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US phones received 4.2 billion robocalls in September

Americans received 4.2 billion robocalls in September, marking a 6.2% decrease from August on a monthly basis, and a 3.1% decrease on a daily basis. Specifically, September averaged 139.9 million calls/day and 1,619 calls/second, compared to 144.4. million calls/day and 1,672 calls/second in August. The difference is likely due to the Labor Day holiday and one less day in the month.

So far this year, US consumers have received some 36.8 billion robocalls, and the country has continued on a pace to exceed 49 billion robocalls for the year, slightly less than last year.

“We’re seeing that robocall volumes appear to be fluctuating in a steady monthly range this year, with some exceptions for shorter months with holidays,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “There continues to be a need to step up enforcement, improve technology, and see more changes in consumer behavior.”

These latest figures are provided by YouMail, a totally free robocall blocking app and call protection service for mobile phones. These figures are determined by extrapolating from the robocall traffic attempting to get through to YouMail’s millions of active users.

Most Unwanted Robocall in September
We’ve recorded the same tax scam campaign as the most unwanted robocall for the third month in a row. That campaign made over 50 million robocalls in September from thousands of different numbers. As in this example, the callers continue to push tax debt reduction services. Like many other illegal telemarketing or scam calls, they appear to be violating a variety of telemarketing regulations, as they do not identify the entity making the call, do not provide a call back number, and appear to be calling people who did not give prior consent. Here is the call transcript:

“This is a notification call from our Department of Tax and Financial Settlement Services. The purpose of this call is to inform all US citizens who may owe back taxes about the new back taxes compromise program. This program is part of the American rescue plan put into effect by the new administration and is now open for enrollment. The new compromise program will allow you to significantly reduce or eliminate your back taxes that can now be considered temporarily non-collectible. However, you must select to enroll into the program now it is only open for a limited time. If you have over $10,000 on your back taxes, please press one. If you want us to put your number on our Do Not Call list, please press two.”

September Saw a Big Decrease in Scam Calls
Together, there were roughly 2.1 billion unwanted scam and telemarketing calls in September, down roughly 200 million from August, a welcome respite after August’s big increase. Together scam and spam robocalls made up roughly 50% of all call volume. with payment reminders and other notifications making up the other 50%.

Some calls initially viewed as telemarketing are eventually recognized as illegal telemarketing or scam calls, so it’s important to measure the overall quantity of scam and spam calls combined. A scam call is one that has clearly illegal or fraudulent behavior, such as a call from an enterprise imposter, or one that has a spoofed caller ID. Stir/Shaken continues to reduce the number of robocall campaigns based on spoofed IDs, which drives down the number of obvious scam calls by making them harder to detect, since they appear to be telemarketing campaigns unless there is other evidence of fraud.

“Winners” in September 2022
There was only a single change to the cities, area codes, and states getting the most robocalls in September, as Atlanta’s 678 overlay area code jumped ahead of Dallas’s 214 area code as the 3rd most robocalled area code. The top locations generally fell in line with the roughly 6% overall decline in robocalls this month, with a few exceptions like Baton Rouge that declined 10% in the month and Louisiana as a whole, which declined 9% in calls per person.

These data points are provided by YouMail, a free call protection app for mobile phones. YouMail recently won the American Business Awards’ Gold Stevie Award for Technical Innovation of the Year, and the YouMail app was named the nation’s best robocall-blocking solution in a competition organized by Geoffrey Fowler of the Washington Post.

YouMail blocks unwanted robocallers by making sure the user’s phone doesn’t ring, and then plays an out-of-service message that leads them to think they dialed an invalid number. YouMail identifies problematic numbers and robocalls using a combination of its recently patented audio fingerprinting technology, call patterns, and consumer feedback.

YouMail provides the YouMail Robocall Index to estimate robocall volume across the country and for specific area codes every month. This estimate is formed by extrapolating from the behavior of the billions of calls YouMail has handled for its users, and these statistics are regularly cited by the FCC as a definitive source for national data trends.

CT Bureau

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