Jump to content

Under Attack: The True Cost of Spam & Scam Calls in America

Hitesh Raj Bhagat

Recommended Posts

  • Truecaller Team
Hitesh Raj Bhagat

Our latest detailed study of spam and scam in the U.S. reveals some alarming findings

Spam and scam is a growing, global problem. While this report (like many previous) is centred around surveys conducted in the U.S., the stories and statistics will resonate with anyone. Compared to some of the previous U.S. reports, there does seem to be a decline in overall numbers. However, these results reflect both the evolution of criminal communications fraud and the mixed success of regulators, enforcement agencies, and carriers in mitigating ‘robocall’ volumes and consumer financial losses.


While slightly lower numbers this year is encouraging, Americans still suffer a ~$25B annual loss at the average amount of ~$450, impacting 21% of the adult public. Moreover, those defrauded tend to be in the segments who can least afford the loss. Between increasingly sinister social engineering capabilities and leveraging AI tools to shape, script, and deliver fraudulent calls and messages, we believe that in 2024 we will see less large scale robocall campaigns but a market spike in series after series of precision-targeted, deeply contextually relevant and persuasive spearfishing campaigns. These surgical strikes have the potential to be much more effective – even at lower volumes, than the brute force mass out-dialing techniques of the past.

Access the entire survey here: https://tclr.se/3PhMC9Q




Key findings from the 2024 report:

  • Over 56.2 million U.S. Adults were impacted by the spam and scam call epidemic in 2023. 
  • 1 in 4 Americans reported losing an average of $452 to scams, totalling over $25.4 billion.
  • Younger adults ranging from 18-44 years are at three times the risk of older adults. 
  • Seniors are still disproportionately targeted by fraudsters.
  • Black Americans and Hispanic communities were twice as likely to be scammed compared to White Americans. (39%, 30%, respectively vs 15%) 
  • Regulatory and mitigation efforts have helped decrease massive robocall campaigns by 18% YoY.
  • Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being used to make these scam calls and script scam texts, making them sound more realistic and effective. 

The Truecaller U.S. Spam and Scam Report 2024, developed in collaboration with The Harris Poll, provides a comprehensive overview of the current state and impact of spam and scam calls on American consumers. Despite efforts by regulators, enforcement agencies, and carriers to combat the issue through technologies like STIR/SHAKEN and aggressive enforcement against offenders, the problem persists, with Americans still facing substantial financial losses totalling approximately $25.4 billion annually. This reflects the ongoing challenge of mitigating robocall volumes and consumer fraud.

In 2023, there has been a shift in scam tactics, with a move away from large-scale robocall campaigns to more sophisticated, AI-driven spearfishing attacks that are highly targeted and contextually relevant. These precision-targeted campaigns pose a significant threat due to their effectiveness, even at lower volumes, and have the potential to exploit the increased mobile targeting associated with election cycles.

Key findings from the survey reveal that over 56.2 million U.S. adults were affected by spam and scam calls in the past year, with a collective loss of $25.4 billion. The average financial loss per victim was approximately $452. 

Hispanic and Black Americans were twice as likely to lose money to phone scams


There’s also a difference in the kind of scams targeting different ethnicities. Spam calls and text messages targeting White Americans were skewed towards fraudulent delivery updates, vehicles and political communications. Hispanic Americans (30%) received more suspicious communications about student loans vis-a-vis White Americans. In comparison, more Black Americans (24%) were targeted with communications around electronic deals compared to White Americans (17%).  


In particular, vulnerability of younger demographics and the strategies employed by scammers to exploit this group, including multiple victimisations and leveraging the relatively lower guard of younger individuals against unsolicited calls and messages.

When it comes to age and gender disparities in scam victimisation, younger adults (18-44 years) being three times more at risk than older adults, and communities of color, particularly Black and Hispanic Americans, being disproportionately targeted and affected by these scams.

Scam Targeting Increases by Age

Young adults are still losing a lot of money to scams.


