Truecaller, the world’s most used caller ID and spam blocker app, has released its third Insights Report to help deepen the world’s understanding about the impact of spam calls and SMSs globally.
The report revealed that Indonesia has ascended to third position globally in regards to spam calls, a huge jump in ranking compared to last year’s 16th position.
Indonesia continues to be the most spammed market in the South East Asian region, receiving an average of 27.9 spam calls every month, a stark increase from last year’s 8.5 spam calls per month. Calls from banks, financial services, and insurance brokers continue to be the top spammers, totaling around 64% of all spam calls received. Even more concerning, the number of scam calls in Indonesia has more than doubled in the past year, from 10% to 21% – which means that 1 in every 5 spam calls turned out to be a scam.
Having seen several bouts of protests in the country, a lot of scammers used these tumultuous incidents to deceive the general public. One common scam that has been going around lately is the fake hospital/injury call, where someone calls to tell you that a family member or a friend is hospitalised and needs immediate treatment so you need to send them money in order for them to get proper medical attention.
Wangiri fraud is also another common scam that is taking place in Indonesia. The scammer repeatedly leaves missed calls from an international phone number to the victim’s mobile phone. If the victim decides to call back, they’ll likely be routed to an expensive, premium rate service, from which the scammer will profit.
The report also shows Indonesia sitting at the 10th position regarding spam SMSs. On average, Indonesians receive 46 spam SMSs each month. The top three markets affected by spam SMSs are all in Africa: Ethiopia (119), South Africa (114), and Kenya (102).
Indonesia’s neighbouring country Malaysia is the second most spammed nation in South East Asia, and sits at the 19th and 15th spots respectively for spam calls and SMSs. Compared to Indonesia, Malaysians receive an average of only 8.3 spam calls and 24 spam SMSs every month. However, Malaysia records the highest percentage of scam calls in the world. Around 63% of spam calls in Malaysia are fraudulent in nature, mostly related to fake insurance and debt-collecting calls. Other most scammed countries are Australia (60%), Lebanon (49%), and Canada (48%).
“As we continue to see from our report, scams have been increasing dramatically in Indonesia. Smartphones have become such an inseparable part of our daily lives, but scammers use this fact to cheat and deceive people using various social engineering methods. That is why, in Truecaller, we feel very proud to help 420,000 of our daily active users in Indonesia protect themselves from scam calls,” said Kim Fai Kok, Director of Communications at Truecaller.
This year alone, Truecaller has helped identify and block 26 billion spam calls, which shows an increase of 18% compared to last year. The company has also helped identify 116 billion unknown calls and 8.6 billion spam SMSs globally.
“In this era of interconnectedness, our phone number has extensive purposes. Not only to make or receive calls, but we also use it to access applications, log ins, or even connect it to our bank accounts. Thus, now it is more important than ever to protect our phone with an app like Truecaller that can detect unwanted calls, telemarketers, spam, or even potential scams. We are committed to keep innovating and helping our users keep their communication safe and efficient,” said Kok.
The Truecaller Insights Report 2019 was aggregated anonymously from incoming calls that either has been marked as spam by users – or automatically been flagged by Truecaller during the period of 1st January 2019 to 30th October 2019 to understand the monthly average spam rate. As a go-to app for caller ID and spam blocking, Truecaller application has been installed over 500 million times and records over 150 million daily active users around the world.