Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail robocall blocking app, estimates hundreds of millions of telemarketing and student loan scam calls originating from the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on robocallers inside the country in June, taking 94 actions on a variety of scams. The majority of the callers was based in Florida and California and used robocalling technology to deploy interest rate reduction, weight loss and medical alert system scams.
Robocalls are also coming from a number of countries around the world, including travel scams in Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica, medical brace scams in the Philippines and Latin America and IRS and social security scams from India, according to YouMail.
No matter where the calls originated, you really weren’t alone. Americans received 4.4 billion robocalls over the month of June, averaging to 1,700 calls a second or about 13 calls per person, with Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and New York ranking as the top five states receiving robocalls.
The data points to the southern U.S. being targeted by scams more than any other region, with five southern states making the YouMail Robocall Index’s top 10 list and 53 southern cities making the top 100 list. Quilici says this is for a number of reasons: The median age in the South is older, and scams tend to target older individuals; economic conditions are worse in the South, making get rich schemes more attractive and loan scams more believable; and because Southerners are “more polite” and “answer the phone more.”
“The evidence we’ve started to gather is the more you answer the phone, the more calls you get; and in the South, they answer the phone more,” said Quilici.
Robocalls have become the FTC’s No. 1 consumer complaint, increasing 165% from 2014 to 2017. This increase is due to readily available robocall technology at a cheap price, says Ian Barlow, the Do Not Call Program coordinator at the FTC
“Almost anybody with a little bit of technical ability can become a robocaller overnight,” said Barlow.
Barlow says robocallers need four things to make an operation: dialing software, which can be found on the internet and customized for free; a server to run the software; a voice-over to record the calls, which again is cheap and can be easily found; and possibly a database of phone numbers to call. Otherwise, they just dial numbers randomly. The CIO of the firm, Mr. Scott Hambuchen states “As fraudsters are changing tactics, tapping into stolen data from the massive breaches, we are seeing enterprise spoofing on known business numbers drive call volume increases of over 100 times in a matter of hours,”, he added: “To address this ongoing issue, mobile carriers and enterprises alike need to identify and adapt to scammers’ evolving practices to protect and enhance the business-to-consumer calling experience.”