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Scam of the Month: The Eavesdropping Scam

You’ve likely read about the Wangiri scam, and I’m sure someone has contacted you about your “car’s extended warranty”. But there’s a new scam that’s been gaining popularity that you likely haven’t heard of. The Eavesdropping Scam started just this year and has been tricking folks all over the world into giving away personal information. This scam’s level of sophistication makes it all the more threatening. An automated service will call and leave a message as though they are talking to someone else about you. Although most people typically don't answer unknown numbers, these voicemails can be quite enticing.

Scammers are getting smarter; with AI and complex personal messaging, these spoof calls are more intrusive than ever. The evolution of call technology has only served to bolster these scammer’s arsenals. Arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to combat these cons. 

To pull off the Eavesdropping Scam the scammer first needs to call from an unknown number; 79% of unknown calls go unanswered, which these bad actors know, so they are prepared to leave a voicemail. The message they leave is a recording of a conversation about the victim. The scammer will often say things like, “I know, I know. I’m trying to get in touch with them right now!” to ensure a callback. When you do call back, they will begin to you through a series of fraudulent offerings. These scams avoid detection by keeping their messages personal and using legitimate numbers.

Hiya’s team of data experts has recently noticed a rapid spike in the use of this particular scam. Although only introduced in 2022 this sophisticated scam quickly became a widespread practice.  According to data from Hiya’s honeypot––a collection of unallocated phone numbers owned by Hiya in order to observe and trap scammers––the scam accounted for more than 30% of all calls at its peak. This allowed the team to flag an additional 90% of these phony voicemails from Day 1. Our Real-Time Intelligence Services enable Hiya to identify scams based on their tactics from the very first call.

Overhearing details about yourself left on an accidental voicemail may seem critically important, but it is most likely a scam. The Eavesdropping Scam is advanced, but with the right support and technology, these scams can be identified. Adaptive AI allows for the quick flagging of specific tactics no matter how natural they may sound. Hiya is dedicated to securing the voice channel to support the flow of business and prevent customer manipulation.

How to Fight Back Against Scam Calls

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 phone carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and network providers who are looking to create a differentiated voice offering and increase customer satisfaction.

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.

Author Katie DeMatteis

Senior Marketing Manager