A few weeks ago my colleague Stephen Cobb (knowing my interest in research related to fraud and scams, including phone scams) drew my attention to a section in the *Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January-December 2014 that pointed to a rise in the percentage of fraud complaints about phone scam calls over the period 2012 to 2014. The data concerning ‘Fraud Complaints by Company’s Method of Contacting Consumers’ indicate that the percentage of phone scam complaints rose from 34% in 2012 to 54% in 2014, whereas the percentage of complaints about scam emails dropped from 37% in 2012 to 23% in 2014.
Interestingly, complaints about scams initiated via ‘Internet – Web Sites\Others’ rose from 12% to 15% in 2013 and dropped again to 11% in 2014. Maybe three years isn’t long enough to draw too many conclusions, and in any case the percentage of people who actually report the initial method of contact has dropped over the same period from 55% to 46%. However, one possibility is that the decline in email-related complaints represent at least two factors:
Phone Scams: Increasing Numbers, Wider Scope