In 2013, over 18 million people in the US received robocalls. The average person received between 10 and 20 calls a month. In 2014, that number jumped to over 22 million people. This year, it’s expected that 52 billion robocalls will be delivered to US households. You might think this is a symptom of an inefficient phone system, but you would be wrong. Robocalls are not the result of the US phone system. They are the result of our phones.
America is on track to receive 52 billion telemarketing calls this year, according to a new report from the Federal Communications Commission. These calls are estimated to amount to a full 16% of all telemarketing calls made in the U.S., with the FCC’s report on the issue stating that “Robocalls have become a significant source of telephone annoyance for millions of Americans, and the Commission’s report details the damage they cause.” On the other hand, the report adds that customers who don’t mind a little telemarketing call may opt for services like Google Voice, which offers “unlimited global calling” for $15 a month.
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – According to a new study by the app True Caller, Americans have lost about $30 billion to robo-call scams.
According to a new study by the True Caller app, Americans have lost about $30 billion to robo-call scams. (CBSLA)
It’s annoying, my phone keeps ringing, says Tamara Ehrlich. When I respond to a couple, I get overwhelmed. It’s not my problem to fix it, they are the ones breaking the law.
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The calls are annoying, incessant and illegal, but can anything be done to stop them?
Calls are coming in at a rapid pace, whether they are automated numbers, recorded messages, identity theft or scams. According to recent reports, American consumers will receive more than 52 billion automated calls this year alone.
As long as there is money, there will be scammers trying to get it, says Ian Scherr, editor-in-chief of CNET.
Part of the problem, he says, is that no matter how hard they try to stop them, those on the other side of the line try even harder.
What has happened is that the underlying technology has become more sophisticated, and now I get a lot of robocalls from local numbers, he said. Actions I would expect from my neighborhood or even sometimes from real people. That’s part of what makes robocalls a very different experience today.
But where do all these numbers come from?
Behind it is a computer program with a list of all those phone numbers they suspect are real people, Scherr said. They collect them and sell them to these scammers, and they send tons of phone calls hoping one of you will click yes and start talking to them.
And when people pick up the phone, they know they have a number that works. So what can be done to reduce the number of calls?
The best thing you can do these days, unfortunately, is not answer the phone if you don’t know who’s calling, Sherr said. Of course they’ll leave a message if it’s important to them, but it’s a way to really protect yourself.
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Another thing you can do is apply, he continued. They’re also very popular in terms of identifying spammers who call, and the way they do that is you and I let them know when we’re calling spammers, and then they put them on their list.
Alex Quilici is the CEO of YouMail, a visual voicemail and call blocking app that helps protect people’s phone numbers.
In short, you should install a call protection app on your phone just like you install virus protection on your computer, he said. It’s designed to keep your phone from ringing when those bad guys call, or if they get through, they leave a voicemail, we can flag the voicemail and say: Hey, this is a problem. That’s cheating.
But for consumers like Ehrlich, paying for an app isn’t enough.
The police should be with someone else, she said. And I’d like to see mobile operators play a bigger role in making sure their paying customers aren’t inundated with spam, scams and robocalls.
But there is also good news for consumers.
From the 30th. In June, the Federal Communications Commission is requiring all voice providers to implement the new STIR/SHAKEN technology to combat robocalls.
STIR stands for Secure Phone Identity Revisited and SHAKEN stands for Token-based Signature Assertion Processing. This technology works because calls routed through the network verify the identity of the caller before they reach the person’s phone.
Only time will tell how well this technology works, but in the meantime, consumers may have to get used to their phones ringing.
It’s really annoying when my phone doesn’t stop ringing and it’s irrelevant, Ehrlich says.
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According to YouMail, Americans received about 4 billion robocalls in May, bringing their numbers down to pre-pandemic levels.
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