46% WhatsApp users facing barrage of unsolicited audio, video calls; most from international numbers: Survey | Tech News

46% WhatsApp users facing barrage of unsolicited audio, video calls; most from international numbers: Survey

The survey received nearly 23,000 responses from WhatsApp users located in 323 districts of India.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: May 17 2023, 22:26 IST
WhatsApp
WhatsApp also revealed that it has deployed artificial intelligence (AI) and ML systems to bring down such incidents significantly. (Bloomberg)

A survey has revealed shocking statistics about what WhatsApp users are going through with as many as 46% reporting that they are facing a barrage of unsolicited audio and video calls mostly from international numbers. The survey was conducted by community social media platform LocalCircles. Not just that, as many as 83% of respondents state that this onslaught is fairly recent - they have been getting such calls more frequently since the last 30 days. Also, 59% of respondents have said that they are getting such calls primarily from international numbers. Many are being pestered by missed calls too.

According to LocalCircles, "There is a very real possibility of these calls originating from India with international numbers being used to mask the Indian number."

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The onslaught has been so bad that over the last few weeks, WhatsApp users in India have taken to social media to report this onslaught.

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Fraudsters at work

These calls are being made on the pretext of offering easy-to-do jobs like clicking likes on YouTube videos. The country codes of these calls appear to be originating from countries like Ethiopia, Malaysia, Kenya, Vietnam. However, the country code of these calls does not necessarily mean that the calls are originating from there.

Government in Action

Union Minister of state, MEITY, Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that the IT ministry will be sending a notice to WhatsApp on the issue of spam calls from unknown international numbers as the onus of ensuring the safety of the users lies with the digital platform, PTI reported.

The minister said the government is also examining how these WhatsApp numbers are being identified and accessed.

WhatsApp Reaction

WhatsApp said, “...we are fully aligned with the government's goal of keeping users safe....” The company also said that it was carrying out a “stay safe

with WhatsApp” campaign to educate users about the in-built safety features on the platform like two-step verification, block, report and privacy controls.

WhatsApp also revealed that it has deployed artificial intelligence (AI) and ML systems to bring down such incidents significantly.

It also reiterated its commitment to the Government that it will also leverage the information about 4 million mobile numbers recently identified as fraudulent by Government's initiative called Sanchaar Saathi.

LocalCircles

Taking cognizance of this onslaught on the common user, LocalCircles decided to conduct a national survey to assess the magnitude of the issue. The survey received nearly 23,000 responses from WhatsApp users located in 323 districts of India. 63% respondents were men while 37% respondents were women. 45% respondents were from tier 1, 32% from tier 2 and 23% respondents were from tier 3, 4 & rural districts.

Survey Highlights

Question 1: Have the number of WhatsApp audio and video calls from unknown callers/numbers increased for you in the last 30 days?

* Over 11,000 responded to this query with 46% of WhatsApp users surveyed confirming that they have been facing an onslaught of audio or video calls from

unknown numbers;

* 83% that they have been getting them in the last 30 days.

* 21% of respondents have witnessed no change in the last 30 days;

* 17% shared that such audio or video calls have increased by up to 20%;

* 25% claimed that it has increased by 20-50%;

* A small 4% of respondents indicated that it has increased by 50-100%;

* 8% of respondents indicated an increase of 100-500%

* 4% of those surveyed shared that the unsolicited audio and video calls have increased more than 500%.

* Another 4% of respondents, who had not been receiving such calls earlier, shared that they are now being targeted and have been getting a few calls.

* Only 17% of the respondents shared that they are “luckily not getting them.

* 59% of respondents confirm that the unsolicited Whatsapp audio and video calls they are receiving are primarily coming from unknown international numbers

Question 2: What are the types of unknown numbers from which you have been receiving the various audio and video calls in the last 30 days?

* 59% confirming that these calls are primarily coming from international numbers.

* 37% of respondents are receiving audio or video calls from mostly international numbers and some domestic numbers;

* 23% are receiving such scam calls mostly from domestic numbers and some international numbers;

* 22% are getting calls only from international numbers and 18% from domestic numbers only.

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First Published Date: 17 May, 22:25 IST
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