Robocall Record: 7.4 Billion Spam Texts Surpass Total Robocalls By More Than 1 Billion Messages In March 2021
Apr 21, 2021 • PRNewswire
Record-breaking spam call and text message levels show scammers mean business in 2021
NEW YORK, April 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — RoboKiller, the app that helps eliminate spam calls and text messages, reveals Americans received a staggering 7.4 billion spam text messages in March – a 37% increase from February 2021. Spam calls were no different, hitting a record 6.3 billion in March 2021 and surpassing October 2020’s previous high of 6.1 billion.
March’s record-breaking totals mark a key inflection point in the fight against phone scams. With more Americans now wary of answering phone calls from unknown numbers, recent trends show that scammers are relying more heavily on the use of text messages as their weapon of choice to steal from more Americans over the phone.
The rise in spam calls and texts is not unexpected. In mid-2020, RoboKiller anticipated spam calls and text messages could return to normal levels or beyond as COVID-19 related hindrances to spammers’ phone scam operations, especially quarantine orders, were lifted. Spammers typically thrive during times of uncertainty and economic stress because it can be easier for the more vulnerable to fall victim to their scams.
MARCH 2021 KEY FINDINGS
Spam Text Messages Make Their Presence Known
Spam text messages continue to grow month over month, reaching record levels at 7.4 billion in March. The previous record was only two months ago, in January 2021, with 6 billion spam text messages, showing that spam text messages are rapidly on the rise and show no signs of slowing down.
Top Five Most Spam-Texted States Per Capita:
|State||Total Estimated Spam Text Messages||Estimated Spam Texts Per Person|
Spam Calls Reach New Record Levels, Too
Recent trends indicate spam calls will increase drastically in 2021 as scammers attempt to recover from the impact COVID-19 had on their operations. Monthly spam call totals in the United States have increased by an average of roughly 10% each month starting in June 2020.
March exceeded February’s 5.6 billion by 12%, proving that scammers mean business in 2021, and any American who owns a smartphone should be prepared for a flood of unwanted calls.
Top Phone Scams:
In March, the top phone scam was vehicle warranty-related at 17% of total spam calls, followed by health insurance-related calls at 8% and vacation-related scams at 6%.
Top Five Most Spam-Called States Per Capita:
|State||Total Estimated Spam Calls||Estimated Spam Calls Per Person|
Spam Text Message Explosion: What’s The Impact?
According to the FTC, in 2020, 2.2 million Americans reported losses totaling $3.3 billion to digital fraud – a whopping 73% increase from 2019’s $1.9 billion. Of those 2020 fraud reports, 27% said the contact method was a text message, while 31% reported the contact method was a phone call, showing spam text messages are just as large of a problem as spam calls, if not larger.. As these scams reach record-breaking levels and economic stress from the COVID-19 pandemic grows, it’s likely total consumer losses to phone fraud will continue to worsen in 2021.
What Is Being Done To Stop Robocalls?
Recently the FCC fined two Texas-based telemarketing companies $255 million for making automated robocalls in 2019. This is the largest fine to date and part of an expanded effort to stop automated robocalls. Since the FCC announcement, RoboKiller has noticed a slight dip in health insurance-related spam calls but anticipates this drop could be temporary.
In addition, The Pallone-Thune TRACED Act was signed into law in 2019 to help protect consumers from spam calls. One important requirement for this law is that voice service providers (VoIP) must implement STIR/SHAKEN, which uses digital certificates to authenticate calls, determine their legitimacy, and inform use cases such as labeling potential spam calls as “scam likely.” Most larger phone carriers will be required to enact STIR/SHAKEN by June 2021 in an attempt to restrict caller ID spoofing. Smaller phone carriers have exemptions lasting until 2023 and, in some cases, beyond.
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 them from reaching you in the first place.
RoboKiller’s Data Insights
These national robocall and spam text insights are provided by RoboKiller. RoboKiller’s Robocall Insights is powered by its global database of millions of known phone scams and audio fingerprints. This data is estimated by monitoring observed robocall and spam text trends for Americans who have trusted RoboKiller to stop their spam calls and has been featured by major media publications since its release in 2018.