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The Hidden Cost of Spam Calls: All That Wasted Time Adds Up

by Suzanne Kantra on April 01, 2024

How much time do you spend each week screening and dealing with unwanted spam calls? According to the latest State of the Call report from Hiya, the average consumer wastes nine minutes per week on this growing annoyance. That may not sound like much at first, but over the course of a year, it adds up to a staggering 7.6 hours of your precious time lost to phone scams and spam.

A closeup shot of a phone with an unknown call coming in.

Think about what you could do with an extra 7.6 hours per year. That's a full workday that could be spent on productive tasks, quality time with family and friends, or much-needed leisure and relaxation. Instead, we're collectively spending that time fielding calls about expiring car warranties, overdue tax payments, and other scams.

Just last week, in the middle of a critical deadline, my phone rang. I answered without thinking – it was one of those car warranty scams. I don't even own a car! That pointless interruption cost me valuable time and I had to refocus.

Read more: How to Prevent Spam Callers from Leaving Voicemail

The time cost isn't the only burden. Hiya's report also found that consumers who fell victim to phone scams lost an average of $2,257 in 2023 – a significant increase from $360 in 2022. Some individuals even reported losing over $6,000 to a single phone scam incident.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Start by being cautious about answering calls from unknown numbers. If you do pick up and the call seems suspicious, hang up immediately. Don't provide any personal or financial information over the phone unless you initiated the call to a verified number.

You can also explore call blocking and labeling solutions to help proactively filter out spam and scam calls. In my testing over the years, I've found that Call Control for Android is the only one that has blocked callers from leaving voicemails. Three more consistently identify and shunt calls to voicemail: Robokiller, Hiya, and Truecaller. All three are available for Android and iOS.

Read more: How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Cloned

As the State of the Call report makes clear, phone scams are a growing problem that can cost us time and money. By staying informed and vigilant, you can help protect yourself from the hidden costs of spam calls.

[Image credit: Unkown caller via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.


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