Britons will receive 4 billion spam calls this year

Cold caller concept

The volume of nuisance calls is increasing in the UK, and now the average person receives six ‘nuisance’ calls every month, according to a report.

The research was carried out by Green Smartphones, which describes itself as a sustainability-focused smartphone comparison site, and was designed to ascertain the number of nuisance phone calls (which is a polite way of phrasing it) that people receive in the UK. It estimates that this year there will have been 4.03 billion such calls made.

The number of spam calls, often made with the intention of defrauding the recipient, is apparently on the rise, with 45% of those surveyed noticing an increase in the amount of unsolicited calls they have received this year. The research also estimates the average person now receives 6.04 nuisance calls every month, while 56% of people receive nuisance calls every single week, and 83% of people receive at least one nuisance call a month.

The firm attributes the increase in at least annoying and at worst financially damaging calls to technological advancements are making it easier to make large volumes of calls, including automated robocalls. It claims there are few barriers in place to prevent spammers making illegal phone calls, especially from outside the UK.

“If you keep receiving calls or texts from the same number, block it, and report the number to your landline or mobile provider,” said Tom Paton, founder of Green Smartphones. “Each mobile network has a number you can forward the spammer’s details to, and they’ll investigate it. With your landline, you’ll normally have to fill out an online form on your broadband provider’s website to report the number.”

“The problem is, nuisance callers are quite sophisticated – they’ll often use something called ‘caller ID rotation’, meaning they can call you from different phone numbers, or they might begin calling you from a private number. In this case, on your mobile, you can install an app like TrueCaller, which has a database of spam phone numbers that incoming calls are screened against. And on your landline, you can contact your broadband provider and get them to turn on call screening – with BT, this service is called ‘BT Call Protect’ for example. Normally, call screening is free, but how it works depends on the company you’re with.”

This week UK comms regulator Ofcom introduced new rules compelling operators to identify and block calls that could be scams. By its estimations, three quarters of UK adults received at least one suspicious call and/or text message and/or app message on their landline and/or mobile phone in the three months up to August 2022 – and of those 700,000 acted upon the instructions of the scammers and were defrauded in some way.

As the report by Green Smartphones alludes to, there appears to be a similar dynamic in the area of spam calling to that of the general cybersecurity space – in that there is a constant arms race between criminals looking to deploy new tech to scam people out of money, and the firms tasked with stopping them doing so. If there is indeed such a prominent rise in the number of these incidents occurring, resulting in more and more successful rip offs, its only right Ofcom puts some pressure on the telco industry to try and do a better job of shoring up its defences.


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