Nearly 50% of the expected 40 billion phone calls expected to be made in the United States in 2019 will be from scammers, according to a new study.
Per its announcement this past week, First Orion, a technology vendor that provides various call management and protection services for various major communication providers including MetroPCS, T-Mobile, and Virgin Mobile, issued its 2018 Scam Call Trends and Projections Report after analyzing 50 billion calls made to its customers’ users over the past 18 months. “By combining specific call patterns and behaviors with other phone number attributes, First Orion now predicts that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019 unless the industry adopts and implements more effective call protection solutions,” the firm said.
In addition to the increase in both the volume and relative percentage of scam phone calls, another alarming trend observed by the folks running the study is that scammers are increasingly impersonating phone numbers local to their intended victims (this type of technique is sometimes known as “neighborhood spoofing”), as people are more likely to answer the phone when they see an unknown number that appears to be from nearby than if they see a number from some remote location. Sometimes scammers even manage to inadvertently spoof numbers that belong to people whom their target knows.
“Year after year, the scam call epidemic bombards consumers at record-breaking levels, surpassing the previous year and scammers increasingly invade our privacy at new extremes,” First Orion CEO Charles Morgan said in the firm’s press release about the new report.
Here is the bottom line – be careful whenever you answer the phone. Whether a number is local or not, if you do not recognize the caller’s voice, the caller could be a crook. If that party asks for something, or claims to be with a friend in need of help – call back at his or her known number.