Truecaller, a caller identification app with over 150 million monthly active users in India, has released a report titled "Truecaller Insights: Top 20 Countries Affected by Spam Calls in 2020" and according to this Indian telecom operators accounted for 52% of all spam calls in the country in 2020, followed by telemarketers, who comprised another 34%.

Global Spam Trends 2020 -

  • Brazil is still the most affected country when it comes to spam calls, with an increase of 9% compared to last year.
  • The US is now the second most spammed country in the world, and has seen a 56% increase of spam calls compared to last year. This is a significant rise from last year’s position of 8th. 
  • India, a country that used to receive the most spam calls in the world, has now dropped to 9th position. 
  • Last year, the South American region dominated the top 10 most spammed countries list. This year Chile, Peru and Colombia have seen a decrease in spam calls.
  • A lot of European countries have surfaced on the list – Hungary, Poland, Spain, UK, Ukraine, Germany, Romania, Greece and Belgium. None of these countries were on the list last year. 
  • The biggest increase of spam calls comes from Europe and the US – where Hungary has seen the biggest jump (1132%), followed by Germany (685%), Belgium (557%) and Romania (395%).
  • Indonesia (18.3), India (16.8), Vietnam (14.7) and Russia (14.3) are the most affected countries in Asia. 
  • An escalation of scam calls and robocalls around the world is expanding their share within the most common spam categories. Scammers taking advantage of the pandemic is a reason for the increase of scam calls.
  • Just like us, spammers take time off from work on weekends, as can be seen in a global weekly reduction of spam calls on those days.

Spam reached its lowest point in April, when strict curfews and lock downs were implemented worldwide. The overall volume of calls also dipped during this period. However, from this point, reports of scammers taking advantage of the uncertainty around the pandemic emerged. In May, spam calls started to pick up again and have been increasing on average by 9.7% per month.

October, with a record high in terms of spam calls, was 22.4% higher than the pre-lockdown period.

Despite a reduction in the amount of spam calls received (34%), India still makes it into the top 10 most spammed countries. Only 3 years ago, India was ranked as the most spammed country in the world.

Truecaller data shows that 98.5% of all spam calls in India come from domestic numbers. This could partly explain why the total number of spam calls have decreased in India as compared to previous years. This means that the strict curfews and lockdowns in India made it impossible for telemarketers to go to work, or utilize the equipment they need to carry out large scale spam campaigns.

Overall, the spam trends look very similar to last year with the exception that scam calls in particular increased from 6% to 9%. Based on community feedback and internal reports, we have noticed a very particular type of scam in India that seems to gain traction each year. We are talking, of course, about KYC and OTP related scams. They are now so common that even you may have experienced this yourself or know of someone who has. The scammers try to hook unsuspecting people using either phone calls or SMS and the tactic is always the same: they will try to get you to give up sensitive information about your financials or force you to you reveal a secret OTP with the ultimate aim of extracting money from your bank accounts or digital wallets.

Another interesting fact: In the first 3 months of lockdown in India calls to emergency services spiked by 148% at the beginning of the lockdown.


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