India 9th among top 20 most spammed countries in 2020

New Delhi (IANS) Despite a reduction in the amount of spam calls received, India still made it into the top 10 most spammed countries in 2020, a new Truecaller report said on Tuesday.

In the first three months of the lockdown in India, calls to emergency services spiked by 148 per cent.

Only three years ago, India ranked as the most spammed country in the world. This year, the country is at the ninth spot in the list of 20 most affected countries, topped by Brazil and followed by the US.

“Our data show that the majority of all spam calls in India come from domestic numbers. Strict curfews and lockdowns in India made it much harder for telemarketers to go to work, or utilise the equipment they need to carry out large scale spam campaigns,” the Stockholm-based firm said in a statement.

Overall, the spam trends look very similar to last year in India, with the exception that scam calls in particular increased from 6 per cent to 9 per cent.

“Based on community feedback and internal reports, we have noticed a very particular type of scam in India that seems to gain traction each year. We are talking, of course, about KYC and OTP related scams,” Truecaller said.

The scammers try to hook unsuspecting people using either phone calls or SMS and the tactic is always the same.

“They will try to get you to give up sensitive information about your financials or force you to reveal a secret OTP with the ultimate aim of extracting money from your bank accounts or digital wallets,” Truecaller said.

Globally this year, Truecaller helped its users block and identify 31.3 billion spam calls, which is an increase of 18 per cent compared to last year.

“Furthermore, we have helped identify 145.4 billion unknown calls, a 25 per cent increase compared to last year,” the company claimed.

The Covid-19 pandemic has directly and indirectly affected not only global economies and societies, but also spammer behaviour.

Spam reached its lowest point in April, when strict curfews and lockdowns were implemented worldwide. The overall volume of calls also dipped during this period.

However, in May, spam calls started to pick up again and have been increasing on an average by 9.7 per cent per month.

October, which witnessed a record high in terms of spam calls, was 22.4 per cent higher than the pre-lockdown period.

“Despite various countries re-entering lockdowns in the latter part of 2020, it has not affected global spam rates negatively. If anything, spammers have now adjusted to a Covid world,” the report mentioned.

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