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Are Robocalls Getting Worse?

Are Robocalls Getting Worse?

By Jeff Swenson, Founder and CEO

Our Old Group, LLC

January 26, 2024

 

The Rise and Fall of Robocalls: How Technology is Shaping the Battle Against Unwanted Calls

If you’ve ever been interrupted by an annoying robocall during an important meeting or family dinner, you’re not alone. But fear not, because technology is fighting back against this intrusive nuisance. In this article, we explore the rise and fall of robocalls and how advancements in technology are shaping the battle against unwanted calls.

Robocalls, automated phone calls initiated by a computerized system, have become a massive problem in recent years. They not only disrupt our daily lives but can also lead to scams and identity theft. However, with the constant evolution of technology, there is hope for relief from this modern-day annoyance.

From implementing screening apps to stricter regulations and blocking services, various methods are being employed to combat unwanted calls. In addition, telecommunication companies, in conjunction with governmental bodies, are taking action to identify and penalize the culprits behind these calls.

Join us as we delve into the world of robocalls, examine the technology that is helping in the fight against them, and discuss the potential future landscape of telecommunications. It’s time we reclaim control over our phones and put an end to the rise of robocalls once and for all.

The impact of robocalls on consumers

Robocalls have become a massive problem in recent years. They frequently employ technology to make it appear as though the call is coming from a local number, making it more likely you will answer.  

Often there will be nothing there if you answer.  The calling party was probably just trying to determine if your number is a working number.  In other cases, you may hear a recorded message.  And in yet others, once you answer, the call is connected to a live person who can then present their pitch.

These calls not only disrupt our daily lives, but they can also lead to scams and identity theft. Many consumers have reported receiving fraudulent calls, claiming to be from government agencies or financial institutions, attempting to obtain personal information. These calls have caused significant financial losses and emotional distress for individuals who have fallen victim to these scams. 

Additionally, the sheer volume of unwanted robocalls has made it increasingly difficult for consumers to answer legitimate calls, resulting in missed opportunities and frustration.

From Karl Bode for Techdirt onJanuary 16th 2024: “..Americans received more than 55 billion robocalls in 2023, a 9% increase from 2022.”

Legislative efforts to combat robocalls

Recognizing the severity of the robocall issue, governments around the world have taken action to protect consumers. In the United States, for instance, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented regulations aimed at reducing unwanted calls. One such regulation is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits telemarketers from making unsolicited calls to consumers without prior consent. 

 

Violators of this act can face hefty fines, providing a strong deterrent for companies engaging in illegal robocall practices. Additionally, lawmakers have introduced bills to strengthen existing legislation and empower consumers to take legal action against robo callers.

However, many of the companies generating these unwanted calls are located overseas or behind anonymous internet addresses and can be impossible to locate and hence, impose enforcement.

The rise of call-blocking technologies

As the robocall problem escalated, the need for effective call-blocking technologies became evident. Fortunately, advancements in technology have led to the development of innovative solutions to combat unwanted calls. Call-blocking apps and services have gained popularity among smartphone and landline users alike, offering features such as call screening, call blocking, and spam detection. 

These apps leverage machine learning algorithms to analyze incoming calls and identify potential robocalls or spam. In other cases, use of a recorded greeting provided by a cloud based service screens out all automated calls but allows friends and family to forward through.  

By automatically blocking or redirecting these calls to voicemail or screening and forwarding calls,  users can regain control over their phones and reduce the disruption caused by unwanted calls.

How technology is used to identify and block robocalls

To effectively combat robocalls, technology is being leveraged to identify and block these unwanted calls. Telecom companies are implementing sophisticated algorithms that analyze call patterns and identify known robo callers. By continuously updating their databases with new information, these systems can accurately detect and block incoming robocalls in real-time. 

 

Additionally, advancements in voice recognition technology enable call screening apps to differentiate between human callers and automated systems, further enhancing their ability to block unwanted calls.

The future of robocalls and technology’s role in preventing them

While significant progress has been made in combating robocalls, the battle is far from over. As technology continues to evolve, so do the techniques employed by robo callers. However, advancements in technology are also providing new tools and methods to prevent unwanted calls. 

Furthermore, collaborations between telecommunication companies, regulators, and technology developers will help create a unified approach to combatting robocalls and protect consumers.

Tips for consumers to protect themselves against robocalls

While technology is playing a significant role in the fight against robocalls, there are steps that consumers can take to protect themselves. 

First, individuals should register their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry or similar services in their respective countries. This helps reduce the number of unwanted calls received from legitimate telemarketers. 

Additionally, consumers should be cautious about sharing personal information over the phone and avoid engaging with suspicious callers. 

Finally, regularly updating call-blocking apps and reporting any robocalls received can contribute to the collective effort of combating unwanted calls.

 

Resources for further information and assistance

If you would like to learn more about robocalls and how to protect yourself against them, the following resources can provide valuable information and assistance:

– Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website: [www.fcc.gov](https://www.fcc.gov)

– National Do Not Call Registry: [www.donotcall.gov](https://www.donotcall.gov)

– Call-blocking service providers: OurOldNumber.com, Truecaller, Hiya, RoboKiller, Nomorobo

Remember, knowledge is power, and together we can fight back against unwanted calls and reclaim control over our phones. Stay informed, stay protected, and let technology be your ally in this ongoing battle against robocalls.

 

Author Bio: Jeff Swenson got his start in the telecommunications industry with the Bell System.  Throughout a career with Mountain Bell, AT&T and then several national and international telecommunications companies, he acquired a thorough understanding of the industry as it evolved.  He came up with the idea that ultimately became OurOldNumber.com in 2008 along with the help of several former colleagues.  Over a period of a few years the concept was developed, refined, and tested, launching to the public in February of 2016.

 

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