SOURCE: Hiya

Hiya

December 08, 2016 08:00 ET

Ho-Ho-Hello? Hiya Reveals Holiday Phone Scams Up Over 110 Percent

New Hiya Report Reveals an Estimated 10.2B Robocalls Made Nationally in 2016; Phone Spam Victims Received an Average of 118 Spam Calls This Year

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwired - December 08, 2016) - As we head into the final weeks of the year, Hiya, the global leader in phone spam protection, did a retrospective around the year's top offenders in scam and robocalls, including holiday-related scam calls. With hundreds of thousands of phone numbers analyzed by the company each month, Hiya has seen holiday related scams increase more than 113% since this same time last year.

"By taking advantage of the holiday 'giving' season, scam calls aimed at defrauding consumers are on the rise," said Jan Volzke, VP Reputation Data at Hiya. "Whether preying on the spirit of gifting or the desire to get away after a rocky 2016, scammers are continuing to inundate the phone lines with fraud. We hope our data can educate consumers about these malicious and annoying calls so they can get back to enjoying their holiday season."

Hiya also released its 2016 Robocall Radar report today, which encapsulates data and trends on unwanted calls over all of 2016. The total volume of unwanted calls has grown 47% from 2015 to 2016, with a 130% rise specifically in fraudulent calls. Since the start of the year, more than 10.2 billion robocalls were made to U.S. consumers. So if it feels like you've received dozens, if not hundreds, of spam or scam calls this year, you're not wrong. Typical American phone spam victims have received an average of 118 spam calls this year. The report also includes the top area codes where scam calls appear to be originating, the worst phone scam month (September), types of scams inflicted on consumers -- from telemarketing to extortion/kidnapping and political scams -- and more.

As we close out a year that saw more phone scams than ever before, Hiya reminds consumers to be wary of the following holiday related scams that are on the rise:

1. Donation/Charity Scams

These scams are commonly associated with giving back to law enforcement, firefighters, veterans or their families. Repeat offenders include "State Troopers Fund", "Police Union", "Breast Cancer Survivor Charity" and "Firefighters of America". Donation/Charity Scams have increased 132% since this time frame last year and are a great reminder to always double check before donating.

2. Gift Card Scams

With shopping season in full swing, consumers are searching for good deals. Victims are told that they won a gift card through a Rewards Redemption program but they lose money when paying the "activation" or "shipping and handling" fees. Scammers also entice users with a special holiday offer such as "Buy one gift card, get two free" and victims never receive their intended cards after payment. Gift Card Scams have increased 162% since this time frame last year.

3. Holiday Cruise Scams

Alongside winter weather's arrival, many are thinking of warmer weather and vacation. Scammers will claim "You won a free cruise!" but victims lose money when they pay the upfront "port fees" or taxes in order to claim the tickets. Holiday Cruise Scams have increased 62% since this time frame last year.

To help Americans avoid these dangerous calls, Hiya has identified the top holiday scams' originating area codes.

Top 10 Holiday Scam Area Codes (used for making calls):

1. 404 (Atlanta, GA)

2. 202 (Washington, D.C.)

3. 678 (Atlanta, GA)

4. 347 (New York City, NY)

5. 904 (Jacksonville, FL)

6. 757 (Virginia)

7. 512 (Austin, TX)

8. 832 (Houston, TX)

9. 614 (Columbus, OH)

10. 205 (Alabama)

As a caller ID app, Hiya helps consumers determine whether or not to pick up the phone. This includes identifying legitimate numbers as well as identifying and blocking known scam numbers, so users can avoid falling victim to fraudsters that are taking full advantage of this holiday season.

Hiya is available for free on iTunes and Google Play. To learn more about Hiya visit www.Hiya.com.

About Hiya

Hiya provides enhanced caller ID products and services designed to make the phone experience better. With a database of more over 1.5 billion unique numbers globally, Hiya leverages its expansive algorithms to identify unknown calls and monitor phone-based threats for consumers and businesses. Hiya analyzes more than 3.5 billion calls and text per month, and identified more than 535 million calls to mobile phones in November 2016. Hiya is available as a consumer app on Google Android and iPhone and is integrated into the phone experience for T-Mobile and Samsung Galaxy S7 users worldwide. For more information, please visit www.hiya.com.

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