Nearly 50% of all calls in the next year will be scam robocalls, according to a new report from call management software company First Orion.
Analyzing 50 billion calls over the last 18 months, First Orion identified a growing trend in phone call data: robocalls are increasing at an extraordinary rate, and most of them are spam, Consumer Affairs reports. In 2017, First Orion says, about 4% of all calls made to mobile phones were spam robocalls. For 2018, that proportion jumped to 29%, increasing by a factor of 7. If that trend holds for 2019, we can expect nearly 50% of all the calls we receive to be spam robocalls.
How Telecom Companies Are Trying To Stop Robocalls
Most of us don’t even answer the phone anymore. Intuitively, we understand that, if a number doesn’t register as someone we already know, the call is likely to be a robocall, one of the millions of annoying, harassing prerecorded voice messages that American consumers receive every day.
Given the massive toll this epidemic of robocalls has taken on American consumers, you’d expect concrete solutions to be coming fast. And you’d be partially correct.
While government authorities have struggled, with their limited power to regulate business practices, to stem the demoralizing tide of robocalls, private companies, including telecom providers, have taken up the challenge. Today, every large telecommunications company offers its own call-blocking technology to consumers, though some cost extra.
In the same vein, a myriad of smaller tech companies have provided their own solutions, releasing apps that seek to identify robocalls before you answer, giving you the option to hang up. You can check out our roundup of the 3 best robocall-blocking apps here.
Robocall Lawsuits Seek To Hold Robocallers Accountable
A growing number of consumers are also taking robocallers to court. While most people don’t know it, every robocall you receive could be worth up to $1,500 in financial damages. It’s all thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that allows private individuals to sue robocall spammers over illegal calls and texts. In a robocall lawsuit, plaintiffs can win between $500 and $1,500 per illegal call or text, creating a strong financial incentive for robocallers to change their ways.
Despite the improvements these measures promise, things are likely to get worse before they get any better. The recent trend is not promising, according to First Orion, a company that provides call network management services to companies.
Scams Increase As Call Numbers Grow
The number of scams is also likely to increase, says John Masterson, who works for the Better Business Bureau. The problem, Masterson says, is that scammers are now able to access cheap technology that allows them to spam millions of numbers every year.
A single individual can do it on their own these days. “It’s very cheap, unfortunately, to do this using the internet,” Masterson says. “Folks see that and see, unfortunately, a quick pay day and just send out these calls en masse and just need a couple of people to fall for it.”
New Hurricane Irma Scam Poses As Legit Charity
And scams are popping up even quicker than authorities can register. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, a round of new robocall scams are going around, purporting to be from charities that are raising money for the victims. In reality, these calls are a scam; the callers will simply steal your personal information, or worse, just take your money.
Before donating to any charity, make sure to research the organization thoroughly, checking up on the charity’s track record. You can search the Better Business Bureau’s give.org to check up on a charity’s record for yourself.