New York, NY, April 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Truecaller announced findings today from its fourth annual study on the impact of phone scams and spam in the U.S. Online research was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller in March 2018 among 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+

According to the new study, 1 in every 10 American adults (10%) lost money from a phone scam in the past 12 months with nearly half (46%) of those who have ever been scammed reporting they’ve been a victim more than once. With an average loss of $357 per victim, the result of these scams is projected to have cost 24.9 million Americans approximately $8.9 billion* in total losses.

Total Spam Calls Up 22% Over Last 12 Months:
On average, Americans reported receiving 23 spam calls (mobile and/or landline) and 8.5 spam text messages in an average month, a significant uptick of 22% from last year. Over a 12-month period, that amounts to roughly 68.9 billion total spam-related calls and more than 25.4 billion spam texts received in the US.**

Note: The previous year’s report showed an average of 18.8 spam calls and 8.4 spam texts per month.

Males Aged 18-34 Most Susceptible to Scams:
Despite reporting a low average number of spam calls received per month (14.2), males aged 18-34 also reported a high instance of lost money with nearly a quarter (24%) claiming they’d been victimized by a phone scam in the past 12 months. Overall men (11%) reported being victimized more than women (8%).

College Grads Twice as Likely to Fall Victim to a Scam:
According to the survey college graduates (14%) fell victim to phone scams in the past 12 months at a significantly higher rate than those with some college education (8%) or no college education (7%).

Parents with Children Under 18 Years Old More Likely to be Scammed:
Parents with a child under the age of 18 years old reported a much higher instance of being phone scammed at 22% while just 5% of adults without a child under 18 reported losing money on a scam in the past 12 months.

Households with Total Income Above $50K and Less Than $75K Least Likely to be Scammed:
Americans in households with a total income of more than $50K and less than $75K annually reported the fewest incidences of phone scams at just 5% versus households with incomes of $75K or more or those making less than $50K, which were scammed 10% and 12% respectively.

“Free Vacation” Most Commonly Received Phone Spam:
Among the types of spams reported, a caller telling the recipient they’ve been selected for a free vacation and need to verify credit card information was the most highly-occurring at 58% from those reporting to have received scam calls in the past 12 months

Others popular scams include:

  • Credit Card Debt - Caller claims they can help recipient pay off their credit card debt faster (51%)
  • IRS - Caller claiming recipient of call owes taxes or penalties asking for credit card information or wire transfer (35%)
  • Loans - Caller threatens that loans are past due or offers to help lower interest rates (33%)
  • Political - Caller claims recipient has received a government grant or asks for money to support a political campaign (29%)
  • Bank Problems - Caller claims to be from recipient’s bank and that a hold has been placed on their account and sensitive information is needed (18%)
  • Nigerian Prince - Caller claims to be a prince and if recipient helps them access money they will reward them with financial compensation later (10%)

96% of People Who Lost Money Reported Taking Some Action:
As a result of being scammed, an overwhelming majority (96%) of those victimized said they took some action as a result.  

Among those who lost money on phone scams in the past 12 months:

  • 40% downloaded a spam blocker or caller ID app
  • 38% canceled credit card or changed account numbers
  • 31% signed up for credit protection/monitoring
  • 29% checked phone bill
  • 26% contacted phone carrier
  • 23% reported it to authorities (police, FCC, FTC)
  • 23% used “reverse look-up” or searched phone number to try and identify caller
  • 22% signed up for Do Not Call Registry
  • 17% changed phone number
  • 4% did nothing

The survey also detailed how people react to calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Worth noting that nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) say they now completely ignore calls (up from 67% last year) from unknown numbers while 40% either block or report the number (up from 36% last year).

Survey Methodology:
The 2018 phone scam survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller from March 13-15, 2018 among 2,036 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The 2018 phone spam survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller from March 22-26, 2018 among 2,049 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The 2017 phone spam survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller from March 13-15, 2017 among 2,145 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The 2017 phone scam survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller from March 7-9, 2017 among 2,133 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Truecaller:
People use Truecaller to stay ahead. It helps them know who’s getting in touch, filter out unwanted calls and messages and focus on what really matters. The company provides a suite of unique services such as a dialer that offers caller ID, spam detection, messaging and more. Truecaller’s mission is to build trust everywhere by making communication safe and efficient. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company was founded in 2009 by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. For more information, please contact: press@truecaller.com

About The Harris Poll:
The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm. We strive to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible. Learn more at www.theharrispoll.com.

*2016 U.S. Census data showed a U.S. adult population (ages 18 and older) of 249,485,228. Based on 10 percent of U.S. adults reporting losing money in a phone scam, the total number of phone scam victims in the U.S. was estimated to be 24.9 million. The average phone scam victim in the survey reported losing $357. This equates to a total of $8.9 billion.

**The average American adults receives 23.0 spam calls in a month, when multiplied by the U.S. adult population (249,485,228) that equals an average of 5,738,160,244 spam calls per month. Multiply this monthly figure by 12 months and this equals an average of 68,857,922,928 spam calls per year. The average American adult receives 8.5 spam texts in a month, when multiplied by the U.S. adult population (249,485,228) that equals an average of 2,120,624,438 spam texts. Multiply this monthly figure by 12 months and this equals an average of 25,447,493,256 spam texts per year.

David Watsky
Manifest New York
401-952-3782
David@manifest.nyc