In the past year, 1 in 3 North Americans were the victims of phone scams. A new study published by Truecaller shows a steep incline in the amount of reported phone scams and robocalls in the past 12 months, with nearly 60 million North Americans losing money, and approximately 20% falling victim to the scammers multiple times.
The scam callers utilized the fear and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in their communications, both via phone call and SMS, with 44% of North Americans claiming to have received one or more of these calls in the past year. This tactic of utilizing the pandemic created a 22% increase in the past 12 months of scam call victims, the highest number to date in the history of the Truecaller scam report.
Perhaps most shockingly, the amount of money lost to fraudulent callers has increased by 49.7% in the past year, with nearly $30 billion lost, and an average of $500 per victim (up from $351 last year). Victims have reported receiving dozens of calls on their landlines and cell phones at varying times throughout the day.
Experts suggest using extra caution when screening phone calls; only pick up calls from numbers you recognize, or hang up once the robocall or person begins asking for your personal information.