Robocalls See Slight Dip in 2022

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  January 06, 2023

Oh, robocalls. Will they ever go away? The answer is more than likely no, but, if there is to be a silver lining, the total number of robocalls Americans suffered in 2022 was every so slightly lower than in 2021. A little progress is better than none, right?

In fact, U.S. consumers are the recipients of around 50.3 billion robocalls in 2022, less than the 50.5 billion total robocalls received in 2021. Still, it’s an annoyingly large number, despite widespread enforcement efforts by government regulations, according to the YouMail Robocall Index.

To be fair, government regulations aren’t there to necessarily block all robocalls and have them disappear with a snap of their fingers. STIR/SHAKEN, for example, combats spoofing, which is when bad actors mask themselves to look legitimate on caller ID as a way to scam their next victim. And if anything, regulations and mobile phone apps like YouMail are keeping things from getting worse when it comes to robocalls.

Look at December. The 4.3 billion robocall mark is 10.1% less than November's count, and the daily count is 13% less than November’s count. So, there is slight improvement for sure. Just not at the pace some are expecting – but perhaps they’re not being realistic if they think robocalls are simply going to disappear.

"The big picture is that robocall volume in the U.S. isn't really changing," said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici (News - Alert). "It feels like mitigation efforts are keeping things from getting worse, but aren't making them materially better.”

Staying with the slight decline trend, 1.7 billion unwanted scam and telemarketing calls were reported in December. This is a decrease of nearly 700 million calls from November. Among the unwanted robocalls is the robocall campaign that involves a solicitation for potential medical compensation related to Camp Lejeune, marked as the most unwanted robocall for the third month in a row.

The bad actors in the robocall campaign appear to 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.

Consumers still need to protect themselves from potential scams, such as the one related to Camp Lejeune. Quilici agrees and suggests consumers continue (or start) using robocall blocking apps.

For those who are unfamiliar with how YouMail (News - Alert) and other similar apps work, they blocks unwanted robocallers by making sure the user's phone doesn't ring.  YouMail’s app plays an out-of-service message intended to leads callers to think they dialed an invalid number.

The optimism for stopping robocalls is not entirely high. At least things are not getting worse. By YouMail’s numbers, things are slightly improving, but the next few months are important to see the direction of where the robocall stats head to, especially with tax season at the doorstep.

Edited by Erik Linask