Increase in Robocalls

As clocks spring ahead and parts of the country begin to thaw — as much as shifting from arctic to subarctic temperatures merits “thaw” — other seasonal transformations seem to be occurring. Foliage is showing signs of green, beaches are seeing more traffic, and mercifully, the thrust of COVID seems to be waning (fingers crossed). All sorely welcome signs.

One comeback we’ve definitely seen of late, and regrettably so, is the return of the rampant abuse of robocall spam. We wouldn’t wish COVID on our worst enemy, but we’d be OK if the computers powering robocall technology caught a little case of the ILOVEYOU computer virus — who else remembers that far back? Is it even possible —one virus catching another? We’ll look into it. In the meantime: let’s have a look at the Robocall Index!

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It might feel like you haven’t had to deal with robocalls as much as usual the past few months. Those annoying calls felt like they hit their peak about two years ago. Back then, we were getting bombarded a couple times per day, every day. Indeed, in October 2019, robocalls crested to their highest point since 2015 with 5.6 billion placed.

It was so bad, the issue went mainstream

Then a funny little thing happened in April of 2020. The novel coronavirus tanked public health, the global economy, and curiously, the nuisance of robocalls (look at that precipitous dip in April on the December 2020 graph). It turns out that even robocalls are managed by living, breathing beings, so when a hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime crisis attacks the immune systems of the world population, even those animals trying to defraud honest, hardworking people out of their personal information and money need to isolate and play it safe. 

Unfortunately, as the world has inched toward normalcy over the past year (yes, we’ve been managing COVID for an entire year that also happened to feel like a decade), so too have robocalls. You may have noticed a couple of strange numbers hitting your phone recentlyand a smattering of related articles popping up on your feeds.

We’re sorry to report that it’s true, robocalls are back.

A check of the latest numbers bear out what you’ve probably already suspected. Americans were attacked by a robocall 4.6 billion times in February of 2021, the most we’ve seen since the aforementioned October 2019 peak and a 15 percent increase since January 2021. They aren’t just back, they’re nearly as bad as ever. That’s a robocall per person every other day during the shortest month of the year. Sixty-four percent of those calls (almost 3 billion) were specifically attributed as the worst kind: either a scam or telemarketing. The South got hit particularly hard, with Atlanta (171 million robocalls) and Dallas (165 million) taking the brunt of it. Chicago (146 million robocalls), New York (137 million), and Los Angeles (128 million) rounded out the top five.

The Robocall Index contains some real interesting data. In addition to the statistics mentioned above, you can even dive into specific high-volume robocall numbers, their details, and their suspected intent, from health insurance spam to interest rate scams all the way to fax delivery scams (I’m sorry, is it 2021 or 1991?). It’s no wonder our data gets cited by the top newsrooms in the world, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and USA Today, to name a few.

Surviving the Robocall Zombies With YouMail

Now that you know robocalls are rising from the grave like zombies in an apocalypse, what can you do? Well, we wouldn’t bring all this bad news only to leave you high and dry. The FCC has been working on authentication protocol technology to make phone number spoofing much more difficult. It will help, but this is not a problem that can be turned off like a light switch. 

Yep, you guessed it. That’s where YouMail comes in. 

YouMail has stopped more than 1 billion robocalls from ever being made. We do it by extracting powerful data from well over 10 billion calls managed from 350 million phone numbers. That foundation allows us to categorize and stop current robocalls, as well as prevent future attempts, using great intelligence. Our robocall blocking service — along with a more powerful caller ID, custom voicemail greetings, and visual voicemail — are available to you for free on iOS and Android

So as normalcy returns in all its forms, rest assured that it’s still business as usual at YouMail, protecting you from the zombie robocallers back from the dead.

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