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US phones received under 4.5 bn robocalls in August

Americans received just under 4.5 billion robocalls in August, marking a massive 17.4% increase from July, both on a monthly and daily basis. Specifically, August averaged 144.4 million calls/day and 1,672 calls/second, compared to 123.1 million calls/day and 1,424 calls/second in July. This is the highest volume of robocalls in a single month since March 2021.

So far this year, US consumers have received some 32.6 billion robocalls, and the country has continued on a pace to exceed 48 billion robocalls for the year, roughly the same as last year.

“It was unexpected to see such a large jump in robocalls in August, despite all the efforts to address the problem,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “It suggests that 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 August
August’s most unwanted robocall campaign was the same tax scam campaign from July that continues to make tens of millions of robocalls every week from thousands of different numbers. As in this example, the callers are pushing 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.”

August 2022 Saw Big Increases In All Robocall Categories
Together, there were roughly 2.3 billion unwanted scam and telemarketing calls in August, up from roughly 1.9 billion in July. This heavy calling volume was driven by a 32% increase in telemarketing calls and an 8% increase in scam calls. However, we also saw a roughly 15% increase in both notifications and payment reminders, the types of robocalls which are generally acceptable to consumers.

It’s likely that some calls initially viewed as telemarketing will eventually be 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.

CT Bureau

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