Dramatic rise in spam, scam calls in SA - report

South Africans are among the most affected by spam calls in the world, according to the 2018 Truecaller Insights report by mobile app company Truecaller.

Spam refers to unsolicited phone calls or messages, particularly advertising and scams.

According to the Truecaller report, almost half (49%) of all top spam calls in SA are scam-related, with a dramatic rise in the number of scam calls over the past year.

The report, which looked at the top-20 countries affected by spam calls in 2018, found that "nuisance and unsolicited calls" are on the rise across the world.

It ranks South Africa as the fourth-most spammed country in the world. In SA, the number of spam calls per month has increased from 15 in the 2017 study to 21 in 2018.

In Brazil and India - the two countries found to be the most affected by spam calls - the average Truecaller user receives more than 22 spam calls each month.

In comparison to last year’s data, fewer African markets are now sitting in the Top 20 list. South Africa is the only country that topped the list again, with an increase in overall spam related calls.

Analysis of the data revealed that operators - Telecom companies upselling things like data plans or promotions - across the world were the biggest spammers.

Telemarketing calls from financial services, debt collectors and insurers were also affecting Truecaller users globally.

Truecaller has identified and blocked 297 million spam calls in South Africa to date and has identified 12.4% of all calls received in the market as spam.

spam calls report

Dramatic rise in scams

According to the latest report, last year's study revealed that only 1% of calls were marked as scam-related. This year almost half (49%) of all top spam calls were scam-related.

Scams include tech support fraud, where someone pretends to call from your bank or company informing you that your account has been hijacked and needs your help to take control of it.

There is also "the one ring scam" where an unknown number - usually an international number - gives you a missed call and when you call them back you get charged a hefty fee for calling back.

Then there is the job offer scam, where someone pretending to be a head hunter calls you to offer you a job, but you need to pay a fee to be hired.

The report further found that telemarketing is still "a persistent problem" in SA that accounts for 38% of all top spam calls in the country. These types of calls usually come from various companies, insurance agencies and financial services trying to offer something.

spam calls globally report

* Are you, or have you been a telemarketer? Do you have a story to tell us about your experience doing your job? We'd love to hear from you (and we'll respect your anonymity, if you wish). Email us at editor@fin24.com

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders