What The Tech: Robo-call Update

CHARLOTTE N.C.- Did you notice getting fewer robocalls in September than the month before? Probably not. According to YouMail’s monthly Robo Call Index, the number of Robocalls in September was about 6% less than in August. Unfortunately, not for the reason you might hope.

“August has one more day than September so you’d expect about 3% fewer robo calls just because of that,” explains Alex Quilici, CEO of robocall blocking app YouMail. “September has a holiday with Labor Day and August doesn’t. So that’s another 3% since Robo callers take those days off.”

Last month Americans received about 4.2 billion robocalls which are about 140 million a day. That’s about normal for each month so far in 2022 but about a billion fewer than in 2019 and 2020.

Quilici says the type of calls going out changes during the year. Right now?

“We’re starting to see student loan fraud ramp up because of the $10,000 forgiveness, so they’re pretending to need the information to make that happen. We’re seeing a lot of debt reduction calls that are problematic and I think the worst ones right now are the utility scams.”

Worse, not necessarily by the numbers but because of who those calls target.

“One in six Americans are in danger of being disconnected. They’re behind on their utility bill. These scammers are calling people up saying you’re going to be disconnected in the next half hour if you don’t pay $200-$300 right away.”

Instead of instructing the victims to send a check to the utility, the scammers pressure them tobuy a gift card, often while staying on the phone as they drive to the store, and then tell the scammer the numbers over the phone.

Still, Quilici says he sees signs that bad robocalls could go the way of bad spam emails that don’t bother us as much anymore.

“We’re seeing technology improve it”, he said. “We’re seeing consumers use third-party apps to block robocalls so they don’t have to make those decisions. We’re seeing consumers not calling numbers back automatically without doing research. it’s following the same trend lines.”

Remember, don’t engage with a scammer or spammer. If someone doesn’t pick up when you first say hello, hang up. And while you might get some enjoyment out of telling them off. It only shows other spammers that you’re number is in service.