Download for FreeNow
Free download whoscall app
Scan and Download Whoscall

Whoscall Releases the 2023 Annual Report, Analyzing the Latest Communication Scam Trends

2024-05-09 | Whoscall


Whoscall, digital anti-fraud app under the TrustTech service provider Gogolook, has released the “2023 Whoscall Annual Report.” This report analyzes common scam scenarios across Asia and compiles the latest scam threats encountered by Taiwanese citizens in phone calls, text messages, and URLs. Additionally, Whoscall provides a review of this year's trends in telemarketing calls, revealing some of the most bothersome types of calls. Join us and find out now!

*Disclaimer: The following 2023 Annual Report is based on data collected and analyzed in Taiwan. While this report provides valuable insights into trends and patterns, it may not fully represent the situation in other countries. Readers are advised to consider the geographical context and potential variations in data collection methods when interpreting the information.

Asian Scam Summary! Increased Scam Threats in Hong Kong, Proliferation of Phishing Texts in Thailand and the Philippine

In 2023, Whoscall identified 4.7 billion unknown calls and text messages for its global users, including 66.41 million scam calls and 270 million scam text messages. Despite the escalation of scams fueled by the pandemic in 2021, the number of scam calls and texts has declined for two consecutive years. Reviewing the scam situation across Asia, most regions show temporary signs of easing in scam volumes, thanks to the joint efforts of governments, businesses, and the public's increased awareness of fraud prevention. Hong Kong, despite implementing a real-name registration program, still saw the doubling of scam calls and text messages. In Taiwan, with a slight slowdown in investment scams, the number of scam calls and texts also decreased compared to the previous year, falling by nearly 30%, a greater reduction than in other regions. Meanwhile, Malaysia and Japan both saw a decrease in scam calls but an increase in scam text messages.

Success in Blocking Foreign Scam Calls Starting with +886! Caution Still Needed for Calls from +852, +86, +67, +447

In line with the "Anti-fraud Strategy Guidelines V1.5," the National Communications Commission (NCC) last year collaborated with telecom operators to intensify efforts to block foreign scam calls. Starting in May, all numbers beginning with "+886 0 to 8" were blocked from entering Taiwan. Following the initial success, the NCC added a voice warning, "This is an international call. Please beware of scams." before the call for numbers starting with "+886 9." According to Whoscall, this measure effectively reduced the number of foreign scam calls of the "+886" type. However, calls from "+67", "+86", "+447", “+852” are also high-risk sources frequently used by scam groups to make calls from overseas locations. The public should be extra vigilant.

"Add Line for Hot Stock Tips" Fades! Scam Texts Shift to Point Expiration and Payment Notifications

Compared to the pandemic period (2020-2022), where most scam texts were about "stock investments," in 2023, scam groups have shifted to impersonating utilities such as Taiwan Water Corporation, Taiwan Power Company, and Far EasTone Telecommunications, sending fake "bill overdue notices." Another common type is impersonating telecom companies including Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and Far EasTone, sending scam texts about "point expiration and redemption." Additionally, Whoscall has noticed the appearance of "national health insurance cards" in loan-related texts, tempting those in urgent need of money to use their national health insurance cards as collateral for small loans. This trend aligns with the manual blocking settings of "Whoscall Premium" users, with the top five keywords being "loans, car loans, borrowing, stocks, promotions."

The FinTech platform "Roo.Cash," which focuses on financial fraud prevention, reminds that small loans using personal IDs refer to the use of national ID cards, national health insurance cards, or driver's licenses as collateral. These loans do not require any other collaterals or proof of salary and can be obtained without a review or guarantee process. However, legally operating businesses, such as pawnshops under Article 16 of the Pawnshop Act, are not allowed to accept government-issued IDs and personal identity documents. Therefore, using personal IDs as collateral is illegal, and you can fall victims to money mule recruiters.

