Scammers Continue to Shift Tactics as Robocalls Decline in April

By Greg Tavarez May 18, 2023

I can’t think of many things that are more annoying than the bombardment of robocalls and robotexts received throughout a given day. Finally able to sit down to relax after a long day of work, you turn on the TV and bam, the phone starts to ring with an unrecognizable number displayed on the screen.

Most people have the mindset of “If the call is important, they will leave a voicemail.” But then calls are received with the local area code that makes call recipients ponder on whether to answer in case it is something important.

They answer it, and surprise, surprise, a “robot” is on the other end of the call. At this point, call recipients can only hang up, feeling frustrated and annoyed at the situation. Those that don’t hang up risk becoming victims of scams if a bad actor is on the other line, and some do fall for those mischievous acts, which only adds fuel to the fire that is frustration.

Measures are being taken to keep consumers safe such as the innovation of call and text blockers like Robokiller and the STIR/SHAKEN framework. Speaking of STIR/SHAKEN, which is used against caller ID spoofing, the robocall mitigation framework in the U.S has reduced the year-on-year growth of fraudulent losses to illegal robocalling. So, it is working.

But that is not all that declined. The month of April also saw a reduction in robocalls, in general, by 13% compared to March, according to Robokiller. Though, consumers should not get too excited quite yet. Historically, Robokiller says that the number of robocalls jumps up again in May since April usually is a slow period for robocalls.

"Robocall volume dropped in April for the fourth consecutive year," said Patrick Falzon, general manager of Teltech, creators of Robokiller. "We've noticed this seasonality and relish Americans receiving some reprieve, even if only temporary. No matter the case, we believe ongoing efforts by the FCC (News - Alert) to address scam calls and scammers shifting their focus to robotexts will continue to prove useful in reducing robocalls."

Uh, shifting their focus to robotexts? That’s correct. Scammers know where the focus is at, and they commit their acts if they are being watched. So, naturally, they changed tactics by using robotexts. In fact, Americans received 13 billion robotexts in April, which is an 8% increase from March, according to Robokiller.

Robokiller anticipates this trend will continue to hold for the next few months and may spike again in the latter half of 2023 as it did last year, especially with another presidential election on the horizon. The FCC did announce plans to combat robotexts, but these efforts will take time to develop and enforce and even more time for consumers to see an impact.

In the meantime, consumers should take necessary steps to stop phone scams. Don't answer phone calls or texts from unknown numbers, especially those that call or text at odd hours. Don't follow prompts like "Press 1" or click any links. Never provide personal information like banking details or other sensitive information. Download a spam text and call blocker like Robokiller.

Robokiller is available for download in the Apple (News - Alert) App Store and Google Play.

Edited by Alex Passett
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