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YouMail Protective Services Survey Reveals Scale of Brand Imposter Risks to Consumers
IRVINE, Calif., April 25, 2023 – YouMail Protective Services today released the findings of a consumer survey examining the frequency and impact of the growing problem of brand impersonation scam calls and texts.
Brand impersonation schemes involve malicious actors deploying robocalls or text messages to impersonate a prominent company to scam the receiver into giving away personal data, account credentials, payments, and more. The YouMail study found that scammers most frequently pose as financial institutions and package delivery companies. These findings correlate with YouMail’s own Sensor Network data, which also sees brand impersonations of big hotel chains, cruise ship lines, computer and IT service companies, and many other types of well-known consumer-focused industries.
YouMail data reveals that such imposter attacks have huge reach across all demographics, causing large monetary losses, and material harm to brand reputations. Highlighted findings from the survey include:
- Brand Impersonation Scams are Ubiquitous.
More than 3 out of 4 of survey respondents (78%) said they have been the target of brand impersonation scams. This translates to well over 200 million people in the U.S. who have been targeted. The most common scams were financial services (51%), package delivery companies (49%), e-commerce sites and online stores (45%), and hospitality services (21%).
Further, almost half of all respondents (45%) reported getting 10 or more of these scam calls and texts per month. This translates to over 125 million Americans receiving multiple brand impersonation scam calls each week – a stunningly large number.
- Brand Impersonation Scams Affect the Young More Than the Old.
Over 9 in 10 of Gen Z respondents aged 18-26 (93%) have received brand impersonation scam calls and texts, versus about 7 in 10 Baby Boomers aged 59 and older (73%). This contrast suggests that young people are getting more of the imposter scam calls than the old, despite older adults generally thought to be targeted and most at risk.
Further, 1 in 6 of Gen Z (17%) and 1 in 5 of Millennial respondents aged 27-42 (20%) suffered financial losses from scams, compared to only 1 in 17 of Boomers (6%). Again, the younger generations appear to be about three times more likely to suffer financial losses from an imposter scam than the oldest adults.
- Brand Impersonation Scams Are Costly.
The survey results imply that Americans have lost a cumulative $40 billion from brand impersonation scams that originated from robocalls or robotexts. This financial impact is a staggering price to pay, though perhaps not surprising given that Americans receive more than 50 billion robocalls per year.
Specifically, more than 1 in 7 survey respondents (15%) endured actual financial losses due to these scams, which translates to over 38 million U.S. adults. The hardest hit group involved 6% of consumers who lost $1,000 or more, or over 15 million adults, followed by 22% who lost between $99 and $999.
- Brand Impersonation Scams Severely Harm Brands, In Some Cases Forever.
Over half of respondents (55%) said they would complain to the original brand about impersonation, leading to costs for the brand in dealing with those contacts, and even higher costs when the brand tries to help the consumer address the losses.
Further, roughly half of survey respondents (47%) said they are less likely to accept calls or texts from brands that have suffered imposter calls, making it harder and more costly for brands to contact their prospects and customers. Similarly, just under half of respondents (45%) said they would simply lose trust in doing business with the original brand, leading to losses in revenue for the brands as the consumers do less or no future business with them.
For this research, YouMail Protective Services surveyed 361 U.S. consumers drawn from a representative cross-section of age groups, geographic regions, and income levels in March 2023.
To get more information about this survey, please visit the YouMail blog here:
You can also find this release on the wire here
About YouMail Protective Services
YouMail Protective Services works with enterprises and carriers to shut down unlawful voice and SMS communications. YouMail PS leverages content-based analytics based on patented audio fingerprinting, real-time real-user audio collection and more to protect enterprises by detecting and eliminating imposter traffic and providing vishing protection against brand reputation damage. YouMail PS also protects communication service providers with robocall mitigation services that detect unwanted traffic that is originating, traversing, or terminating on their networks.
About YouMail, Inc.
YouMail protects consumers, enterprises, and carriers from harmful phone calls. YouMail provides U.S. and UK consumers app-based call protection services through the YouMail, Another Number, and HulloMail apps. These solutions answer over a billion live calls per year across well over 10 million registered users, powering America's most robust telephone Sensor Network in identifying and providing zero-hour protection against illegal calling campaigns and cyberattacks. YouMail Protective Services leverages this Sensor Network to protect consumer-facing enterprises by detecting and helping shut down imposter traffic that can lead to financial or brand damage, as well as to protect carriers with robocall mitigation services that detect and help stop bad traffic originating, traversing, or terminating on their networks. This Sensor Network is also used to provide the YouMail Robocall Index™ as the nation’s definitive source on telephone network activity and attacks. YouMail, Inc. is privately funded and based in Irvine, California.
Rohan Notaney for YouMail