A report released by Truecaller from its insights study shows the 20 countries most affected by spam calls in 2018, with South Africa ranking as the fourth most spammed country in the world.
Nuisance and unsolicited calls are on the rise around the globe, and Truecaller’s study found that the 5.3 million Truecaller app users receive on average a total of 21 spam calls monthly. Truecaller also reported that in 2018 a staggering 17.7-billion spam calls were identified for its users, and that it has identified 74.1-billion spam calls overall since being launched. This means that close to every fourth call that app users receive are spam calls.
Truecaller also found that within large markets such as Brazil and India, the average Truecaller user receives more than 22 spam calls each month.
South Africans are not far behind as some of the most spammed people in the world, and South Africa has seen a 40% increase of spam calls, going from 15 to 21 spam calls a month.
South Africa is the only African country to rank in the world’s top 20 most spammed countries this year.
Digging deeper into the bigger markets, Truecaller found common categories that tie all these spam calls together. The most prominent pattern seen was that the biggest spammers are operators across the world. Another pattern noted was that telemarketing calls from financial services, debt collectors and insurance-related matters are also responsible for a high amount of spamming globally.
Truecaller has identified and blocked 297-million spam calls in South Africa to date and has identified 12.4% of all calls received by Truecaller users as spam.
Last year’s study revealed that only 1% of spam calls were marked as scam-related, while this year almost half (49%) of all top spam calls were scam-related.
Scams included tech support fraud, in which the scammer pretends to be calling from the targeted person’s bank or company, informing the target that their account has been hijacked and they need to help the caller take control of it; the one ring scam, in which the target receives a missed call from an unknown number (usually an international one) and get charged a hefty fee when they call back; the job offer scam, in which the scammer pretends to be a headhunter calling the target to offer them a job, telling the target they need to pay a fee in order to be hired.
Telemarketing remains a persistent problem in South Africa, accounting for 38% of all top spam calls in the country.