Firm warns that almost half of all U.S. calls could be scams by 2019

Feel as if you’re constantly fending off scam calls to your mobile? You’re not alone — according to a report from call and data provider First Orion, the number of scam calls being made to U.S. phones is on the rise and it could get even worse in 2019.

According to the report, scam calls made up just 3.7 percent of all U.S. mobile traffic in 2017, but made a huge jump to 29.2 percent in 2018. The bad news doesn’t stop there either — First Orion predicts that if nothing is done to quell the rising tide of spam and scam phone calls, that percentage could rise as high as 44.6 percent in 2019. That means that almost half of all U.S. phone calls could cause you to groan and hang up — or worse — succeed in scamming your family or friends.

First Orion is hoping that the scary figures could help to push the industry into taking action and implement more robust measures against nuisance calls. First Orion is advocating its own software solution, named CallPrinting, that it claims will help to cut down on the number of calls, and can help to combat new techniques used by the scammers.

Many scammers now use a method known as “neighborhood spoofing”, which hijacks a local area code to try and fool the receiver into taking a call. While third-party call blocking apps sometimes aren’t able to react to this tactic, First Orion claims that its CallPrinting software is able to protect against such spoofing by making “real-time decisions on incoming calls, intelligent analysis of phone call and network-wide data”, and using machine learning to continuously update its protection.

But while an increase of scam calls is scary, does that increased percentage say more about the evolving marketplace than it initially seems? With a multitude of messaging apps available, younger generations have fewer and fewer reasons to rely on the humble phone call to check up on family members, organize themselves, or just have an idle chat. The BBC recently reported that the number of phone calls made in the U.K. dropped for the first time ever in 2017 — and this is a trend that could continue.

For now, though, make sure you stay protected from scam calls, and never offer information over the phone unless you’re absolutely sure you know who called.

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