Close To Half Of All Cell Phone Calls Will Be Scams By 2019

stock photo of cell phone scammer
Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock

While receiving calls from scammers may not be anything new for most cell phone users, unfortunately, it looks like the annoyance of calls from unknown numbers is about to get much worse, according to a report from First Orion in PR Newswire, as documented by CNET. First Orion Corp. is a company that specializes in cell phone protection, and they are used by many mobile phone companies, including Sprint, T Mobile, Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS, and Tracfone.

According to the PR Newswire report, First Orion carefully analyzed over 50 billion calls made to tens of millions of mobile subscribers, and they found an alarming number of increased calls that were scams. As PR Newswire documented, First Orion claims that “nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019 unless the industry adopts and implements more effective call protection solutions.”

According to First Orion’s report, in 2017, calls received on cell phones from scammers were 3.7 percent. That number vastly increased to 29.2 percent in 2018, and by early 2019, it’s projected to reach 44.6 percent. The cell phone protection company plans to combat this rapidly growing problem by using its in-network technology, CallPrinting. First Orion says that CallPrinting quickly and accurately identifies new scam methods and prevents fraudulent calls.

Though most people may be unaware, First Orion’s methods have already helped out many cell phone users by giving them a warning that certain calls may be a scam. You may have received some calls listed as “Scam Likely,” and as CNET reported, First Orion is the company behind that technology.

Though there are numerous techniques that scammers use, the most popular method is known as neighborhood spoofing. This method is when a scammer disguises their phone number, displaying a local number on a cell phone user’s caller ID. Third-party call blocking apps only protect consumers from known scam numbers, so these apps would be ineffective with neighborhood spoofing, which is why in-network technology, like CallPrinting, is needed to combat this method.

CEO and First Orion Head Data Scientist Charles D. Morgan spoke about in-network solutions for scam calls, as documented by PR Newswire.

“Year after year, the scam call epidemic bombards consumers at record-breaking levels, surpassing the previous year and scammers increasingly invade our privacy at new extremes. Recently, the FCC joined forces with several technology companies, including First Orion, to find a way to combat these calls, but we still see rampant increases. After working closely with several carriers, we’ve found that in-network solutions that leverage sophisticated data analysis and machine learning are by far the most accurate way to pinpoint the origin of a call and identify it before it reaches your phone.”

While it is alarming that nearly half of all calls made to mobile phones in early 2019 will be scams, users can take some comfort in knowing that companies like First Orion are using adaptive technologies to combat this growing problem.