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More than 2,000 robocalls were made every second in October, a new report says. What is the US doing to stop them?

Posted: 11:58 AM, Nov 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-19 13:59:02-05
More than 2,000 robocalls were made every second in October, a new report says. What is the US doing to stop them?

About 2,115 robocalls were made every second in October, according to a new report from YouMail, a software developer that specializes in visual voicemail and blocking robocalls.

In the U.S., callers received 5.7 billion robocalls in October 2019, the report says. This is a 25% increase from September and a 7% increase from the all-time high of 5.2 billion robocalls in March 2019, according to the report.

"With this latest jump, the U.S. has received roughly 49 billion robocalls already this year, more than were received during the full year of 2018," YouMail says in a news release.

While robocalls can come from legitimate institutions — like payment reminders you signed up for or school alerts — scams were the leading type of robocalls in October. Of the estimated 5.7 billion robocalls in October, 2.65 billion were scams.

Five types of scams led the way in October, each one racking up more than 100 million robocalls. Health-related scams were the most popular, accounting for about 473 million robocalls in October. Interest rate scams and student loan scams were also common with about 236 million and 218 million robocalls, respectively. Social security scams and warranty scams were also common with about 153 million and 105 million robocalls each.

YouMail's report also spotlights different regions where robocalls are especially rampant. According to the report, Atlanta was the city that received the most robocalls in October and Washington, D.C., had the highest number of robocalls per person. Texas was the state with the most robocalls at 636 million and Louisiana was the state with the most robocalls per person, averaging about 35 calls per person.

With robocalls reaching billions per month, what is the U.S. doing to curb them?

Six lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate announced last week that they will soon send legislation to the president that will, hopefully, bring an end to robocalls.

“Today, we are proud to announce that we have come to an agreement in principle on legislation, the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act, to combat the robocall epidemic that we believe can be signed into law by the President,” the six Congressional leaders said in a press release. “It’s time to put Americans back in charge of their phones. Our agreement will require telephone carriers to verify calls and allow robocalls to be blocked in a consistent and transparent way, all at no extra charge to consumers. The agreement also gives the FCC and law enforcement the ability to quickly go after scammers. We look forward to finalizing the bill text in the coming days.”

But if you can't wait for Congressional action on robocalls, there are other ways to curb them. In addition to YouMail's robocall-blocking app, Robokiller and Nomorobo also block robocalls. You can also sign up for the Federal Trade Commission's "National Do Not Call Registry." It's important to note, however, that the registry won't stop all robocalls, just the sales ones.

"The Do Not Call Registry stops sales calls from real companies," the website states. "The Registry is a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call. The FTC does not and cannot block calls. The Registry can’t stop calls from scammers who ignore the Registry."

You can find also find a list of robocall-blocking apps and specific protections your cellphone carrier offers at ctia.org, a website for the U.S. wireless communications industry.