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Up to One in Four Consumers Experience Fraud Attempts Via Mobile Devices Multiple Times Per Week or Daily

CHICAGO, Dec. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “Who’s calling now?” has become a ubiquitous question and a sign of the times for mobile users as fraud and spammers repeatedly target consumers through their phones. New research from TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) reveals that around one-third of consumers experience fraud attempts multiple times per week, if not daily. More than half (51%) report being targeted in the last three months.

The most common attacks include social engineering schemes that try to convince consumers to give sensitive information, like phishing, which typically occurs via email; vishing, which happens via phone calls and voice messages; and SMSishing, which occurs over text message.

Percentage of Consumers Experiencing Fraud Attempts Multiple Times per Week or Daily


The research includes a consumer survey of attitudes and behaviors regarding fraud mitigation on mobile devices, including use of third-party services and the influence of AI. The full findings are available in the 2023 Telecommunications Consumer Report.

“Consumers face a near constant bombardment of fraud attempts on their mobile devices,” said Dan Carella, head of TransUnion’s communications vertical. “Understandably, they are looking to mobile carriers for help reducing the volume of these threats.”

Across generations, consumers cited mobile phone carriers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, as most responsible for protecting consumers from fraud on mobile devices. Baby Boomers were most adamant about this as 45% of that generation identified mobile phone carriers as responsible, compared to Millennials (39%), Gen X (38%) and Gen Z (33%).

What’s more, after a year’s tenure with a mobile carrier, consumers across generations relied more heavily on their mobile provider to protect them from fraud. New customers with less than a year with their mobile phone carriers said tech companies that provide email and browsing services—like Google and Microsoft—are almost as responsible as mobile carriers to help them combat fraud.

“As data breaches increase and more customer data is exposed, consumers are seeing a rise in unwanted spam calls and expect mobile carriers to continue providing them with the tools to avoid falling victim to fraud attempts,” said James Garvert, senior vice president, TruContact Communications Solutions at TransUnion. “Given these rising expectations, we expect communication service providers will continue making the investments to meet the expectations of their customers.” 

Consumers’ top fraud prevention measures
The report also identified which types of fraud protections consumers want from mobile service providers. Across generations, seeing the ID of callers was almost universally desired. Generational differences split the next most popular options.

For Gen Z consumers, the ability to perform a reverse phone number lookup for unknown callers was about equally important as having access to free credit and identity monitoring services. Millennials saw less value in reverse lookup capabilities but were equally as excited about credit and identity monitoring as Gen Z.

Gen X and Baby Boomers expressed about the same interest in reverse lookup, credit and identity monitoring, and the ability to block suspicious phone numbers.

Consumers’ Top Fraud Prevention Measures From Mobile Service Providers, by Generation

GenerationAbility to See
the ID of the
Free Credit &
Ability to
Gen Z75%59%57%45%
Gen X69%53%52%51%

The report notes that nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers who are very concerned about fraud signed up for a paid identity protection service. However, at least half of all generations indicated a desire for free credit and identity monitoring, offered by their mobile service providers.

“Mobile service providers are in constant competition to retain customers,” said Lindsey Downing, senior vice president of TransUnion consumer credit and identity protection programs. “By providing a credit and identity monitoring service, companies can improve customer experiences, while delivering on consumer expectations and inspiring greater loyalty.”

Learn more about TransUnion’s TruContact™ Trusted Call Solutions
Learn more about TransUnion’s TruEmpower™ Identity Protection Solutions

For full research findings, read the 2023 Telecommunications Consumer Report.

This online survey of 1,500 adults was conducted from September 2023 by TransUnion in partnership with third-party research provider, Dynata. Survey participants included adults 18 years of age and older residing in the United States. Participants were surveyed using an online research panel method across a combination of desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. Survey questions were administered in English. To ensure general population sample representativeness across United States resident demographics, the survey targeted respondents in line with the census statistics on the dimensions of age, gender, and household income. Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, born 1995- 2005; Millennials, born 1980-1994; Gen X, born 1965-1979; Baby Boomers, born 1945-1964. These research results are unweighted and statistically significant at a 95% confidence level within ±3 percentage points based on calculated error margin. Please note some chart percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding or multiple answers being accepted.

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) 
TransUnion is a global information and insights company with over 12,000 associates operating in more than 30 countries. We make trust possible by ensuring each person is reliably represented in the marketplace. We do this with a Tru™ picture of each person: an actionable view of consumers, stewarded with care. Through our acquisitions and technology investments we have developed innovative solutions that extend beyond our strong foundation in core credit into areas such as marketing, fraud, risk and advanced analytics. As a result, consumers and businesses can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good® — and it leads to economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for millions of people around the world.

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