NumberCop (www.numbercop.com), a mobile security company dedicated to combating phone spam, has announced research findings that reveal the amount of spam calls arriving on mobile phones is increasing on a daily basis.
Research among NumberCop’s phone-spam-index for 5,000 subscribers in four countries (US, CA, UK, AU) from January to July 2013 shows that the most prevalent form of reported phone spam are sales agent-based spam calls (43%), spam text messages (11%) and automated robocalls (9%). Phishing calls seeking personal or financial details and other fraudulent calls, such as phone scams, have risen to 27%, an increase of 170% compared to 2008 when NumberCop’s phone spam tracking started.
The research also finds that phone spam frustrates iPhone users more than Android users. For over 25% of NumberCop’s indexed spam numbers iPhone users reported phone spam up to 3 times more frequently than Android users.
Among its Android user base Numbercop blocks on average, one spam call per day, per user. Phone spammers rarely leave voice messages; instead calls are automatically repeated leading to much higher phone spam nuisance levels on an individual basis. To prevent consumers from memorizing and reporting specific numbers, phone spammers frequently update their caller or sender ID, often on a weekly basis.
More than half (54%) of NumberCop’s phone spam complaints have been associated with banks, credit card companies and debt collectors. Other frequently reported categories include commercial services (10%), phone spamming websites (5%), account notifications (4%), lotteries, surveys and insurance companies.
The high activity of phone solicitation among financial institutions has attracted cyber criminals to run phone scams and ID Theft via phone calls (vishing) and text messages (smishing). 27% of NumberCop’s blocked calls and messages have been from known phishing numbers, prompting users to provide personal or financial details via the phone.
Phone users can avoid phone spam, as well as protect their privacy, by following a few best practices. Consumers should:
° Avoid answering or returning calls or text messages from new phone numbers or hidden caller IDs.
° Never provide personal information via phone or text messages unless the identity of the number is verified.
° Seek official contact information from official company websites or customer information before calling back.
° Never disclose personal phone numbers in apps, online, or in retail, esp. avoid sharing phone numbers on social networks, online resumes, classified ads, etc.
° Immediately submit a carrier billing dispute when discovering fraudulent or unknown phone charges.
NumberCop also offers software for iPhone and Android users to help reduce their phone spam nuisance levels. The company’s phone spam protection plans start at US$2.99.