The average number of nuisance calls, texts and emails reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has risen from 8,680 per month in 2020, to an average of 13,925 in 2021 – an increase of 60 per cent. The data, which was analysed by niche litigation firm, Griffin Law, was officially published on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)’s website, under ‘actions we’ve taken’.
The analysis also revealed an even bigger disparity between the number of nuisance calls, texts and emails reported to the ICO in the first six months of 2020, at just 38,269, compared to the same six month period this year, at 83,558. This represents a staggering 116 per cent increase between the two six month periods.
Nuisance contact relating to telecoms services, such as broadband, tv or phone, made up the majority of reports in 2021, at 12,796 in the first six months, or an average of just over 2,000 per month. This was followed by calls relating to banking, with 1,059 per month, and accident claims at a 620 average per month.
Interestingly, the same figures for 2020 revealed that accident claims was the most frequent type of nuisance call for that year, with an average of 1,946 per month, whereas calls relating to telecoms services only made up 1,182 reports per month, and banking only led to an average of 534 per month. Experts indicate that this change reflects scammers attempting to capitalise on increased demand for broadband and banking services in the wake of lockdown and remote working.
March 2021 observed the most reports of nuisance contact, at 17,728. For comparison, March 2020 saw just 6,484 reports.
In fact, 2020’s most active month for nuisance calls (October – 13,131) is still less than five of the six months recorded so far in 2021, indicating an increasing inherent problem.
Ed Blake, Area Vice President EMEA for Absolute Software comments: “’Nuisance’ contact has become synonymous with malicious cyber attack attempts, which usually starts with a phishing, spam or malware email or text, sent to a recipient under the guise of a legitimate service or brand name.
“This is not to say that all reports of nuisance contact have malicious undertones, but it is certainly something that end users and business decision makers must be aware of, particularly as the remote working climate has increased the cyber threat facing businesses.
“Protecting end points from unwarranted contact in a professional environment requires businesses to adopt resilient visibility and control software that values Zero Trust network access protocols. This will boost defences across an entire organisation and ensure that a user’s mistake or naivety, does not necessarily translate into a breach of data”