Is AI Playing the Role of Web Designer for Scam Groups? "Fake Membership Login" Pages Hard to Distinguish, Avoid Randomly Clicking on Unknown Links

As scam patterns evolve, Whoscall's anti-fraud scope has expanded from calls and text messages to include links. By integrating its own AI-powered anti-fraud technology with international police and cybersecurity partners' data sources, Whoscall has established a leading global advantage in detecting risky links. In addition to identifying high-risk links in text messages, Whoscall's new "URL Scanner" feature allows users to check against unknown links from various sources within the app. This feature has helped Taiwanese users assess the risk of over 230,000 unknown links, identifying more than 11% as scam links.

According to Whoscall's analysis, the main types of scam traps spread through text messages, LINE, or digital platform ads include "Fake Membership Login," "Malicious Software Download," "Fake One-Page Shopping Sites," and "Adding LINE Friends."

Scam groups have long employed the tactic of creating fake membership login pages under the guise of well-known online banks and exchanges. However, in its early stages, people could still spot the flaws of fake web pages with a glimpse of an eye. With generative AI now used to create images and web materials, the authenticity of fake web pages has significantly improved. This underscores the importance of using technological tools to assess link risks and ensure information security. Recently, many scams have enticed people to download malicious software (commonly known as apk) by bypassing official platforms such as the App Store and Google Play, leading to mobile device infections, personal data breaches, and credit card fraud. Among these, several investment scam cases involved scam groups imitating brokerage apps, misleading victims into thinking they were placing orders within a legitimate brokerage system, when in fact they were transferring funds to the scam group. This type of investment scam is also known as a "pig butchering scam," because it relies on building trust with the victim over weeks or months, thus establishing contact through communication apps such as LINE serves as a stepping stone.

Endless Telemarketing Calls! Singles Mixers, Tutoring Centers, Gyms Make the List

Apart from scam prevention, Whoscall's most appreciated feature by users is the "filtering of telemarketing calls." As telemarketing remains an essential channel for many businesses, Whoscall blocked an average of over 33 telemarketing calls per user in 2023. Further analyzing the telemarketing calls, "banks" significantly outnumber other types, with investments (e.g., stocks, bonds) and insurance (e.g., property, life) following in second and third place. After the financial industry, tutoring centers (e.g., academic, driving schools), singles mixers (e.g., matchmaking services), gyms, and tea (e.g., tea tasting) rank high based on call volume. These businesses often conduct offline consumer events (also called "on ground marketing") in commercial areas, with showgirls and coaches distributing questionnaires to the public or offering membership registration for discounts or samples on social media to collect personal data, and this leads to a surge in telemarketing calls and texts on latest promotions.

"Need a Loan?" Various Loan-Related Calls! Whoscall: Auto Loan Providers Most Active

Due to the diversity of loan-related calls, Whoscall briefly categorizes them into credit loans, auto loans, pawnshops, and private lenders. Examining the annual volume, "auto loans" lead with over 13.88 million calls identified, followed by "credit loans" with over 5 million. "Private lenders" and "pawnshops" also have significant volumes with 630,000 and 180,000 calls identified, respectively. Reflecting user preferences and avoiding disturbances, the auto spam call blocker feature in Whoscall Premium updates tens of thousands of nuisance numbers weekly, with an average of 40% of these numbers related to loans.

About Whoscall

The Whoscall app, a personal digital anti-fraud tool, is designed to protect users across various scenarios from scams and malicious communications, including phone calls, text messages, and links. It boasts the most comprehensive database in East and Southeast Asia, encompassing over 2.6 billion phone numbers, and collects global malicious links to form a leading digital anti-fraud database. The Whoscall team has been dedicated to developing anti-fraud technology for over a decade, employing AI to analyze and simulate the patterns of scam groups, proactively preventing the spread of scams. At the same time, Whoscall actively engages in building a community collaboration mechanism with its users, playing a role with societal impact in digital anti-fraud services from educational initiatives, cross-sector collaboration to product innovation. Recognized and chosen for partnerships by the Taiwan National Police Agency, Thai Royal Police, Royal Malaysia Police, the Philippines Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center, Financial Supervisory Service of South Korea, and local governments in Japan, Whoscall has achieved over 100 million downloads globally.

Information about Whoscall is available at:

Click HERE to download Whoscall for free NOW!