The average individual living in the United States with a cell phone received three fewer spam calls per month in 2018, compared with 2017, but the number of spam debt collection calls grew nearly fivefold during this year, according to data released by TrueCaller.
TrueCaller, which provides apps that help block spam phone calls from being connected, reported that individuals in the U.S. received an average of 16.9 spam calls per month in 2018, down from 20.7 calls per month in 2017. As well, the United States fell to eighth in the list of countries with the highest number of average spam calls, behind Brazil (37.5), India (22.3), Chile (21.9), South Africa (21), Mexico (20.9), Peru (19.8), and Costa Rica (18.5).
Insurance-related spam calls to U.S. individuals increased from 2% of all calls in 2017 to 39% in 2018, and debt collection calls increased to 33%, from 7% in 2017.
Those two categories dramatically outpaced the other categories tracked by TrueCaller — nuisance, spam, and robocalls.
TrueCaller did not provide any insights as to why the number of spam calls decreased in the United States decreased this year.
The ARM industry has been grappling with more calls being blocked by carriers because they appear to be spam calls or robocalls, and more consumers labeling calls as spam or robocalls, even, in some cases, legitimate calls being made by debt collectors. A survey of the industry conducted by ACA International revealed that 62% of respondents have seen a drop in right-party contacts this year, and 75% report that their calls are being blocked.