Phone Spam Statistics

Phone spam is a major problem. So big, in fact, that Americans collectively fend off over 3 billion spam calls per month. We took a deep dive into the problem in our spam call case study where you can see detailed information about how spam affects the average smartphone owner.

Our study underscores what many American, Canadian, and UK residents experience when it comes to spam. Given that the problem is global we decided to make this companion guide that looks at spam statistics around the world.

Our collection of phone spam statistics reveals how the problem is growing. Spam has created an entire (and lucrative) market for apps (like Truecaller and Robokiller) that help to filter out spam calls – and both tech companies and governments are investing time and resources into solving the problem for consumers.

36 phone scam statistics

Here are 36 facts and insights about phone scam statistics in the US:

1. The financial impact of scam calls

Americans lost around $39.5 billion to phone scams in 2022, a substantial increase from the $29.8 billion lost in the first half of 2021. This growth indicates the escalating financial impact of these scams. (SourceTech Report)

2. Scam calls increase year-on-year

First Orion’s scam call trends report detailed the state of scam calls in 2021.There was a 118% increase in scam calls in 2021 versus 2020. (Source: First Orion).

3. Number of victims of scam calls

In 2022, about 68.4 million US citizens reported losing money to phone scams, marking a 23% increase from the 59.4 million victims in 2021. This statistic underscores a growing trend in the number of individuals affected by phone scams year-over-year. (SourceTech Report)

4. Phones are the most-used channel for scam

As of 2021, scammers are still most likely to contact you by phone. In fact, you were almost twice as likely to be called versus texted. However, in the first half of 2022, scammers were using both avenues of attack equally. (Source: FTC).

5. The average scam call costs victims $567

Hiya’s State of the Call 2022 report weighed in on the costs of scam calls per victim. In 2021, scam phone calls cost their victims an average of $567.41, a huge increase from the previous year’s losses ($182 on average). (Source: Hiya).

6. Number spoofing remains a huge problem

First Orion’s scam trends report found that in 2018, nearly 70%  of scam calls in the US were using neighborhood spoofing. However, the FCC has since introduced STIR/SHAKEN, a caller ID authentication system designed to make this kind of deception significantly more difficult.

(Source: First Orion).

7. Southern states are more likely to be targeted

T-Mobile’s 2021 Scam Shield Report found that Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Georgia received the most scam calls. Specifically, residents of Dallas and Fort Worth were the worst hit.

8. Scam calls cost $30 billion

Americans lost nearly $30 billion from phone scams in 2021 — over $10 billion more than the amount lost in 2020. (Source: Truecaller).

9. Brazilians most likely to be targeted by spam calls

Truecaller’s top 20 countries affected by spam report looks at how scams affect callers by their geographical location. It found that Brazil, Peru, and Ukraine were the most common targets, with Brazil remaining in first place for four years running. (Source: Truecaller)

10. Scam calls rise again by 22% in 2021

59.49 million US residents lost money from a phone scam in 2021. This is an increase of 22%% in 2020.  (Source: Truecaller).

11. You’re likely to lose more money if contacted by phone

FTC data shows that in 2021, victims of scam calls lost an average of $1,200, while those contacted via text, email, or websites lost lower (but still substantial) sums. This could be due to the increased pressure a scammer can apply when speaking to the victim directly.

12. Russia and China are the most problematic countries when it comes to Spam

According to the latest figures from Kaspersky ‘s SecureList, Russia is the largest source of Spam, with approximately 24% of spam messages originating from IPs in Russia. China, on the other hand, is top of the list when it comes to live Spam issues according to Spamhaus, with over 9000 live spam issues reported at the time of writing.

Additional phone spam and scam statistics

Phone spam is an international nuisance that represents just how advanced cybercriminals have become at using telecommunications technology to their own advantage. The significant growth rate of mobile-based phone spam and phone number spoofing also reflects the difficulties governments, telecommunications companies, tech companies, and consumers all face when responding to the threat.

