The voice call still reigns supreme for sales. That is one of the key takeaways from Hiya’s midyear check-in, the State of the Call for Sales 2022. This year included over 150B calls analyzed and 1,800 businesses surveyed; these decision-making telecommunications organizations show that they prefer the voice call time and time again. Over a third (34%) of professionals surveyed selected voice as the method, they use most often to connect to current and prospective customers.
“They called and impersonated a recruiter; they asked for the last 4 digits of my social security number and date of birth. Then they attempted to push me into signing a contract. He said the job was based in New Jersey, but the call came from Washington. I wasn’t convinced”
Social Security, as a program, is a paycheck tax that you pay for a minimum of 10 years before you can claim restitution. It can be frustrating to see a chunk of your paycheck go into Social Security each week, but it is a program meant to provide for your future. Scammers and bad actors are aware of the importance of this government system and will do whatever it takes to take advantage of it.
Social Security Scam Popularity
The Social Security scam is most popular during the tax season. The highest peak of distinct Social Security scam calls was seen in March 2021; 67,000 calls were captured during this particular spike. However, the highest spike in overall potential scam calls was in September 2022. This spiked reached about 10.5M calls; about .7% of overall likely calls were categorized as social security scams.
Trends and Varieties
The two main varieties of Social Security scams are those based on the Social Security program and those based on trying to attain your identity through your SSN. General number-based Social Security scams make up the majority of these calls; out of the 67,000 distinct scam calls only about 7,000 were specifically targeting the number itself.
Scammers will, however, use multiple different strategies to steal your identity:
- Shipping issues with one of your packages, and they need your SSN to confirm it is you.
- Customs will call, claiming there are problems with a recent trip you took and/or luggage you carried; they’ll ask for your SSN to “rectify” the situation.
- Social Security Offices can call claiming you are missing out on government benefits.
“They claimed to be an officer from customs advising me that a package of mine was seized and an investigation was taking place. They proceeded to ask for my social security number to confirm my identity. I did not provide him with that information.”
Remember that, according to the FTC, no legit organization will ever call you out of the blue asking for money or your SSN. Scammers can manipulate and spoof caller ID; it is of the utmost importance to invest in a secure branded caller ID solution to protect your customers. Hiya Connect brands caller ID with a logo, call reason, and full name- everything you need to secure your reputation and voice channel.
Inflation and economic instability could be the cause of an increase in scam calls. Fraudsters know that these times are uncertain and will use this vulnerability to their advantage. The consistent upward trend from the end of the summer to the current day shows that the Social Security scam is tied directly to the economy.
“They keep asking for information regarding student loan debt. I happen to have student loans, so these calls can be particularly anxiety-inducing. I’ve attempted to have my number and name removed from their call list, but they keep hounding me for my SSN, DOB, and other personal information.”
Pickup Rate and Call Duration
Pickup rate and call duration are key indicators of call quality; a quality call for scammers is bad news for you and your customers. During the summer of 2022, the Social Security scam had a pickup rate of approximately 20% for uncertain/possible scam calls. There was a confirmed pickup rate of .4% of the 10.5M calls captured from July 2022 to October 2022. That is over 40,000 answered social security scam calls in approximately 4 months.
Attempted scam calls typically have a base call duration of about a minute; this is most likely attributed to customers either ignoring the call or letting it go to voice mail. However, when the scammer successfully connects with one of your customers, they will hold them on the call for quite a while. The average duration of a successfully answered call can last over 6 minutes (395 seconds). This could be attributed to the importance of the information that the scammer is trying to ascertain.
Anyone would be a little nervous when they get a call saying their identity is at risk- it makes sense that they would stay on the call to ask questions. The duration could also be attributed to the amount of information that the scammers are looking for like SSN, DOB, address, etc.; to make the scam more convincing they need to seem as legitimate as possible.
How to Fight Back Against Scam Calls
While these scam techniques can prove to be highly effective, Hiya offers a variety of solutions to fight back.
Carriers can protect their customers from phone scams by adding Hiya Protect, which blocks or labels spam and scam calls with high accuracy, without blocking essential calls. It is used by carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and network providers looking to create a differentiated voice offering and increase customer satisfaction. Not only does it block or label known spam numbers, but Adaptive AI identifies the patterns of spammers and blocks spam campaigns in their earliest stages.
Enterprises can help their customers feel safe answering the phone by adding Hiya Connect, which enables businesses to display their company name, logo, and reason for the call on the recipient’s mobile phone. Branded caller ID identifies who is calling so customers will not be afraid to answer their phones.
Individuals can check with their phone carrier to see if it offers spam/scam-blocking capabilities. If not, ask your carrier to consider adding Hiya Protect.