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Bombarded by spam: robocalls up by 60% in 2018

Bombarded by spam: robocalls up by 60% in 2018

It's not your imagination - robocalls are on the rise. According to year-end data from robocall management company YouMail, the US saw a staggering 60% increase in them, resulting in around 48 million calls just in 2018.

Robocalling is a practice in which marketers or scammers use an autodialer to deliver pre-recorded messages to thousands of phone numbers at once. It has become pervasive in the US and it is increasingly difficult to deal with it. This is not helped by the ability of scammers to spoof their number - they often use local area codes to trick people into picking up their phone.

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Robocalls are biggest issue cell carries need to address in 2019. / © AndroidPIT

"It's driving people to not answer their phone and it's kind of created this death spiral of phone calls as the robocallers ramp up their efforts, and the legitimate robocalls try harder to get through" said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici in a statement to CNBC. Yes, around 60% of robocalls are considered 'legitimate' despite being just as annoying. That includes calls from schools, political candidates and so on. The other 40% are scam calls.

What has been done to stop the constant influx of robocalls? Both cell carries and smartphone manufacturers are trying to find a solution. Google, for example, introduced Call Screen in October. The feature lets robots deal with robots. If you get a call and don't want to pick up, Google Assistant can screen it for you. It can ask who is calling and why, while you see a real-time transcript of the caller's responses. However, this feature is currently only available to owners of Pixel 2, 2 XL, 3, or 3XL devices, and it doesn't prevent the calls entirely, which is the desired solution for many consumers.

Cell carries, on the other hand, have adopted a new security protocol called STIR/SHAKEN, which aims to "verify that the number displayed on caller ID is the same number that actually originated the call" said David Weissman, a spokesman for Verizon, speaking to CNBC.

However, since the technology used to make the spam robocalls is cheap and easy to use, it is likely that robocalls won't disappear immediately, no matter the measures taken.

What do you think? What measures should be taken against robocalls? Let us know in the comments.

Source: BGR, CNBC

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  • Suzana Maam thank you for the article

    I think telecommunication service providers should be held responsible for spam related disturbances over the network and through a centralized spam filter database should eliminate such robo calls, along with providing their user base with an option of a comple do not disturb mode. After all they are responsible for quality service, aren't they?

  • Very rarely get them. Generally deny unrecognized calls on the lockscreen, and see if they use voicemail. Nearly all spam and fraud calls are from throwaway or spoofed one-off numbers so blacklisting is a waste of time. A week of using a "Contacts Only" call interceptor has stopped persistent calls, so far - I like Calls Blacklist PRO (Vlad Lee) which works on both phone and SMS (must be temporarily set as default SMS client) to prevent ringing from non-contacts, but puts up a notification and logs. Reverse call lookup websites can be helpful - one time a persistent local caller was a nice elderly woman who said my number was on a 1990s business card. Outright frauds and dirt usually leave live contact info, I report to a "CrimeStoppers" police website, saying they are perps of the most heinous crimes on the menu, so the cops will actually give them a ring up - that's the nuclear option for me.