The following statistics provide a clear picture of how extensive phone spam is worldwide, and just how much damage and frustration the issue causes.

12. Robocalls make up 60% of calls in 2021

The US saw a 56% increase in the number of spam calls in 2021. Robocalls accounted for 60% of all calls. (Source: Truecaller).

13. COVID-related calls rose by 59% in 2021

Truecaller’s spam call report asked users how they were impacted by scam calls during the pandemic. 59% of Americans received spam calls related to COVID-19 in 2021. (Source: Truecaller).

14. 18 spam calls received per month on average

Hiya’s State of the Call report asked respondents how many spam or fraud calls they received on average each month. It found that US residents experienced an average of 18 per month. (Source: Hiya).

15. Average robocalls per month change due to spam-call blocking

However, Truecaller’s 2021 data report shows an average of 31 calls per month, up from 28 spam calls per month in 2020. This reflects a small difference in how spam-blocking companies are collecting and analyzing data. (Source: Truecaller).

16. In 2021, one spammer made over 200 million calls

One spammer in India was responsible for 202 million scam calls in 2021, which works out at 27,000 fraud attempts per hour. It should be noted that this isn’t one person, but more likely an entire office full of fraudsters. (Source: Truecaller).

17. Scammers frequently impersonate legitimate businesses

Hiya’s 2022 State of the Call survey found that scammers lied about who they were in 62% of scam calls. This has led to 12% of victims ceasing contact with the impersonated business.

18. The UK was the 4th most-spammed country in 2020

Truecaller noticed an increase of 159% when it came to spam calls in 2020. Of these, 48% were sales calls and 59% were outright fraudulent. (Source: Truecaller).

19. Yorkshire is the most-targeted British location for spam calls

According to National Accident Helpline, people in Yorkshire and the Humber receive more spam calls than anyone else in the UK. 66% are cold-called regularly, with 20% of these receiving more than one call a day. (Source: National Accident Helpline).

20. Americans distrustful of unknown numbers

87% of US respondents said they refuse to answer calls unless they can identify who is calling. Thanks to number spoofing, this isn’t a definitive defense against scams, but it is a step in the right direction. (Source: Truecaller).

21. The UK no longer hindered by marketing research calls

Marketing research calls are no longer substantial enough to form a part of the UK’s spam data. This is a pretty significant drop from the 3% share of all spam calls they accounted for in 2018. (Source: Truecaller).

spam call report

22. Brazilians receive on average, one spam call per day

Brazil leads the world in spam callers per person. In 2021, Brazilian residents received an average of 32.9 spam calls per person, per month. (Source: Truecaller).

23. Fixed line call scams are reducing

Landline phone scams in the US are on the decline. In 2017, scammers used landlines for 56% of their phone scam attempts. In 2019, that number fell to less than 25%. (Source: First Orion).

Spam calls increase
Source: First Orion

24. 25% of robocalls were telemarketing

Hiya’s State of the Call findings show that telemarketing wasn’t a huge concern in 2018. Telemarketers made up only 25%  of robocalls in the report. (Source: Hiya).

25. Almost one in five lost money to a COVID-19 phone scam

First Orion surveyed users to understand how scam calls related to the Covid-19 pandemic had affected them. 17% of Americans revealed that they’d lost money to a scam call related to COVID-19. (Source: First Orion).

26. Most businesses don’t know if their calls are being flagged as a spam risk or not

While customers like to speak to businesses over the phone (especially if they’re talking to a bank or insurance company), they’re wary of unknown numbers. Despite this, 38% of businesses have no idea whether they’re being marked as “potential fraud” or not. 32% of businesses do know, however, and would be willing to pay a premium to have their organization’s caller ID verified.  (Source: Hiya).

27. 2019 saw an increase in the victims of the Wangiri scam

Hiya highlighted some interesting figures on the Wangiri Scam. The Wangiri Scam, also known as the “one-call scam”, increased 250% between 2017 and 2018. The scam grew by a further 58% in 2019. (Source: Hiya).

