Every day, billions of users around the world are subjected to unwanted, and often malicious, scam calls in the form of a robocall.
These calls are undertaken using simple auto-dialing techniques to deliver automated messages that at best can be identified as spam calls, and at worst as mass-delivered scam attempts aimed at defrauding customers.
Often these calls leverage sophisticated ‘call spoofing’ techniques, mimicking faked and often identifiable numbers to bypass the concerns of customers and make them more likely to answer these calls.
A 2018 study estimated that up to 85 billion robocalls were made annually — more than 7 billion each month. That represents a 325% year-on-year increase, and a stark illustration of the huge volume of these troublesome robocalls.
Robocalls around the world
Spam robocalls are a persistent problem in markets around the globe. The 2018 study reveals the remarkable penetration of these scam calls in major markets.
Users in Spain received the highest scam call volume, with robocalls making up almost one-quarter (24%) of all calls. That adds up to 9 monthly spam calls per user. The United Kingdom follows close behind, with 7 calls per user, and robocalls accounting for 22% of calls. France and Italy also evidenced scam call rates with robocalls making up more than one-fifth of total call volume.
From Australia to Argentina, France to the US, robocalls are shown to be a persistent and pervasive problem for operators and their customers.
While some might discount robocalls as frustrating but harmless spam, that sadly couldn’t be further from the truth. These calls are often designed as mass-fraud attempts, tricking users into actions that lead to very real personal costs.
As well as exposing customers to financial loss from fraud, robocalls have a significant impact on the reputation of communication service providers (CSPs). These operators face personal reputational risk as customers become increasingly frustrated by such call attempts, often blaming CSPs who are themselves struggling to stem the tide of scam calls.
A recent study by North Carolina State University, USA, further revealed the threats emerging from these robocall strategies by fraudsters. Over the course of an 11-month study, more than 66,000 phone lines established to track this threat were bombarded by almost 1.5 million robocalls.
The calls predominantly used fake spoofed scam phone numbers that mimic real numbers. In cases where that call number correlated to an individual’s genuine phone number, the authentic user could find themself in a ‘storm’ of missed calls and call responses by victims that left their phone virtually unusable for several days.
The two major fraud campaigns identified as targeting users during this study also showed the real threat such calls can pose. The highest volume of calls by far were from a fraud campaign to target people through a social security scam, potentially causing significant financial distress to customers.
The findings of the North Carolina State University study reinforce the 2018 study, showing that customers receiving robocalls are at risk of bank account scams, credit card scams, wangiri scams, and more. In this environment, the question of how to stop scam calls is more important than ever.
Stopping robocalls is a priority for both CSPs and their customers. Yet the question of how to stop scam calls using increasingly sophisticated automation techniques by fraudsters remains a challenge. Neural Technologies’ new Scam Mitigation Solution is designed to tackle that threat.
“In the US alone, there were 22.8 billion robocalls in the first half of 2020. Similar risks are evident in major regions such as APAC, Europe, and around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has also triggered new threats from scammers, targeting call receivers using fake caller identities and unknown numbers,” said Ang Liang, Chief Operations Officer at Neural Technologies, discussing the company’s latest solution.
Neural Technologies’ advanced Scam Call Mitigation Solution uses a multi-layered detection approach to detect and proactively protect against scam calls before they are received by customers. It includes policy and rules analysis, call behavior analytics using artificial intelligence and machine learning models, alongside a profiling and rules engine and call blocking rules.
This multi-layered approach means CSPs can leverage a solution which actively tackles scam calls before they penetrate to customers, eliminating reputational damage and removing the need to reactively attempt to tackle the impacts of fraud. It operates a system which automatically detects, tags, and blocks scam calls, eliminating the threat in near-real-time.
Continued audit analysis is also employed to detect the ongoing effectiveness of the Scam Call Mitigation Solution, ensuring that the machine learning rules are constantly adapting to identify and tackle emerging fraud patterns and threats by fraudsters.
With billions of scam robocalls targeting customers around the world, it’s imperative that CSPs act now to proactively eliminate this threat. That means a safer environment for customers, and a protected ecosystem that reduces reputational and revenue threats to operators.