TNS Survey: Americans Now Receive 200 Million Unwanted Robocalls per Day

Despite onslaught of robocalls, only 12% of calls from Tier-1 carriers considered ‘high risk’

RESTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While the top six U.S. carriers (AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) account for 70% of total call volume, only 12% of high risk (scam/fraud) robocalls originate from numbers owned by these Tier-1 carriers – according to the 2019 First Half Robocall Investigation Report released today by Transaction Network Services (TNS). The data suggest that while top carriers are making inroads in the fight against robocalls, VoIP providers and smaller regional carriers need to take more aggressive action as bad actors shift focus to their networks.

The TNS 2019 Robocall Investigation Report is a bi-annual update of key robocall trends, analyzing a billion daily call events across hundreds of carriers. The report looks at data for high risk robocalls (scam/fraudulent calls which attempt to acquire call recipient personal information and/or money) as well as nuisance robocalls (which are not of malicious intent or negligent non-compliance).

According to this report, nearly 30% of all U.S. calls were negative (nuisance, scam or fraud calls) in the first six months of the year, resulting in 200 million unwanted calls per day. Additional key findings from the report:

  • Nuisance calls increasing at a faster rate than high-risk calls. Nuisance calls increased 38% from the third quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019, while high-risk calls grew only 28% over that period.
  • Robocall hijacking of mobile numbers has more than doubled. One in 1,700 mobile numbers are being hijacked by robocall spoofers every month, more than double last year’s rate of one in 4,000 mobile numbers. As a result, 2.5% of people who have had their number hijacked have disconnected their phone number.
  • Robocallers may shift focus to smaller, regional carrier networks. The top six U.S. carriers represent 70% of total calls for the first half of 2019 but only 12% of high-risk calls are from numbers owned by these carriers.
  • Robocallers shift from spoofing VoIP numbers to toll-free numbers. While the share of VoIP number spoofing dropped, the percentage of calls originating from toll-free numbers more than doubled from 12% last year to 25% today. In fact, over eight in 10 calls from the top 10 toll-free numbers are perceived as nuisance or high-risk – a challenge to leading brands whose legitimate numbers are being spoofed in an attempt to trick consumers.
  • Neighbor spoofing and snowshoe spamming more sophisticated. Neighbor spoofing now accounts for 25% of all negative calls. Sophisticated spammers are now spoofing calls over several telephone numbers in low volume, and then rapidly churning through them to evade detection. This tactic is known as snowshoe spamming.

“Two hundred million unwanted robocalls per day is a mind-boggling number, but regulatory and policy action – as well as Tier-1 carrier adoption of advanced data analytics and AI solutions such as Call Guardian – are making it more difficult for bad actors to place scam and fraud robocalls,” said Bill Versen, Chief Product Officer at TNS. “However, with top carriers successfully blocking more robocalls, the report suggests the need for diligence as the battlefront may shift to smaller regional and rural carriers further behind on their path to a call authentication framework and utilizing call data analytics.”

TNS Call Guardian, TNS’ industry leading big-data analytics engine, aims to suppress unwanted calls to consumers by applying machine learning to call events, generating insights and reputation to more than 1.5 billion phone numbers. Earlier this year, TNS also launched Call Guardian Authentication Hub, enabling carriers to quickly and economically go-to-market with a call authentication solution that combats illegal spoofing and better protects subscribers from unwanted robocalls.

To receive a copy of the 2019 First Half TNS Robocall Investigation Report, follow this link: https://tnsi.com/forms/tns-robocall-report-september-2019/

About Transaction Network Services

From small rural operators in the US to the largest multi-national carriers, TNS has over 500 operator customers and addresses the full needs of wireless and wireline operators in the US and globally. The TNS Call Guardian robocall detection solution is used by leading US wireless service providers as well as US landline providers and is accessible via numerous types of signaling protocols, can be customized by the individual operator, and is available to all types of service providers, including wireless, VoIP, and TDM wireline. TNS analyzes over 1 billion call events across over 500 operators every single day. For additional information visit here.

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