week – or more than 7.6 hours per year – screening unwanted calls. Faced with the persistent scourge of unwanted calls, 11% of consumers said they have switched carriers in a bid to improve their call experience. Another 27% are considering switching.

Trend #4: Businesses likewise report growing concerns about the threat that spam and fraud calls pose to their operations, reputations and bottom line

Previous State of the Call reports found that businesses struggled to reach consumers and prospects because their calls were either labeled as spam or fraud, or were unidentified. The latest data shows that this issue remains a serious challenge for organizations: 46% of unidentified calls go unanswered – even when legitimate businesses are calling. Beyond the challenge of being unable to reach consumers using voice, businesses are also suffering reputational harm caused by scammers who impersonate their companies when trying to defraud consumers. Thirty-three percent of business workers said scammers used their company name in calls, and 25% said their phone numbers have been hijacked or spoofed by scammers.

Trend #5: Solutions that improve call identity are essential to mitigating spam and fraud. Call protection is important, too, particularly for businesses.

The key to solving the challenges described above is to implement better call identity and protection, making it easier for consumers to trust and answer calls – as 77% of consumers report they are more likely to answer a call if they know who is calling. Additionally, business workers agree (31%) that adding identity is the most effective way to increase call answer rates.

“Ninety-two percent of consumers believe unidentified calls are fraudulent,” said Kush Parikh, President of Hiya. “As a result, nearly half of such calls go unanswered. In the case of the other half of unidentified calls – those that consumers do pick up – recipients typically only answer reluctantly, due to concerns that it may be a call they can’t miss. This erosion of trust is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a significant barrier to effective and secure interactions between businesses and their customers, not to mention friends and family.”

To view the complete Hiya 2023 State of the Call report, go to www.hiya.com/state-of-the-call.

About Hiya

Hiya is trusted by global businesses, carriers, and consumers to provide secure, engaging connections and stop unwanted calls. Built on the world’s leading Voice Security Platform, Hiya connects businesses with their customers, helps carriers secure their networks, and protects people from spam and fraud calls. Hiya’s SaaS applications, Hiya Connect and Hiya Protect, serve more than 450 million users on the Hiya Network, powering call protection and identity for EE, Samsung, Ericsson and more. Learn more at www.hiya.com.

Fonte: Business Wire

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