Scammers Resort to Robotexts, Increasing Yearly Text Scams by 68%

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  September 19, 2022

2021 was dubbed “the year of the robotext” with scammers sending 87.8 billion spam texts to Americans. Scammers shifted strategies to find a loophole around STIR/SHAKEN – the result was more robotexts. In addition to evading STIR/SHAKEN protocols, the strategy also followed consumer habits and a growing appetite for text messaging – globally, about 23 billion text messages are sent every day.

The trend continued into 2022, and in its 2022 Mid-Year Phone (News - Alert) Scam Report, RoboKiller revealed, with its sister app TextKiller, that Americans are on track to receive an estimated 147 billion robotexts. The yearly total will surpass the 2021 total by 68%.

While much of that is legitimate, wanted communication, scammers have found an opportunity in text messaging. From January to June, TextKiller estimated that Americans lost around $10 billion to scam text messages.

Although scammers are trending to robotexts, American consumers should note that robocalls are not a thing of the past. RoboKiller believes STIR/SHAKEN is resulting in fewer spoofed spam calls over time, but did mention in the report that those calls will not disappear altogether.

Americans received around 40 billion spam calls from January to June and are expected to receive 86 billion spam calls in 2022, a 19% increase from 2021. In terms of financial impact, Americans are on pace to lose upwards of $59 billion. To put into perspective, Americans lost around $30 billion to spam call fraud in 2021.

With the world returning to normalcy, scammers are targeting Americans with scams related to travel and student loans as well as the common vehicle warranty offers. Those with student loans should be on high alert for scams during the final pause extension through Dec. 31. The calls (or texts) come in frequently – sometimes on a daily basis – which can lead consumers to believe they might be legitimate. Don’t fall into that trap – it’s what scammers are counting on.

Apps such as RoboKiller and TextKiller will aid consumers in the fight against robocalls and robotexts. For example, RoboKiller blocked 600 million calls and prevented $400 million in losses. TextKiller blocked 168 million texts and prevented $27 million in losses.

Using apps such as RoboKiller and TextKiller, on top of the protocols in place from operators and the government, can help consumers stop 99% of phone scams.

Edited by Erik Linask