KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Robocalls Rising Again, But Experts Say It’s Getting Tougher For The Bad Guys

Jul 17, 2020, 6:28 PM | Updated: 8:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – How much have you enjoyed the last couple months of relative peace from robocalls? Well, brace yourselves, because theyre making a comeback.

While theres been a huge dent in robocalls during the coronavirus pandemic, experts said it will be short-lived.

The good news: It is going to be tougher for the bad guys to dial you up.

The automated robocalls have been the frustrating bane of the last few years, from unsolicited calls from crooks and annoying product or service pitches to scammers and identity thieves.

Alex Quilici is the CEO of YouMail, a company that records and transcribes voicemails. It also tracks junk calls through its Robocall Index and uses data from its users to extrapolate estimates of robocall volumes across the country.

Robocalls are on the rise, but experts don’t think it’ll rise to pre-pandemic levels.

Their data showed spam calls are way down compared to before the pandemic started.

From peak to the trough, it was about a 50 percent drop in robocalls that we saw, Quilici told KSL. Where did all the scammers go? Well, they went home.

As everything slowed down, theres more social distancing and companies in the U.S. closed their call centers and (the volume of robocalls) dropped, Quilici explained. When India closed their centers and Pakistan and the Philippines, when they locked down their call centers  all closed completely.

Call centers outside the U.S. dont necessarily have the same access to networking technology that allows agents to work at home.

Theres not great broadband in India, for example, as you get beyond the hubs of the main cities, Quilici said. If they dont have a call center to route the Press Ones or Press Twos to, or the callbacks to, it doesnt do any good to do the robocalls, so they stopped making them.

As countries around the world begin to reopen, the calls were ramping up again.

After going for a few months with virtual robocall silence to our ringers, perhaps it just feels like they are worse than ever.

Will the number of harassing calls return to their pre-COVID levels? Quilici thinks they will never be that bad again.

Theres enough between the changes to the economy, the changes due to the pandemic, enforcement efforts, new technologies, explained Quilici. All that is making it harder and harder for robocallers to get through to consumers.

An entire industry around stopping fraudulent calls has surfaced in recent years.

New technology has been deployed to help the average cell phone user avoid spam calls.

New technology that blocks spam calls as well as your phones Caller ID will identify when the number calling you is being disguised.

As robocall scams become less productive for crooks, they will move on to some other dubious way to steal money and identities.

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Gephardt: Robocalls Rising Again, But Experts Say It’s Getting Tougher For The Bad Guys