TNS September 2021 Robocall Report

The TNS 2021 Robocall Investigation Report, Seventh Edition (Robocall Report) is a continuing examination into the data, convention and trends that plague consumers’ phones daily.  

TNS Call Guardian®, the industry-leading big-data analytics engine, has gained insights and reputation data on over 1.7 billion active phone numbers by analyzing 1.3 billion daily call events across hundreds of carriers.  

This seventh edition of TNS’ Robocall Report continues the findings published beginning in 2018 and includes several new insights: 

  • Unwanted calls were up in the first six months. Unwanted calls increased 6% in the first half of 2021 (37.9 billion) compared to the first half of 2020 but were down 10% compared to the same period in 2019. The decline in unwanted calls can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic that drove down the volume of unwanted calls in the first half of 2020.
  • Neighbor spoofing using low-volume spamming is a new tactic employed by bad actors. Use of same area code saw a 127% increase and use of same area code and prefix increased 52% using low-volume spamming techniques across a large amount of telephone numbers in an attempt to avoid analytics engines 
  • VoIP originated calls are the largest portion of unwanted calls. Sixty-six percent (66%) of all high-risk calls and 61% of all nuisance calls originate from VoIP telephone numbers – representing the largest two sources of these unwanted calls 
  • Wireline is twice as bad as wireless. While much of the attention is focused on robocalls to mobile phones, 41% of inter-carrier calls placed to wireline numbers in 1H2021 were unwanted, compared to 21% of inter-carrier calls to wireless numbers 
  • Tier-1 carriers continue to be a small part of the problem. Seventy-five (75%) of the inter-carrier traffic comes from Tier-1 carriers; however, more than 95% of high-risk calls originate from non-Tier-1 telephone resources  
  • STIR/SHAKEN is being adopted by the Tier-1 carriers. Of the Tier-1 carriers that have deployed STIR/SHAKEN (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) / (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs), more than 50% of the total calls in June were signed, up from 35% in the beginning of the year Consumers lost more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020– an increase of nearly $1.5 billion over 2019.1


  • Consumers lost more than $3.3 billion to fraud in 2020– an increase of nearly $1.5 billion over 2019.1 
  • Imposter scams topped the list of consumer complaints submitted in 2020 to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) nationwide Consumer Sentinel; debt scam reductions were second on the list followed by medical and prescription scams as the third highest complaint. These top three scams account for 27% of the complaints to the FTC.2 
  • The FTC saw a 36% increase in complaints received when comparing January-March of 2021 to the same period in 2020.3 
  • Younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people. In 2020, 44% of people in their 20s reported a loss to fraud, while only 20% of people in their 70s.4 
  •  However, when people in their 70s did lose money, the amount tended to be higher: their median loss was $1,300, compared to $324 for people in their 20s.5 

The FCC wants the telecoms industry to help put an end to scam robocalls. TNS is here to help.

TNS’ Robocall Scam of the Month

Our Scam of the Month page reports on the latest Robocall scam data from across the US.

For regular updates on the latest Robocall news from TNS, including our highlighted scam negative calling heatmaps and call scoring please visit our Robocall Scam of the Month page. 

TNS September 2021 Robocall Report

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