RoboKiller Predicts Spam Calls Could Reach 70 Billion, Spam Texts 90 Billion By The End Of 2021
2020 was a challenging year in almost every aspect. Scammers and robocallers were no exception. RoboKiller’s Annual Insights Report reveals Americans received 6.7 billion fewer spam calls in 2020 than in 2019.
However, a large decrease in total spam calls did not mean robocalls were any less dangerous. Consumer losses to phone fraud hit an all-time high in 2020, representing more than 50% of the $3.3 billion reported losses to digital fraud last year according to the FTC.
Fewer spam calls, greater financial losses – why?
The 2020 spam call decrease was almost entirely driven by an unforeseen crash of total spam call volume from January 2020 – April 2020. Based on what we know about how phone scam call centers work, quarantine orders worldwide greatly impacted scam call operations’ access to the technology needed to place large volumes of spam calls, therefore driving the decline in spam calls.
But, scammers were quick to adapt. Many phone scam operations quickly shifted their strategy to quality over quantity approach – developing more targeted, relevant phone scams related to COVID-19, government stimulus, PPE, and more. Scammers also adopted new ways to reach (and steal from) Americans, shifting their scams from robocalls to spam texts. In the latter half of 2020, total monthly spam texts exceeded total robocalls by over 2 billion per month!
Spam calls rebound in May 2020, stay at pre-COVID levels
Spam calls dropped during the first half of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and quarantine orders impact spammers’ ability to place calls. However, spam calls were quick to rebound in June and stayed between 4 – 5 billion calls a month from June 2020 – December 2020, with October seeing the highest volume of 6.18 billion calls. Spam calls related to the Presidential Election like donation requests, voting, and more inundated Americans during this timeframe.
54 billion spam calls, $3.3 billion in consumer losses
Though Americans received fewer robocalls in 2020, the addition of spam texts as a more prominent phone scamming method means Americans were spammed twice as much in 2020! When combined with the 54 billion robocall totals, smartphone owners in the United States ended up receiving more than 105 billion spam messages. That is a lot of unwanted messages on smartphones across the country.
The formula to explain why financial losses to digital fraud increased by more than $1 billion in 2020 from 2019 is simple. More total spam messages + more believable phone scams = greater financial losses reported for 2020. In 2020, 31% of the $3.3 billion reported consumer losses to phone scams noted the victims were contacted by phone call, and 27% reportedly were contacted via text. This means that spam texts have become almost equally as dangerous of a method of phone scamming as of 2020.
The financial impact of spam calls and texts in 2020
- 2.2 million fraud reports filed
- 3.3 billion losses to fraud
- 31% of fraud reporters said they were contacted via phone call
- 27% of fraud reporters said they were contacted via text
- Consumers lost $319 million to COVID-19 related fraud
Other 2020 key spam call and text findings:
- The COVID-19 global pandemic led to a 50% decline in spam calls from January to April 2020. However, by September, spam calls were back to normal at 5 billion robocalls per month.
- In total, Americans lost $319 million to COVID-19 related fraud over the last 12 months, according to the FTC.
- Americans received an estimated 16 billion political text messages in 2020
- Spam call volume remained at a normal level post the end of the summer rebound. Between October and December, Americans received an average of 5.8 billion spam calls a month – a 17% increase from July – September. RoboKiller anticipates this number will grow in 2021.
RoboKiller’s Phone Spam Predictions for 2021
RoboKiller predicts 2021 will be a lucrative year for phone scammers as they return with a vengeance in attempts to recover financial losses of their own in 2020. Based on more recent trends, it’s likely total spam texts in the US will reach 90 billion by the end of 2021, while total spam calls will likely reach 70 billion.
2021 could bring some progress in the government’s efforts to aid third-party call blocker apps like RoboKiller in the fight against robocalls. In 2019, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act to help protect consumers from spam calls. One important requirement for this law is voice service providers (VoIP) must implement STIR/SHAKEN, which uses digital fingerprinting to authenticate calls, determine their legitimacy, and inform use cases such as labeling potential spam calls as “scam likely”.
Carriers of a certain size will be working within regulations to enact STIR/SHAKEN by June 2021 in an attempt to prevent caller ID spoofing, while smaller carriers have exemptions lasting until 2023 and, in some cases, beyond. Though there are some gaps in STIR/SHAKENs approach, RoboKiller welcomes new technological frameworks designed to help stop the spam call problem.
How does RoboKiller stop spam calls and texts?
Since its launch in 2017, RoboKiller has continued to advocate against phone fraud, help shut down scam operations, and invest heavily in robust spam text and spam call blocking technology to stop dangerous scams from reaching consumers. In 2020, RoboKiller prevented over $37.7M in consumer losses to phone fraud, wasted over 104 million minutes of scammers’ time, and blocked more than 200 million spam calls.
RoboKiller’s powerful spam call and SMS blocker algorithm prevent dangerous phone scams and text messages from reaching Americans nationwide. Here are the benefits of downloading RoboKiller onto your or your loved one’s Android or iPhone:
- 99.9% spam call and text message blocking success rate.
- Get revenge on phone scammers with “Answer Bots” — hilarious pre-recorded messages that give fraudsters a taste of their own medicine!
- Decide what calls RoboKiller should flag as spam with personalized blacklists and whitelists.
- Never miss calls from relatives, friends, co-workers, and genuine organizations.
RoboKiller is the No.1 app for fighting phone and SMS spam. Start with a 7-day free trial now!