Robocalls Try to Dampen Spirits in Holiday Months

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  December 13, 2022

The holiday season is here, and everyone is all smiles as they prepare to celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Yule, the winter solstice, or whatever they choose to  observe. But, of course, there are things out there that  say, “Bah! Humbug!” to the holiday spirit – robocalls, for instance.

In fact, U.S. consumers are in the midst of a robocall barrage with 46.1 billion robocalls being reported for 2022 through November (certainly nothing to be thankful for), according to the YouMail Robocall Index. November was the highest month for the robocall count since March 2021, totaling over 4.7 billion for the month. This is a 3.8% increase from October and a 7.3% increase on a daily basis.

With November factored in, the country is on pace to hit 50.3 billion robocalls for the full year, which would be just barely under 50.5 billion total robocalls reported in 2022.

A 5% increase in notifications and reminders is reported for November, which did include a mix of political "get out and vote" reminder robocalls and an increase in reminders to people behind on credit cards or other payments.

If there is a bright spot with the increase from October to November, it is that scam and spam robocalls make up less than half of all robocalls, continuing a recent downward trend. Another positive trend is that the volume of obvious scam calls is decreasing by 5%, although telemarketing calls were up over 8%.

STIR/SHAKEN reduces the number of robocall campaigns based on spoofed IDs, but that doesn’t stop robocalls entirely, which is why an increase is seen for November. But caution should still be taken, especially with scam robocalls continuing to take on new faces.

A campaign that is a solicitation for potential medical compensation related to Camp Lejeune is the most unwanted call for November. This campaign appears to have made nearly 100 million robocalls in for the month from thousands of different numbers.

The callers violate various telemarketing regulations as they do not immediately identify the entity making the call, do not provide a call back number and appear to call people who did not give prior consent.

"Robocalls continue to slowly increase, despite stepped up enforcement and the roll out of STIR/SHAKEN," said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici (News - Alert). "It suggests that consumers continue to need to protect themselves with robocall blocking apps, since the problem is just not going to magically go away."

To assist with the necessary precautions as Quilici suggests, consumers should look into YouMail (News - Alert) and similar apps that block unwanted robocallers by making sure the user's phone doesn't ring and plays an out-of-service message that leads them to think they dialed an invalid number. This adds another defense to block the pesky robocalls that try to bring down the holiday spirit.

Edited by Erik Linask