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Study Shows Phone Scammers Weaponize Your Stolen Data

March 1, 2020
A recent consumer survey shows scammers are using new strategies to take advantage of consumers. We found that the most notable trend is enterprise spoofing, which is when scammers utilize […]

A recent consumer survey shows scammers are using new strategies to take advantage of consumers. We found that the most notable trend is enterprise spoofing, which is when scammers utilize stolen data, obtained from the countless data breaches, to impersonate trusted businesses. (First Orion surveyed 1,000 mobile phone users in the US.)

Over 15%of those surveyed received a personalized scam call. Of those who experienced financial loss, 75% said the criminal knew some personal information about them prior to the call. Even though many people may not answer unknown numbers, it only takes 1 personalized scam call for consumers to be extorted.

In the inaugural 2018 Scam Call Trends and Projections Report, we predicted that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019. This year the prediction rang true. More than half (52%) of consumers said they receive more scam calls than legitimate calls every day.

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Scammers spoof the organization’s Caller ID and trick consumers into thinking the call is legitimate.

Scam calls are often unpleasant interactions and end up damaging the impersonated company’s reputation.

Scammers who claim to work for charities are also effectively targeting consumers.

• In fact, of those who received a call from scammers masquerading as charities, nearly 24% experienced financial loss.
• Of those surveyed, 30% reportedly received a scam call from someone claiming to be from the American Red Cross.
• Others impersonated by scammers include UNICEF (19%) and
• The Salvation Army (17%).
• Nearly 22% reported scam calls posing as local first responder organizations.

To safely support these organizations, the FCC recommends going to the charity’s website to verify and donate directly instead.

Here are the direct links to the organizations:
American Red Cross
The Salvation Army
Visit your local police or firefighters department to donate directly.

"The onslaught of data breaches have armed scammers with enough stolen information to fabricate intricate and personalized scam calls," said Scott Hambuchen, Chief Information Officer of First Orion. "With stolen personal data leaked in mass, consumers are being targeted by much more sophisticated and effective personalized scam calls. Our mission is to provide mobile transparency technology that will not only protect you from scammers but also let you know who is calling and why."

Other interesting facts include:
• 91% said unsolicited calls are an annoyance.
• 45% do not know whether their current mobile carrier blocks or identifies scam calls.
• Nearly 60% have tried different solutions to stop these unwanted calls.
• An overwhelming 82% do not currently use a call-blocking app.
• Approximately 83% would be more inclined to use a cell phone carrier that automatically identified and stopped telemarketing and scam calls.
• Over half (5% ) would change from their current mobile carrier to one that offers features to identify or block incoming scam calls.
• Over 63% would be willing to pay a monthly fee to identify callers and block fraudulent calls up 46 percent from 2015.

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About the Author: First Orion powers call management and transparency solutions for T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, Sky, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint Prepaid mobile networks, along with PrivacyStar applications for all smartphones. We currently provide call control, call blocking, call transparency and call management solutions to millions of mobile handsets. Our Engage technology tells mobile subscribers who is calling and why, empowering them with the ability to take action, while also providing businesses the ability to verify their identity when calling their customers. For more information, please visit

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