On an average, an Indian received 25.6 pesky calls a month in 2019, a 15% increase from 2018, as per a report by caller ID app Truecaller. India is also the 5th most spam called country in the world, while in 2018, it was ranked second. With 45.6 spam calls per month, Brazil topped the index. There is also another disturbing trend: 1 out of 3 women in India received sexually harassing calls and SMSes “on a regular basis”. Indians receive an average of 61 spam messages per month, the study revealed, and is the 8th worst country in the world in this regard, the study revealed. The worst is Ethiopia with 119 spam messages a month.
Truecaller’s annual report is based on incoming calls marked by users as spam on the Truecaller app between January-October 2019. The company claims that during the period, it helped users identify 116 billion spam calls and 8.6 billion spam SMS globally.
Telcos are the biggest spammers in India: Pesky calls made to Indians in 2019 increased by 15% from 2018. Telecom service providers, trying to sell data plans among other things, were the biggest spammers this year, with 67% of the spam calls made by them. This is despite the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) direction to all telecom providers to submit monthly reports about pesky calls, starting September 2019, in a move aimed at cracking down on unsolicited commercial communication (UCC) in India. TRAI has also issued new rules making it mandatory for firms to get user consent before making such calls. It also set a monetary penalty for entities found guilty of making unsolicited calls.
- Telemarketing calls, including surveys, political calls, new client outreach for services, made up 17% of all the spam calls in India in 2019, according to Truecaller.
- Scam calls which includes fraud attempts, money swindling and unknown links, accounted for 6% of all spam calls made in India in 2019.
Fintech organisations emerged as a new spammers: Fintech organisations emerged as new big spammers in India with 10% of all pesky calls made by financial service providers. “With the rise of mobile payments and a growing middle class in India, we have seen banks, fintech companies, and outsourced telemarketing services emerging as big spammers,” the report said.
Malaysia received the most scam calls in the world
- The top 5 markets to receive the most scam calls in the world: Malaysia (63%), Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), Canada (48%), South Africa (39%).
- The biggest increase of total spam calls was in Indonesia. In Truecaller’s 2018 report, Indonesians received 9.9 spam calls per month, and was ranked 16th but this year, they received 27.6 spam calls per month and shot up to the third place.
- There has been a big increase of spam calls in European markets like Spain (100%), Greece (54.1%) and Italy (22.7%.) However, Turkey saw a decrease (18%).
- The US saw a 7% increase in spam calls compared to last year. Phone scams caused Americans to lose $10.5 billion dollars in 2018, and nearly 1 in every 6 American adults falls victim to scam calls.
- Among South Asian countries, Pakistan citizens received 68 spam SMS messages per month. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka at 51 and Bangladesh at 27 spam SMS messages per month ranked lower than India (61 per month) in this regard.