The United Kingdom continues to have Europe's highest fraud call rate, at 9.3%. Brits are bombarded by fraudsters impersonating loved ones, Amazon reps, and the country’s tax agency HMRC.
Those are some of the insights from Hiya’s Q2 2023 Global Call Threat Report. The report compares rates of both nuisance and fraud calls in 39 countries around the world. Here are some highlights from the UK section:
- Overall, 27.3% of all incoming calls from non-contacts in the UK are unwanted (either fraud or nuisance calls).
- Of those unwanted calls, 9.3% are fraud.
- Nuisance calls make up 18% of unwanted calls.
In the UK, 18% of calls are nuisance and 9.3% are fraud, for a total spam rate of 27.3%.
Most popular scam calls in the UK
Amazon scams are popular in the UK, as they are in many other countries. Unique to the UK are HMRC scams, which impersonate officials from the UK’s tax service Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The UK is also seeing a rise in scams impersonating family members. There have even been news reports of family member scams using AI-generated voice clones to convince parents their child has been kidnapped and they need to pay a ransom for the child’s return.
Below are the top scams in the UK for Q2 2023:
HMRC – HMRC scams impersonate agents from the UK’s tax agency, Her Majesty’s
Revenue and Customs. Often a robocall will inform the recipient that they are being
investigated for tax evasion or tax fraud by HMRC. There has also been an uptick in scams related to a tax credit for low-income households to help with the cost of living.
Amazon – Since Amazon is an international retailer, it’s not hard for a scammer to happen
upon a victim who has an Amazon account. Amazon impersonators may say that they suspect an unauthorized purchase, or that the credit card linked to the account needs to be updated. Amazon has even issued a warning to UK customers to be on the lookout for imposter scams.
Family – Family member or loved ones scams are on the rise in the UK and other countries. Reports from Hiya users in the UK show that a common tactic is for the fraudster to pretend to be a daughter who just lost her phone (that’s why she’s calling/texting from a different number) and needs to have money sent to her immediately.
Key findings globally
Globally, key findings from the Q2 2023 Global Call Threat Report include:
- Fraud rates increased in 30 of the 39 countries examined in the report.
- Chile leads the world with a spam rate of 56.9%.
- Spain has the highest spam rate in Europe.
- The UK has the highest proportion of fraud calls in Europe.
This is the third quarter in a row that Hiya has published the Global Call Threat Report, which allows for comparison. Data is based on calls traversing Hiya’s voice security network, which includes Samsung Smart Call-enabled devices and Hiya’s mobile app.
Hiya defines spam calls as unwanted calls, both nuisance and fraud, from someone not in an individual’s local address book. Nuisance calls are not illegal, while fraud calls are specifically meant to steal money or personal information.
You can download the report below.