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Almost half of all mobile calls are scams by 2019, report says

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Report: 20 billion scam calls expected in 2019

Kurt ‘the CyberGuy’ Knutsson tips for stopping unwanted calls.

Almost half of all calls to mobile phones fraudulent in 2019, unless measures are taken to compensate for the increase, according to a new report.

The report of the First Orion, which provides call management and the protection of services for major carriers such as T-Mobile, states there is an alarming spike in fraudulent calls over the past year, zooming from 3.7 percent of the total number of calls in 2017 to 29.2 percent in 2018. That is expected to jump to 44.6 percent in early 2019.

More than 50 billion calls to mobile phone customers in the course of the past 18 months were analysed for the report.

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Spoofing is becoming smarter

Call spoofing – where the original call “spoofed,” or disguised – is still annoying and sophisticated. For example, the “neighborhood” or “community” spoofing disguises the fraudulent calls by matching the area code and the three-digit prefix to your phone number. This increases the likelihood that you answer the call.

“Third-party call blocking apps are largely ineffective when it comes to the detection of the spoof calls because they can only black-list against well-known scam numbers, not legitimate numbers that are currently being hijacked by crooks,” the First Orion said in a statement.

Users of a mobile phone without adequate call blocking or call screening can be daily flooded by fraudulent calls.

Airlines are trying to combat. Verizon, for example, offers a spam-filtering app that can block calls on the basis of the risk level set by the user.

Unfortunately, scammers are ever-changing tactics so it is a “whack a mole” game, trying to avoid the calls, a Verizon spokesman told Fox News. “It is a complicated problem with no simple solutions,” the spokesperson added.

And the problem is also a legal one. “At this moment it is not illegal to spoof another person’s phone number,” Verizon told Fox News in an e-mail. “We support federal legislation that would go after the spammers who these calls.”

The FCC is working to promote measures to combat fraud phone via SHAKING or STIRRING, a standard for the quality of the signature of the phone. The goal is the eradication of counterfeit numbers of the telephone system.

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“An essential element of solving this problem is the authentication—essentially creating a ‘digital fingerprint’ for each call that scammers can not tamper with, or misuse,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in May.

For consumers, this means the number on the Caller id the number that the call actually comes from. This capacity can be operational sometime next year.

First Orion, for its part, is planning to make her CallPrinting technology to the carriers to thwart fraudulent calls later this year.

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