Phone scammers have swindled Americans out of nearly $30 billion over the past 12 months

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,605   +139
Staff member
Bottom line: App makers, wireless carriers and even the FCC have all made concerted efforts to combat robocalls and spam messages in recent years, but based on recent evidence from Truecaller, they’re fighting a losing battle.

In the latest iteration of its spam and scam report, the Swedish-based company notes that as many as 59.49 million Americans have reported losing money as a result of phone scams over the trailing 12 months. That’s up from 56 million during the same period a year earlier and is the highest number recorded since the company started keeping records seven years ago.

Truecaller said 60 percent of victims were duped by robocallers, and that the average lost was $502 – up from $351 over the previous year, or 43 percent. In total, scammers made away with an estimated $29.8 billion.

Scammers have been leveraging the ongoing pandemic to their advantage. According to Truecaller, 59 percent of Americans have received a spam call or text message related to Covid-19 in the last 12 months. Unsurprisingly, the firm fully expects the trend of Covid-19 related spam to increase next year.

In what might come as a surprise to some, Truecaller reports that younger men and women are more susceptible to phone scams than older citizens. And across all age brackets, men fall for scams more than women.

Permalink to story.

 

TheBigT42

Posts: 595   +589
I miss the good ole days when it was a live person trying to scam me.

I have had calls claiming:
A warrant for my arrest had been issued
My SSN was being misused
My Windows Computer was sending viruses
My Car Warranty is running out
Fraudulent Amazon purchases
Fraudulent Walmart purchases

Edit: wiyosaya reminded me about IRS calls saying I owed money to the Government.
 
Last edited:

summermick

Posts: 124   +142
I filed a complaint against bestbuy the other day, started receiving scams like ATT wants to stop my services, vehicle warranty expiring soon, lower credit card debts frequently in a short of period...my scam call rate increased every time I called a merchant's customer service
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 552   +959
Most folks have a cell phone these days - just dialing any number is going to get you a cell phone or a business, for the most part.

Now, make a scam about important issues going on or make threatening demands using such topics:
Politics
Covid
Stimulus Payments
Taxes/IRS
Or whatever giant environmental issue is going on (for example: forest fires in CA)

Then, spin a believable story that can tug at heart strings, scare people or make the overly gullible fall for (which is probably 70% of residents in the US).

I find it sad that there are so many stupid people out there that fall for this stuff, especially with the younger folks. I guess if people aren't taught any better I can see it happening.....

I got my 13 year old daughter a cell phone for her birthday and the same day the phone was activated the phone was getting spam texts and phone calls. I had to explain to her that any phone number she doesn't know, never open the text or answer the call. Any phone number she needs is already programmed in and will show up as Dad or Mom or Grandparents and any friend's number she gets we can program in. My daughter askes me several times a week if I know any of the random numbers from calls or texts on her phone......I tell her no and to block them.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,720   +5,151
I have had calls claiming:
My Car Warranty is running out
Fraudulent Amazon purchases
I have gotten those two scams this year.

I think I also got one claiming they were the IRS, too.

I've also gotten texts with links in them where they wanted me to download something. One was to an amazon could server, so I reported it to amazon. Amazon got back to me and, IIRC, they found it was a scam.

As one of those older persons, I find it easy to recognize scams - perhaps because I've been on the internet for many years and have gotten similar e-mail scams almost from day one on the internet, or because I've developed immunity to "get rich quick" schemes.
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 595   +589
I have gotten those two scams this year.

I think I also got one claiming they were the IRS, too.

I've also gotten texts with links in them where they wanted me to download something. One was to an amazon could server, so I reported it to amazon. Amazon got back to me and, IIRC, they found it was a scam.

As one of those older persons, I find it easy to recognize scams - perhaps because I've been on the internet for many years and have gotten similar e-mail scams almost from day one on the internet, or because I've developed immunity to "get rich quick" schemes.

