Truecaller today released the findings from their annual Truecaller Insights Report, that listed the Top 20 Countries Affected by Spam Calls in 2020. This is the fourth edition of the report wherein there has been a significant shift in the ranking of countries that received the most spam calls. With the pandemic breaking out earlier this year and countries going into lockdown, this year’s report has shown that not only has the pandemic affected communication behaviour but also spam patterns around the world.
A closer look at spam calls in India
According to the report, India has dropped down to 9th position in terms of number of spam calls received by users globally, while Brazil continues to stay on top. Spam calls received by users in India have decreased by 34%. Despite a reduction in the amount of spam calls received, India still makes it into the top 10 most spammed countries.
One of the most interesting revelations that came from this year’s report was that 98.5% of all spam calls in India originate from domestic numbers, which could partly explain why spam calls have been decreasing in India, as strict curfews implemented in the country earlier this year made it impossible for telemarketers to go to work, or utilise the equipment they need to carry out large scale spam campaigns.
Another interesting insight is that the first three months of lockdown in India saw calls to emergency services increase by 148%.
With regard to spam call categorisation, operators continue to be the top spammers in India with 52% user calls received for the upselling of various offers and reminders. However, the study also witnessed telemarketing services emerging as big spammers, recording a total of 34%.
The following graph highlights the top spammed states in India. This level of granular data for India is new to the 2020 report. Gujarat emerged as the state that received the most spam calls in 2020, followed closely by Maharashtra. We also noted that the largest cities contributed a majority share of spam for the respective state they are in.
What other trends are we seeing?
- Truecaller found that spam reached its lowest point in April when strict curfews and lockdowns were implemented worldwide. The overall volume of calls also dipped during this period. However, from this point, reports of scammers taking advantage of the uncertainty around the pandemic emerged. In May, spam calls started to pick up again and have been increasing on average by 9.7% per month.
- October this year was the record high in terms of spam calls. It was 22.4% higher compared to pre-lockdown.
- The biggest increase of spam calls comes from Europe and the US – where Hungary has seen the biggest jump (1132%), followed by Germany (685%), Belgium (557%) and Romania (395%).
- An escalation of scam calls and robocalls around the world is expanding their share within the most common spam categories. Scammers taking advantage of the pandemic is a primary reason for the increase of scam calls.
- Earlier this year, Truecaller had released the 6th edition of our US Spam & Scam Report, where 56 million Americans reported having lost money to phone scams, and an estimated $19.7 billion USD was lost to scam calls. Of those who lost money to phone scams in the past, the average reported loss was $351 (up from $244 in 2019) and 61.5% got duped because of a robocall.
- Indonesia slipped down the list to 6th position as spam calls have reduced by 34% this year, going from 27.9 spam calls per month to 18.3. However, financial services upselling various offers continue to plague the country, as can be seen by its 52% share of total spam. Scam calls also remain to be a problem in Indonesia (9%).
- The most alarming trend in the UK is that scam calls account for more than one-third of the top spammers. From April (after the lockdown was eased) to October, scam calls have increased with 59% and sales calls have seen an increase of 48%.
- Spam calls in Mexico have decreased significantly (40%) this year. Last year, Mexicans would receive on average 25.7 spam calls, and this year it has dropped to 15.5. However, Mexico remains the 2nd most spammed country in Latin America. Top spammers in Mexico continue to come from financial services (27%) and debt collector groups (24%).
- Another devastating fact related to India, is that 8 out of 10 women in India receive sexual harassment or inappropriate calls and SMS regularly.
- This is the first time Vietnam enters the list of the most spammed countries in the world. In the past 12 months, spam calls in Vietnam have increased by 182%. The majority of the spam calls come from financial services (45%), while scam calls, with an increase of 31%, are flooding the country.
- Belgium rounds out the list of new European entrants to the top spammed list that has experienced exponential growth in spam calls.
- Last year, Peru was the 2nd most spammed country in the world. With a sharp decrease of spam calls (59%), Peru has now dropped down to 14th position. However, Peru still ranks as one of the most spammed countries (4th) in Latin America.