28. Consumers don’t answer all calls received

Overall, consumers only pick up roughly half of all calls they receive. As a result, scam callers aren’t reaching their target victims as often to succeed with a scam. (Source: Hiya).

29. Spam call duration is down

Hiya’s State of the Phone Call 2019 report found that the average spam call only lasts 11 seconds. This could indicate people are becoming more aware of scam callers and hanging up.  (Source: Hiya).

30. Personal data used to fool victims

Scammers are now using hacked data to make more targeted attacks via spam calls. FirstOrion found 28% of scam callers use some form of personal data to persuade victims. (Source: FirstOrion).

31. Scam callers approach victims with critical personal data

Scammers are doing their research on victims before initiating a call to enhance their chances of a scam succeeding. In 2019, of those who lost $1,000 or more to a phone scam, 75% claimed the caller already possessed critical personal information prior to the call.  (Source: FirstOrion).

32. Scam callers record home addresses before calls

39% of victims said that the scammer knew their home address before it was given. Likewise, in 17% of cases, the scammer knew some or all of the victim’s Social Security numbers. (Source: FirstOrion).

33. Scam callers change tactics

First Orion uses the data from its scam call report to predict upcoming scam trends. The rise of Enterprise Spoofing may cause a 20% reduction in neighbor spoofing as scam callers switch tactics.  (Source: FirstOrion).

34. People are fooled into handing over data

The 2020 scam call report investigated the likelihood of a caller being fooled into handing over their personal data. It found that those handing over their personal data to scammers in 2020 was 3.7 times more effective than the previous year. (Source: FirstOrion).

35. Scammers obtain credit card details easier

First Orion’s 2020 scam call report surveyed users on the impact of spam calls involving financial details. In 2020, victims giving their SSN or credit card info to a scammer impacted 6.5 times more victims than in 2019. (Source: FirstOrion).

36. Spam text stats went up 1000% from 2021 to 2022

According to the latest study from Text-em-all, spam text stats went up 1,024% from April 2021 to Februaury 2022. This is a reminder of how the issue of phone spam is growing, and reveals just why it is vital to educate smartphone owners about the evils of smishing texts and other scams that originate in spam directed at phones.

No end to phone spam in sight

Currently, available data suggests one troubling conclusion: there is no clear end in sight for the world’s growing phone-spam problem. As spammers quickly adapt to more discreet and harder-to-stop methods, telecommunications companies and governments have struggled to address the issue. According to Truecaller’s Director of Communications, Kim Fai Kok, “By just looking at the trends and statistics, we do not see spam calls stopping any time soon.”

Phone spam FAQs

What should I do if I receive a scam call?

If you suspect a phone call is a scam, it’s important not to provide any personal or financial information. Your bank, for example, will never ask you to reveal such details in full over the phone. Such phone calls are a popular way for cybercriminals to steal your information or steal your identity.

We recommend that you disconnect the call if you suspect it is an attempt at a scam.

How can I prevent receiving phone spam?

Want to cut down on those annoying telemarketing calls? Here are a few options:

  • Sign up your number with the national Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers will then need to check that list before they call you up, by law.
  • Make the most of your phone’s built-in spam filters too. Lots of smartphones have them, and they can auto-block calls from known spammers or numbers that others have flagged as spammy.
  • You can also try downloading a third-party app like Nomorobo, Truecaller, or Hiya to help you filter out those annoying spam calls.
  • And be careful with your phone number. Try not to share it unless you really need to, especially online or with sketchy sources.
  • Use caller ID to see who’s calling. If you don’t recognize the number, let it roll to voicemail – that way, you won’t pick up calls from spammers.
  • Think about getting a separate phone number for use online or in situations where you’d rather not give out your personal digits. It’s a great way to keep your main number private and dodge spam calls.