16% of UK consumers fell victim to phone scams in 2023, costing them on average £634

Hiya, the global leader in voice security, has published its 2024 State of the Call report, a global study of the trends shaping the voice calling industry. It has revealed that 16% of UK consumers have reported losing money to a phone scam in 2023. On average, those who were successfully scammed lost £634 ($798). The average amount lost by consumers globally was £1,792 ($2,257), with consumers in Germany losing £3686 ($4,649). 

Consumers and businesses consistently identify voice as their preferred method of communication in a variety of circumstances due to the efficiency, reliability, and human touch that only voice calls can deliver. However, voice and fraud are eroding trust in this form of communication. In the UK in 2023, consumers received on average four scam calls each month, totalling nine minutes per week (447 minutes per year) screening unwanted calls.

Hiya analysed over 221 billion phone calls from 2023 and surveyed 12,000 consumers, 1,800 workers and 600 security and IT professionals. Respondents were based in the United Kingdom, the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and Spain. Here are the five most significant global trends from the research:

Trend #1: Consumers and businesses continue to prioritise voice calls

Consumers in 2023 preferred voice calls over email or text by a wide margin, especially when communicating about sensitive information or important business decisions. For example, 36% of consumers said they prefer voice when engaging with healthcare providers, 33% prefer voice for bank/lender communications, and 32% opted for voice when talking to credit card companies. Regarding business operations, 66% of companies said voice calls were “essential” or “very important” to achieving their goals, such as making sales. Nevertheless, 44% of companies reported ongoing efforts to diversify communication channels across email, chat, and social media.

Trend #2: Spam and fraud calls are a major problem that is only getting worse

Hiya’s data shows that spam and fraud calls are getting worse. In 2023, more than 28% of the 46.75 billion unknown calls analysed by Hiya were spam or fraud, compared to 24% in 2022. Despite this trend, few consumers are using apps designed to enhance call protection. Only about one-third of consumers have downloaded phone fraud prevention apps, and 59% said they would be unwilling to pay extra for protection.

Trend #3: The financial cost of spam and fraud calls is also increasing

The impact of spam and fraud calls on consumers amounts to much more than mere annoyance. They’re also losing money – and the financial cost has grown significantly over the past year. Sixteen per cent of consumers surveyed by Hiya said they lost money to a phone scam in the past year, and the numbers are higher in Germany (19%) and France (18%). Unwanted calls are also wasting consumers’ time. On average, consumers report spending nine minutes each week – or more than 7.6 hours per year – screening unwanted calls. Faced with the persistent scourge of unwanted calls, 11% of consumers said they have switched carriers in a bid to improve their call experience. Another 27% are considering switching.

Trend #4: Businesses likewise report growing concerns about the threat that spam and fraud calls pose to their operations, reputations and bottom line

Previous State of the Call reports found that businesses struggled to reach consumers and prospects because their calls were either labelled as spam or fraud, or were unidentified. The latest data shows that this issue remains a serious challenge for organisations: 46% of unidentified calls go unanswered – even when legitimate businesses are calling. Beyond the challenge of being unable to reach consumers using voice, businesses are also suffering reputational harm caused by scammers who impersonate their companies when trying to defraud consumers. Thirty-three per cent of business workers said scammers used their company name in calls, and 25% said their phone numbers have been hijacked or spoofed by scammers.

Trend #5: Solutions that improve call identity are essential to mitigating spam and fraud. Call protection is important, too, particularly for businesses.

The key to solving the challenges described above is to implement better call identity and protection, making it easier for consumers to trust and answer calls – as 77% of consumers report they are more likely to answer a call if they know who is calling. Additionally, business workers agree (31%) that adding identity is the most effective way to increase call answer rates.

“Ninety-two per cent of consumers believe unidentified calls are fraudulent,” said Kush Parikh, President of Hiya. “As a result, nearly half of such calls go unanswered. In the case of the other half of unidentified calls – those that consumers do pick up – recipients typically only answer reluctantly, due to concerns that it may be a call they can’t miss. This erosion of trust is not just a minor inconvenience; it’s a significant barrier to effective and secure interactions between businesses and their customers, not to mention friends and family.”

To view the complete Hiya 2023 State of the Call report, go to hiya.com/state-of-the-call.

Recent Posts