Cyber Security

Truecaller Study shows Africans get more spam texts than mobile users globally

The 2019 Truecaller study data shows that the top countries that receives the most spam SMS are in the emerging markets. The top three markets that are affected are in the African continent. Ethiopians receives the most spam SMS in the world, with the average of 119 spam SMS on a monthly basis.

In total Truecaller helped identify 8.6 billion spam SMS globally.

And it’s not just Ethiopia as South Africa and Kenya also rank in the top three for countries where users receive the most spam texts across the world, data from Truecaller, the Stockholm-based caller identification app, shows. In total, African countries make up nine of the top 20 ranked countries for spam texts received. The rankings are based on data on spam texts received by users between Jan. 1, 2019 and Oct. 30, 2019.

While telecoms operators account for the most spam calls in Egypt (74%) and Nigeria (85%), in South Africa, scams are the leading source of spam calls. The scams range from phony job offers to tech support fraud soliciting sensitive bank account information. Telecoms operators account for only 10% of spam calls in South Africa. Regardless of source however, the rates of spam calls has increased in all three countries over the past year.

The high spam rates across many of Africa’s fast-growing mobile user markets have seen Truecaller grow popular given its call blocking and identification features. With Truecaller users granting it access to their contacts list among a range of other permissions, the company has aggregated a database of contact details from millions of users. As such, when a Truecaller user receives a call from an unsaved number, the app can match that number with a name from its vast database. In exchange for free use, the app leverages its vast user base for mobile advertising.

But the app itself has also courted controversy and data privacy questions over its methods.

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