One out of ten Americans lost money through a phone scam last year

A new survey from Truecaller shows that nearly one in ten American adults (9%) has been victimized and lost money from a phone scam in the last twelve months. The average loss is $430 per person, up 56% from the last survey in 2015, costing Americans $9.5 billion!

Tom Hsieh, VP at Truecaller reminds readers that “millions of Americans continue to lose out on billions of dollars every year as a result of serious threats and attacks aimed at mobile phone owners. These scammers tend to prey on victims particularly in times of distress, whether there’s a natural disaster and someone claims to be from a relief or charity organization, or simply during tax season, when there’s a spike in IRS agent fraud and threatening callers claiming that you owe back taxes. One of the important things to understand is that no one is immune, and now more than ever there is a need to be vigilant and work together to fight against fraudsters and bad actors.”

Men, mobiles, and millennials

Taking a look at the data, criminals seem to target mobile phones, millennials, and men. Nearly three quarters of the victims said the incident happened on their mobile devices, not their landlines. The survey done in 2014 showed it was much different with only 49% of the illegal activity happening on a cell phone.

This study also found that adult men were nearly twice as likely to lose money in a phone scam when compared to women (12% for men, 7% for women) with millennial men being most susceptible. Thirty-three percent of millennial men reported being a victim of phone fraud in the last year, much higher than millennial women at 11%.

Taking action

One bright spot in the survey showed that nearly all of those impacted by fraud, 96% of all victims, took some type of action as a result which was up considerably from 2015 when only 91% did something about it. Only one in four reported the crime to authorities, 41% downloaded some sort of spam blocker or caller id app, and 32% contacted their phone carrier.

94% of those surveyed said these phone scams would stay the same or increase while only 6% thought they would decrease in the coming years. The study goes into much more detail around the data. It’s slightly discouraging to read these types of studies around nearly unstoppable telephone scams, but it’s always better to be aware and vigilant in the face of crime.