At YouMail, we put out the YouMail Robocall Index. which is a monthly estimate of robocall volumes.  The estimate for January 2018 shows that the robocall problem is getting worse.    There were nearly 2.9 billion robocalls, which is full 27% more robocalls than the previous January.

That naturally brings up a question: exactly what are all these calls trying to accomplish?

We decided to try to answer that question, and today put out the first ever detailed analysis of all those robocalls.   One thing we discovered was the relative volumes of different types of robocalls.  That is, roughly:

  1. 25% of robocalls are clearly scams, and not wanted by anyone.
  2. 15% are telemarketing, so the do not call list actually worked to reduce the volume of telemarketing calls.
  3. 33% are payment reminders or debt collectors.
  4. 27% are alerts or reminders, and are usually calls that people wanted.

What does this mean?

Well, it shows that simply blocking every single robocall just won’t cut it.  There are plenty of robocalls that are actually valuable.  After all, you want that call that your prescription has arrived.   And you don’t want to miss the reminder that your new dishwasher is being installed tomorrow.  However, right now those wanted calls are being completely swamped by unwanted calls.

It’ll be very interesting to see how this mix changes over time, as more and more people use YouMail as their robocall blocker, and we learn more and more about the types of robocalls people do and don’t want.


3 thoughts on “What’s The Point of All Those Robocalls, Anyways?

  1. The truth about telemarketer and robocalls. How to stop them.

    In my opinion:
    I have a copper landline for my home phone service. Every day I receive between 2 to 7 telemarketer and Robocalls. I registered my phone number with the Federal Trade Commission DNC registry (do not call registry). This was a big mistake, because it immediately increased the number of calls I received. I purchased a call blocker however it soon proved to be worthless because the telemarketers would constantly spoof or changing their numbers. I called my phone company, that was also a waist of time.

    I had a conversation with a telemarketer and she openly admitted that her company got its phone number from the DNC Registry (do not call registry) and the Public Housing Authority.

    1. The DNC registry (do not call registry) is not only worthless; it is a means for telemarketers to get our phone numbers.
    2. Public Housing Authority is also a phone number source for telemarketers.

    Why is the phone company, the DNC registry and Public Housing Authority culpable? Answer; Follow the money. Probably profit, revenue, employment, etc. Company’s get paid for selling phone lists. Phone companies also overcharge for generally ineffective landline call blocking options and equipment. Everyone profits except the phone customers.

    How to reduce the number of telemarketer calls:
    1. Do not believe anything the DNC registry, a telemarketer or the phone company tells you. Have your phone number completely remove from the DNC Registry. Never report your phone number to the DNC registry.
    2. Contact your Public Housing Authority, file a complaint and have your telephone number removed.
    3. Hang up right away. Never reply to any questions or prompts from a telemarketer. Example, “Press 2 to have your phone number removed”. Don’t do it, this will only add your phone number back on to their call list as a live person.
    4. If you have a cell phone, VoIP, cable or FiOS phone service your provider or others may be able to offer you an app or software to block telemarketers. Try no mo robo, ,it’s free. Copper landlines are often more difficult to control telemarketer calls.
    5. Never give out your phone number on government forms, contest, voter registration, etc.
    6. A call blocker will only be of use if the callers are using the same phone number. However most of the time telemarketer constantly spoof or changing their numbers.
    7. Do a *77 option once a week on your copper landline. With some phone company’s you can try Block Anonymous Callers (*77) however this may also be of limited use.

    Pass this on to other telemarketer victims.


  2. There is the option of registering your number on the “Do Not Call” list, but that doesn’t always work. You need a more reliable solution. That’s where YouMail Smart Blocking comes in. Smart blocking detects call patterns to identify robocallers and plays them a ‘number disconnected’ greeting when they call your phone.

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