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Hiya Finds 86% Growth in Fraud and Nuisance Calls in the UK

Hiya, the industry leader in fraud and nuisance call protection, has seen significant growth in spam calls in the UK grow over the past year as people received an average of 11 spam calls per month in 2019. According to Hiya’s UK State of the Call report, total spam calls in the UK grew to 7.3 billion last year, up 86% compared to the previous year. 

To view the latest state of the call data, visit

Below are some key findings from our recent report, which includes data surrounding fraud and nuisance calls: 

Most popular phone scams: 

Phone scammers use various techniques when calling their victims. According to Hiya’s data, the most common types of scams that fraudsters are using to target UK residents include: 

  • The Coronavirus Scam: As the global pandemic has grown over the past two months, so have coronavirus-themed scams. In recent weeks, scams selling fake health insurance, home sanitation services, and even products that claim to cure the virus have soared by 1,544% across the globe. The worst-hit areas in the UK include: London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, and Newcastle.
  • The Wangiri “One-Ring” Scam: Originating from the West African Atlantic Coast, seconds before a victim can pick up the call, the culprit hangs up. In some instances, scammers will leave a message urging the victim to call a number to either receive a so-called raffle prize or find out about a sick relative. Victims who call back are connected to an international hotline charging high per-minute prices. 
  • The Bank Scam: Disguising themselves as official representatives of banks across the UK, scammers are requesting sensitive information or items from victims that will allow them to access the victim’s bank account.
  • The Tech Support Scam: Scammers target older people by notifying them that there is a problem with their computer which can be fixed for a fee.
  • The HMRC Scam: Residents in the UK are receiving calls from representatives claiming they are from HMRC and that there has been an issue with their tax refund or unpaid tax bill.

Top Areas Targeted by Scammers: 

To help UK residents better identify fraud and nuisance calls, the top areas in the UK targeted by spammers include: 

  1. 20 (London)
  2. 24 (Portsmouth) 
  3. 23 (Southampton) 
  4. 28 (Northern Ireland) 
  5. 1223 (Cambridge) 
  6. 161 (Manchester) 
  7. 115 (Nottingham) 

Newest Area Code of the Quarter: 24 (Portsmouth, UK) 

Citizens of Portsmouth are being contacted by cold-callers who are falsely claiming to be from Citizens Advice to scam people out of their money. The caller asks if a person needs advice on debt or money issues. They then ask for the person’s bank details so they could supposedly help clear their debts and offer other financial advice. 

Staying Safe: 

To mitigate the risk of scam calls, you should not answer or return calls if you do not know the number and you should only make a payment through a bank or online at a government department’s website. For more tips on how to avoid these calls and what to do if you answer them, check out Hiya’s blog post here

Hiya provides a valuable solution by helping consumers determine whether or not to pick up the phone. This includes identifying legitimate numbers by name as well as identifying and blocking known spam and scam numbers. Hiya provides an industry-first solution available on both its iOS and Android apps to protect consumers from robocalls and other phone scams.

For more details from the State of the Call Report, including top unwanted call categories, top phone scams, top area codes targeted by spammers, and more, please download the current report.

Author Mike Ferris