Interestingly, the report also sheds light on the ethnic and gender divides in scam targeting and victimisation, with notable differences in the types of scams, frequency of targeting, and financial losses among different racial groups and between men and women. It appears that spam and scam calls are not only a financial burden but also contribute to a trust deficit in phone-based communications, affecting the fundamental way individuals interact with calls and messages.

Find out which U.S. state as the most spam calls - from our monthly U.S. Spam and Scam scorecard. 

Our Text Inboxes Are Getting Noisy & Cluttered


The societal impact of spam calls extends beyond financial loss, creating significant disruptions in communication and leading to missed important calls due to mistrust of unknown numbers. This growing communication gap is exacerbated by the widespread fear of AI-generated scam calls, with a notable portion of the population expressing concern over these advancements in scam tactics.


To counteract these issues, advocate for increased awareness and adoption of tools like spam blockers, and caller ID apps, which can help rebuild trust in phone communications. Truecaller is a solution in this fight against spam and scam calls. Our community-led approach combined with advanced machine learning and AI technologies to offer the best protection for Americans, and people around the world.


The Truecaller Way: How to Best Prevent Spam and Being Scammed
At Truecaller, we're proud to offer a spam-blocking solution we consider unparalleled. Our approach combines the robustness of a community-driven system with the sophistication of advanced machine learning algorithms, ensuring superior protection for users globally. Experience has taught us that scammers and spammers are incredibly adept at navigating around new regulations and laws. This adaptability means there's no simple shortcut to eliminating scams. However, by leveraging the collective strength of a community like Truecaller's, we believe we can offer a formidable defence against these unwanted intrusions.

While there is no silver bullet, here is a list of defences against communications fraud

  • Download a trusted Caller ID application like Truecaller and do not respond to calls and SMS that are marked as Spam and Fraud by the community. Make sure to only download the app from trusted sources: Google Play Store, Apple App Store or from links placed on Truecaller’s website.
  • Phone and SMS scams will typically try to add some urgency to get you to respond without thinking. Take your time and verify the sender and information before responding.
  • Stay aware of the most common types of scams in the U.S., as updated regularly by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) here.
  • Do not click on unknown links that you receive via SMS. Especially if it is related to financial matters. If in doubt, it is better to call the financial institution that the SMS is from or visit their website directly instead of clicking on the SMS link.
  • Delete suspicious SMS and emails immediately to avoid any spyware and fraud.
  • Never share sensitive information like your Social Security, user IDs or usernames, passwords, credit card numbers or any other financial information over a phone call or SMS. Bank officials, financial institutions or regulators will never ask you for this information.
  • Never download mobile applications from unverified and unknown sources - especially not from a link you get or if someone calls you and asks you to download something.
  • Do not fall for offers made by people who claim to represent a company - especially if they are calling from personal phone numbers.

If You or Someone You Know Is Affected by Scam, Here’s What to do

  • Report it to your local police or Sheriff’s office.
  • File a complaint with the  Federal Trade Commission.  
  • Visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Scams and Safety page on reporting suspicious activities online. 
  • Advise them to prevent future incidents by downloading an app like Truecaller. 

Methodology for this survey

The Scam Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller between January 9-11, 2024, among 2,074 adults ages 18, among whom 420 lost money due to a phone scam in the past 12 months. The Spam Survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Truecaller between January 10-12, 2024, among 2,080 adults ages 18. Data were weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, household income, and political party affiliation, to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest. All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

From the looks of it, this scourge is more rampant (frequency and severity) in the USA than in my native Nigeria.

Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

Under Attack: The True Cost of Spam & Scam Calls

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

Bullu tick 

Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

  • Truecaller Team
22 hours ago, Ahmad Dan-Hamidu said:

From the looks of it, this scourge is more rampant (frequency and severity) in the USA than in my native Nigeria.

You never know unless a survey is done! We can't just go by gut feeling!

Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

You're right about that; one's gotta be sure 'cos "if you can't measure it, then you can't manage it 👍🏾."

Edited by Ahmad Dan-Hamidu
Typo (spelling)
Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

  • 3 weeks later...

