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Spam Calls Down 5% in May, RoboKiller Finds

Americans received an estimated 5.3 billion spam calls in May 2021 – a 5% decrease from April, according to anti-spam…

  • August 27, 2021

Americans received an estimated 5.3 billion spam calls in May 2021 – a 5% decrease from April, according to anti-spam call and text message app RoboKiller.

May totals reflect a significant trend reversal compared with the 20% average monthly growth seen in late 2020 and the start of this year.

Despite macro forces driving another month of lower total spam calls, spam text volume increased by 7% in May up to 7.1 billion.

The return of month-over-month spam text increases while spam calls decline indicate scammers are pivoting to new methods of stealing from American consumers over the phone.

With 2021 spam text trends holding as RoboKiller anticipated, Americans are on track to receive more than 80 billion total spam text messages in 2021.

International COVID-19 Resurgences and FCC STIR/SHAKEN June Deadline Impacting Phone Scam Operations Worldwide

Monthly spam call decreases in May were likely driven by a temporary reduction in international robocall traffic as many countries, including India, reinstated quarantine orders following COVID-19 resurgences.

Based on trends observed in mid-2020, this will likely give way to a significant spike in spam calls later this year when scammers come back online and attempt to make up lost ground.

On the other hand, the FCC’s upcoming STIR/SHAKEN anti-spoofing deadline later this month is expected to have some impact on robocall volume as more phone providers roll out their solutions to illegal robocall traffic on their networks.

However, RoboKiller expects spam call volume will remain elevated beyond the deadline and increase over the remainder of the year.

Fewer Phone Scams Are Still Yielding Damaging Financial Losses

According to the FCC, Americans reported $165 million in financial losses to phone call and text fraud from January to March 2021, with median losses of approximately $1,000 per reported scam. Based on these trends, Americans are on track to lose more than $650 million to phone scams in 2021.

As RoboKiller observed in 2020, spam call and text volume doesn’t always correlate with phone scam-related financial losses.

Scammers often tailor their phone scams in times of uncertainty , which in turn makes their phone scams more believable. This leads more people to fall victim to phone scams and yields a higher financial return for phone scammers.

Travel Scams Emerge as a Major Threat in Coming Months

As vaccination rates in the United States increase and the travel industry returns to pre-COVID levels, RoboKiller observed a rapid increase in travel and vacation robocall and text scams.

Since January 2021, travel phone scams have increased by more than 10% as scammers try to take advantage of eager travelers hoping to take a much-needed vacation.

Year to date, there have been 1.9 billion travel phone scams, often disguised as legitimate travel brands such as booking websites, hotel chains, cruise lines, or airlines, offering free accommodations in exchange for personal and financial information.

Tips On How to Stop Phone Scams:

Don’t answer phone calls from unknown phone numbers, especially those that call or text at odd hours.

Never provide personal, banking, or sensitive information over the phone to any caller.

Don’t follow any prompts like “Press 1” or click any links.

Download a spam call and text blocker like RoboKiller to equip your phone with the latest phone-scam-fighting technology.

Apps like RoboKiller use global databases of millions of known scams to prevent scammers from reaching you in the first place.