About 70% of all calls to mobiles from unknown numbers in the first quarter of 2021 are spam calls. Compared to last year, their number increased by 7 percentage points, according to Kaspersky Lab’s calculations for Izvestia.
People began to receive calls from unfamiliar numbers more often due to the fact that they began to use more delivery in the pandemic and are more willing to pick up the phone in the hope of hearing couriers. Fraudsters understand this and use every opportunity to lure money out of people, experts say.
Waiting for the courier
The share of spam calls from all incoming calls from unknown numbers in Russia in January – March 2021 amounted to 70%. This is stated in the anonymized statistics of the Kaspersky Who Calls application (available from Izvestia).
According to preliminary estimates of analysts, in general, in 2020 the share of spam calls was lower – 63%. Most often, in January-March, unwanted calls were received with offers of loans – their share was 46%, as well as from collectors (26.5%). Other common categories include communications and the Internet and medical services. The share of calls with suspicion of fraud also increased from 5.6% to 6.3% compared to the same period in 2020.
– Even after most of the restrictions introduced to combat coronavirus infection were lifted, people continued to actively use various Internet services. For example, many have appreciated the delivery services and often wait for a call from unknown numbers, in particular, from couriers, so they may be more willing to pick up the phone, and sometimes they are even ready to call back themselves. Fraudsters understand this and use every opportunity to lure money out of people, ” explained Vitaly Vorobyov, an analyst at Kaspersky Who Calls.
According to the anonymized statistics of the Yandex application, one of the functions of which is a free automatic caller ID, financial and banking proposals are most often received from unknown persons (in 17% of cases), the corporation said. Other advertising is distributed in 12% of situations, vague negativity comes in 7%, collectors call in 6%, offers from telecoms come in 3% and intrusive polls in 1%.
Each of the mobile operators has their own solutions to combat spam calls. Thanks to the AntiFraud system, VimpelCom (Beeline brand) blocks more than 100 million calls-drops to the operator’s subscriber numbers every month, the company said. The “Who is Calling” service allows you to receive information about an incoming call from an unknown number immediately during a call. In this case, there is no automatic blocking of incoming calls – the subscriber decides whether to answer such a call or not.
Megafon blocks 25-30 million spam calls a week, the operator’s press service said. Free service “I know who is calling” allows the subscriber to see the name of the company or a warning during an incoming call if intrusive calls have been noticed behind the organization. On the Internet portal of the service, you can also check the number from which the call came, see the comments of other subscribers and report the numbers from which spam is received.
MTS detects and blocks about 65,000 calls per hour, the company said. Their number has increased several times compared to last year, the operator’s representative Alexei Merkutov explained to Izvestia. The company operates its own anti-fraud system, which blocks spoofed numbers when an attacker substitutes the bank’s short number and tries to mislead the victim. At MTS, you can activate the Blacklist service and add all spam to it, there is an option “Blocking spam calls” to filter advertising calls, as well as a free and paid version of the “Who is calling” service, which does not block, but can show who belongs to the number.
Tele2 is developing multi-layered protection of customers from voice spam, said the operator’s representative Daria Kolesnikova. Due to the improvement of big data algorithms for recognizing spam, the number of such calls is decreasing quarterly, Tele2 said. The operator will soon have functionality that allows the customer to notify the operator that the call is classified as telephone spam, the company said.
If a client receives a spam call, then he can report this to the contact center through the chat in the Yota application, the press service of the service noted. The company is working with other carriers to prevent such calls, it said.
Last year, Tinkoff, together with the largest mobile operators (Tele2, Megafon, MTS and Tinkoff Mobile), launched the first anti-fraud platform Tinkoff Call Defender to protect against telephone fraud, the bank recalled. It determines the nature of various types and scenarios of fraudulent calls in eight cases out of 10, the developer claims. Any client of the Tinkoff ecosystem can report an unwanted call in the chat of the mobile application or by dialing the hotline.
To combat telephone fraudsters, together with mobile operators, technological solutions have been introduced that do not allow attackers to use the bank’s official phone numbers to call citizens, VTB’s press service said.
The number of spam in 2021 will only increase, predicts Alexander Chernykhov, a leading expert in the Information Security direction of the Krok IT company. This is due to the fact that, on the one hand, the means of communication began to play a critical role, but on the other, the social distance increased, and people became more “atomized” and more susceptible to manipulation. In addition, the number of leaks of personal data, including mobile phones, increased significantly in 2020. This allows fraudsters to gain access to vast databases for calling, moreover, this year we will see much more sophisticated, targeted methods of social engineering, he expects.
Kaspersky Lab reminded that you should never disclose confidential information to third parties, even if they are represented by bank employees, including a one-time code from SMS or push notifications. You should not follow dubious links from messages, they added there, and recommended to install a solution that identifies fraudulent and spam numbers.
If the “employee” of the bank started asking questions in order to find out the data of accounts, cards, SMS codes and other confidential information, you must immediately stop the conversation, since the call is most likely a fraudster, warned the head of the Information Security and Payment Systems Department of the Information and Analytical management of the Association of Russian Banks Gleb Zhizhanov. If there are suspicions about the safety of funds, then it is better to independently call the bank at the number indicated on the official website or in the agreement.