If it seems like a large portion of all the calls you receive are spam, it’s true. According to software company Hiya(Opens in a new window), phone spam for the US accounts for 25.73% of calls. Of that, 25% of calls are nuisance nonsense and the other 0.73% are fraud attempts.

That number grew when Hiya looked at spam calls for the first quarter of 2023. Fraud calls went up to 1.8%, or 5.26 million. Nuisance calls? 281 million.


(Credit: Hiya)

Hiya has a vested interest in reporting these kinds of numbers: It offers software and services for stopping spam, and we mention the company as a solution in both How to Block Robocalls and Spam Calls and How to Block Robotexts and Spam Messages.

The numbers cited here—part of Hiya’s Q1 2023 Global Call Threat Report—come from the 6.7 billion spam calls it saw worldwide in those three months on its Hiya Voice Security Network, which is used in the Samsung Smart Call(Opens in a new window) feature to prevent spam on Galaxy phones. Thanks in part to that service, Hiya can claim over 400 million active users monthly.

The good news is that spam rates are steady. This is only Hiya’s second such report, and the numbers didn’t change much from Q4 2022. In fact, spam call numbers were a bit lower in Q1 because call volume spiked during the holidays.

Worldwide, Hiya flagged 6.7 billion spam calls for Q1 2023. The number peaked in the week of Feb. 6, but most weeks held steady at 500 million.

The top fraud phone scams in the US involved Medicare (don’t give out your Medicare number), insurance (they’ll gladly sell you a fake policy for home, auto, medical, or life), and mortgages (the calls may come from “legit” telemarketers but are tagged as spam by receivers because, well, who wants that?).

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(Credit: Hiya)

While the US has to deal with plenty of spam, other countries have it far worse. Canada, for example, receives half the spam as the US but a much higher percentage of fraud calls at 6.3%—8.6 times worse. Fraudsters call Canadians about air duct cleaning and cryptocurrency investment, and many target immigrants and ethnic groups.

That’s nothing compared to the fraud calls in Argentina (29%), Mexico (15%), and Brazil (7.1%). The US is also doing better with overall spam calls compared with those countries and Chile, where 54.9% of its calls pegged as unwanted spam.


(Credit: Hiya)

Hiya’s report says the UK has the highest fraud rate in Europe—and the second most prevalent type of fraud calls are from people pretending to sell mobile phones and cellular contracts from the retailer Currys PC World. The highest spam rate overall for Europe is claimed by Spain, at 46.3%. For more on the spam problems in Europe and Asia/Pacific, with many country-by-country breakdowns, read the full report at Hiya(Opens in a new window).

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