Report: Number of fraudulent cellphone calls will spike in 2019

File photo (Pixabay)

(WLUK) -- A recent report doesn't have good news for cellphone users.

First Orion, a call management and protection service, says nearly half of all cellphone calls will be fraudulent by 2019.

More than 50 billion calls made to cellphone users over the past 18 months were analyzed for the report.

In 2017, just 3.7 percent of total cellphone calls were fraudulent, the report says. That jumped to 29.2 percent in 2018.

Unless measures are taken to decrease the number of fraudulent calls, First Orion expects that number to rise to 44.6 percent in 2019.

Blocking the fraudulent calls will be difficult, experts say because call spoofing has become more difficult to detect.

Fraudulent callers are able to disguise their phone numbers with legitimate ones on your caller ID and can even use area codes matching your cellphone number, increasing the likelihood you'll answer the call.

The FCC is currently working on a way to prevent callers from manipulating the caller ID number.

Until a solution is created, here are some red flags on fraudulent phone calls:

  • The caller uses "act now" language
  • It's an automated or pre-recorded message
  • The caller demands you send money via wire transfer or through gift cards
  • They ask for your credit card number or banking information

If you receive a fraudulent phone call, do not respond to the caller and hang up and report the incident to your local law enforcement or file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

If the caller claims to be from a company and the tone of the call does not feel right, hang up and call the company back to see if the call was legitimate.

According to the state DATCP, consumers lose more than $40 billion a year to fraudulent phone calls.

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