Robocalling Reaches a Record High

By Lindsay Frankel
Inside Subprime: December 2, 2019

Each American received an average of more than 17 robocalls in the month of October alone. That’s a collective 5.7 billion robocalls, according to a report from a robocall-blocking service. Not only does that constitute a 25 percent increase from the prior month, but it’s also an all-time high, with seven percent more robocalls received in October than in March, the previous record high month.  

And with 49 billion robocalls received so far this year. The U.S. has already seen more robocalls in 2019 than during all of last year. Some robocalls aren’t harmful; they come from telemarketers or companies issuing alerts or payment reminders. But 47 percent of robocalls received in October were from scam artists intending to take advantage of the recipient financially or steal the identity of the victim. 

“Here we go again – October’s record robocall volume reminds us there’s a long way to go before the robocall problem is solved,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici in a statement. “It’s hard to imagine, but we are still on pace to wind up with nearly 60 billion calls to U.S. consumers this year.”

The city most affected by robocalls in October was Atlanta, followed by Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago

The robocalling problem continues to harm Americans even after the Federal Communications Commission authorized carriers to block robocalls in May and the Federal Trade Commission led a joint crackdown with law enforcement partners in June.

As Americans wise up to new scams brought by fraudsters over the phone, robocallers are getting more sophisticated. Some will impersonate the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, or other authorities over voicemail to intimidate recipients into calling back and providing identifying information. 

The best defense is to never answer a phone number you don’t recognize, even if you know the area code. And never give out financial information, passwords, or other private information to a caller. If the caller claims to work for a company or agency, hang up and call the company or agency directly to ensure the call is authentic. 

It’s also a good idea to add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry, which will help with some sales calls.

If you receive a fraudulent call, you can file a complaint with the FTC.

For more information on scams, predatory lenders and payday loans, see our city and state financial guides including states and cities like California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and more.