Spam and robocalls: why do you receive so much spam?
If you feel like the current volume of spam – unwanted ads and scammers’ attempts – flooding your inbox, social media accounts, text feeds and voicemail is at an all time high, well, you are not wrong.
What is happening: Axios reports that new data from spam-blocking app RoboKiller revealed nearly 12 billion spam messages were sent to US cellphone users in March, a rate of nearly 42 text messages for every person in the country. . This volume represents a huge jump from the billion spam messages sent in April 2021, according to data from RoboKiller.
However, not all of these phone buzzes come from unsolicited text messages. Tracking robocalls by call protection app developer YouMail found that 4.4 billion robocalls were also made in March. This represents nearly 141 million calls per day and 1,600 calls per second. Utah’s share of those March robocalls was 25.4 million, or more than 11 calls per person, according to YouMail.
“Just like with robocalls, it’s extremely easy to deploy (spam) in huge volume and hide your identity,” Will Maxson, deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Marketing Practices Division, told Axios. “There are a large number of actors all over the world trying to get spam into the network from an almost infinite number of entry points all the time.”
You have (lots of) mail: Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that more spam than usual appears to be slipping through automatic filters on some free email services, and in particular Google’s 18-year-old Gmail. According to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, there was a 30% increase in spam volume last year across all services. The company detected an additional 10 billion spam messages in December alone.
The Post reports that email spam comes in many forms, but shares one trait: senders are primarily intended to gain access to your money or information (which, in turn, can lead to money to spammers).
Phishing emails attempt to trick the recipient into submitting sensitive information, such as a password or credit card number, and malicious emails ask you to download an attachment that will allow the sender to access your computer. They aim to gather sensitive financial or personal information or launch something like a ransomware attack, according to Post reports.
Now that computers better update themselves automatically to patch security holes, the Post says spammers are targeting people with social attacks, using techniques like impersonating businesses or real people. . They exploit human weaknesses more than computer weaknesses.
“Because the attacks are social, I think they’re worse,” Chester Wisniewski, a senior researcher at security firm Sophos, told The Washington Post. “There’s nothing I can put on your computer that’s going to help you not be cheated.”
What is scaling up?: Experts attribute the sharp increase in spam to the pandemic, according to Axios. And people’s increased reliance on digital communications has made them ready targets.
On that note, the Federal Communications Commission saw an almost 146% increase in complaints about spam text messages in 2020, according to Axios. Americans said they lost $131 million to SMS-initiated fraud schemes in 2021, a jump of more than 50% from the previous year, according to FTC data.