Reversing a recent down trend, robocalls increased by 5% in August to 5.4 billion, according to Robokiller Insights.
The worst offenders, the report said, were robocalls related to financial services, debt collection, medical scams, and loans.
It’s not just the scam calls that are a problem; robotexts are a problem, too. Even with a 4% decrease in robotexts, Americans still received 11.3 billion robotexts in August.
While some robocalls and robotexts are legitimately helpful, like appointment reminders, many are responsible for financial losses. According to Robokiller Insights, Americans lost $9.2 billion to phone scams in August alone. Scammers are on pace to steal in excess of last year’s record $85 billion.
The growth in robocalls is occurring despite Federal Communications actions to deter them. In the spring, the FCC adopted its latest rules to combat illegal robocalls, including by enhancing and expanding provider obligations to implement the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework.
The new rules required intermediate providers that receive unauthenticated IP calls directly from domestic originating providers to use STIR/SHAKEN to authenticate those calls. Although STIR/SHAKEN has been widely implemented under FCC rules, some originating providers are not capable of using the framework.
In other cases, unscrupulous originating providers may deliberately fail to authenticate calls. By requiring the next provider in the call path to authenticate those calls, the FCC closes a gap in the caller ID authentication regime and facilitates government and industry efforts to identify and block illegal robocalls.
“After the FCC’s success in taking down infamous robocalls, scammers are getting smarter,” Giulia Porter, Robokiller vice president, said in a prepared statement. “With student loan repayments resuming in October and the holiday shopping season right around the corner, Americans should be aware of scams impersonating well-known brands or too-good-to-be-true debt relief offers.”