I haven't received any text messages but that is probably because my cell number was my grandparents land line number.
 

brucek

Posts: 940   +1,360
It seems there are vast call centers in at least India if not other countries running these scams all night long (=daytime in US), with near apparent impunity. Some of the scams are reasonably clever which is how they rake in so much money. You can find recorded examples on YouTube as well as channels that specialize in turning the tables by hacking into the call center, wiping their hard drives, recording faces etc. That part is good fun for a moment until you realize the call center will just be back up and running the next night and none of these people are going to jail despite the entire crime being on video on YouTube. I'm not sure why the US and other countries are allowing that to be the case given the huge and still increasing volume of the problem.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 652   +498
I use to ref junior sports games - I just speak real soft for awhile - then Blast the whistle down the line - Then "F O you F C.
 

AMN3S1AC

Posts: 132   +98
I was playing on Warzone yesterday, a random quads game, and one of my squad suddenly started speaking in a fake-sounding American accent. He was asking if some lady was home to discuss her purchase order for something, and that there was an issue requiring a refund. I could only hear his end of the call...I just called him a few choice names, reported him for 'cheating', and quit the game.

EDIT - I play in South-East Asia, so I get matched with players in that region. Mostly Chinese, Thai, Australian, Filipno, and Indian.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,855   +2,208
TechSpot Elite
I honestly don't know how people fall for this crap. I got a call once from someone claiming to be from Bell Canada. I knew right away that he wasn't from Bell and I said "No you're not. Why are you lying to me? Do you think I'm that stupid? Go FiretrUCK yourself!" and hung up on them.

I had a smile on my face for the next two hours. I hate those people.
 

AMN3S1AC

Posts: 132   +98
The whole "don't answer a number you don't know" doesn't work for me. It could be a hospital, or a police station calling me to inform me of a family accident or something. When I do answer, and it is a random call center, it is easy enough to hang up.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 335   +161
I have gotten those two scams this year.

I think I also got one claiming they were the IRS, too.

I've also gotten texts with links in them where they wanted me to download something. One was to an amazon could server, so I reported it to amazon. Amazon got back to me and, IIRC, they found it was a scam.

As one of those older persons, I find it easy to recognize scams - perhaps because I've been on the internet for many years and have gotten similar e-mail scams almost from day one on the internet, or because I've developed immunity to "get rich quick" schemes.
Well I don't know how old you are but what I've found is the actual elderly age group is pretty susceptible (55+) and then the young ones (under 25) also seem to have issues and pretty much believe anything they see online is possible.

Meanwhile my generation (mid 30's - early 40's) seem to be the ones who grew up at just the right time to be exposed to the internet early enough that it's second nature but also have built up enough experience and went through the early days where having a true understanding of the internet was important to actually getting anything done.

This group seems to be the ones who are quick to know a scam meanwhile my elderly family members are either paranoid to the point they won't touch technology and think people are messing with their mailbox daily OR they are into the tech yet have no clue what they are truly doing and infect their systems regularly or have been ripped off by a scammer (like a "windows security" issue that's locked down their pc til they pay to "clean it")

Then I have young people who think they "know" it all but are truly ignorant and tend to get themselves into more trouble because they think their knowledge is vast enough they can't get into trouble.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 335   +161
The whole "don't answer a number you don't know" doesn't work for me. It could be a hospital, or a police station calling me to inform me of a family accident or something. When I do answer, and it is a random call center, it is easy enough to hang up.
The whole "don't answer a number you don't know" doesn't work for me. It could be a hospital, or a police station calling me to inform me of a family accident or something. When I do answer, and it is a random call center, it is easy enough to hang up.

While I do worry about the same sometimes I've made it basically a rule if I don't know the number or aren't expecting the call I'm not answering if they have something important to tell me they can say it to my VM and I'll immediately get the message as a text at which point I'll call them back when it's actually someone or something important.

The odds just tell me that this is the better way to handle things as 99.95% of the time it's not something I MUST get the call right then for.

May sound heartless but if someone's dead they are already gone and if someone's hurt in the hospital I'll get the message either way and be on my way.

I've actuality had to deal with this a few times in the last year or so (and no not covid related just really bad luck for some friends recently) RIP to Tim and Nezir

Sucks to be 35 and have so many of your closest friends already gone.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,348   +7,156
With all of this going on for so long, it's a wonder the phones don't already have this feature built in, or their companies being prohibited from selling in the US without this as a built in feature. Won't end the problem but it's a good start.