I have all the primium membership 

Link to comment
Share on other sites
  • Share on WhatsApp

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Our picks

    • Truecaller is proud to announce a partnership with Microsoft to utilize the new Personal Voice technology from Microsoft Azure AI Speech. Truecaller’s AI Assistant, first introduced Sep 2022, already incorporates a multitude of AI technologies that can automatically answer phone calls for you, screen calls, take messages, respond on your behalf, or record the call for your later viewing.   
      • 13 replies
    • Hello, TrueTalks Community!
      Understanding Truecaller's Verified Badge
      In today's digital landscape, where communication is increasingly virtual, establishing trust and authenticity is paramount. A Verified Badge serves as a symbol of trust, confirming the authenticity of a user and fostering a sense of confidence among its user base.
      The Significance of the Verified Badge
      The Verified Badge is a symbol of trustworthiness within the Truecaller community. When a user sets up a profile using their genuine name, the platform's intelligent algorithms spring into action. Truecaller carefully assesses the provided information, ensuring its alignment with stringent verification criteria. If the name meets these standards, the user is rewarded with the coveted Verified Badge.
      Enhancing the user experience
      When a call is received or a number is searched, the presence of the Verified Badge immediately signals to other users that the displayed name is authentic. This transparency fosters a sense of trust and security, empowering individuals to confidently engage in communication, knowing that the identity on the other end is legitimate.

      Steps to start your verification process on Truecaller
      1. Create your Truecaller profile using your actual name.
      2. Truecaller systems will determine if your name qualifies for the Verified badge.
      3. If you previously used a fake name or initials, update your profile with your real name to be considered for verification.
      4. Link your Google account with Truecaller.
      5. Connecting your Google account enhances our ability to verify your name accurately, increasing your chances of receiving the Verified Badge. Additionally, the badge is displayed on your profile based on suggested names. Ensure your profile information remains up-to-date for the best chance of verification!
      Note: Verified Badge do not prevent from getting marked as spam.
      • 102 replies
    • In today’s digital age, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it crucial for us to stay informed and vigilant. At Truecaller, we are committed to helping our community stay safe from scams. In this thread, we will highlight some of the top scams you should be aware of, and we invite you to share your personal experiences with scams. By sharing our stories, we can help each other stay protected.
      Top Scams to Watch Out For:
      • 31 replies
    • Recording your phone calls is now seamless using Truecaller's Call Recording feature on Android devices. It's essential to recall every aspect, whether during a business discussion or a personal chat. Call recording enables you to achieve precisely this.
      Truecaller's call recording feature is completely safe and secure. After a call is recorded and transferred to your device, Truecaller no longer has access to the recording.
      Download Truecaller App  
      Upgrade to the premium version to use the call recording feature.
      How does the call recording function work?
      1.  Begin the call and hit the recording button.
      2. After the call is answered, there will be a quick 3-second countdown. During this interval, the recipient is placed on hold to initiate the recording process, which begins immediately following this period.

      How to Find and Manage Your Recordings
      All your recorded calls are stored inside the Truecaller app. Once a call concludes or you halt the recording, you have the convenience of accessing, listening to, sharing, renaming, or deleting your recordings straight from the app. Additionally, there's an option to save your recordings to your Google Drive for backup.

      Enhanced Features for an Improved Experience
      Call Recording goes beyond simple recording to elevate your experience:
      - Automatically Generated Call Subject: Simplify the management of your recordings.
      - Instant Conversation Summaries: Get rapid overviews of your discussions for quick memory refresh.
      - AI-Driven Transcriptions: Access written versions of your talks for thorough review.
      Benefits of Using Call Recording:
      - Capture Every Detail: Guarantee that key elements of your discussions are recorded.
      - Maintain Attention: Participate in calls without the distraction of taking notes.
      - Prevent Miscommunications: Review calls to clear up any misunderstandings.
      Truecaller's Call Recording functionality for Android devices offers a robust solution for improving your call management. Suitable for both business and personal applications, it guarantees that every significant conversation is recorded and preserved. Begin enjoying a more structured and effective communication journey today.
      • 30 replies
  • Create New...