What’s With All the Robocalls?

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If you haven’t noticed already, we seem to have quite a bad robocall problem. Calls seemingly come in from locations all around the world, and upon answering, are greeted with an automated voice saying you’ve won a free trip to Vegas, owe a large sum of money to the IRS, or simply gibberish.

According to call protection company First Orion, half of all mobile calls are expected to be spam robocalls by the end of the year. In fact, the amount of robocalls has risen from 3.7% in 2017 to 44.6% this year.

Robocalls are typically made using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), an easy-to-use technology that allows scamming opportunists the ability to make billions of automated calls. It turns out some of the more scam-like calls were fairly lucrative too. According to the FTC, each successful scam call netted an average $430.

The problem with these robocalls is that they are extremely easy to make, and so far, it seems like ignoring them only makes scammers place even more calls to you. Due to the success of many of these calls, it has encouraged even more scammers to get in on the practice, only increasing the amount of calls going out.

Many of these calls will participate in phishing, a practice that involves convincing you to give up personal information, including credit cards, bank account numbers, social security, and even home addresses. The FCC is currently working on developing a system that will allow phone companies to proactively block calls that are deemed to most likely be fraudulent. This system, however, is not infallible, with robocalls continuing to plague people across the county.

While there is yet to be an effective method to stopping the robocalls, there are some important practices you can do to protect yourself:

Don’t pick up

If get a call from an unknown number, simply don’t pick up. While this doesn’t stop the calls from coming in, at least you’re protecting yourself from giving up private information.

Register your number

Registering with the National Do Not Call Registry is free, and will stop legit marketers from calling your phone.

Completely ignore the DMV, IRS, and Social Security calls

These three organizations will never call you. Ever. The only method of contact these organizations will use is email, unless you call them first.

Check what your phone provider has for robocalls

Some phone providers offer extra services that will help block unwanted calls. Most of these are free, and can be quite effective in filtering out robocalls.

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