Spam and bot calls are on the rise again

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Unwanted calls and texts – the scourge of phones everywhere – are on the rise.

Miserable Americans received about 6.2 billion unwanted calls in August 2021, which is a 10% increase from July, according to RoboKiller, an app that blocks unwanted calls and texts.

After declining 5% in July, calls using caller ID spoofing — the practice of concealing a caller’s identity by falsifying information transmitted to a caller ID display — increased by 4% in August.

And scams aren’t limited to phone calls. Spam texts are also on the rise, and they are actually more prevalent than robocalls now. Spam volume increased 3% to 7.6 billion in August.

All of this is bad news for those who had hoped that widespread adoption of STIR/SHAKEN – an industry-standard caller ID authentication technology – would quickly end automated calls that use caller ID spoofing.

RoboKiller says STIR/SHAKEN’s relative lack of success so far may be a result of the fact that smaller carriers — those with 100,000 subscriber lines or fewer — have until mid-2023 to adopt the framework. However, RoboKiller also warns people to temper their expectations about the technology:

“We expect STIR/SHAKEN to prove useful, eventually, but it is unlikely to stop the spam problem on its own — even with full adoption.”

To make matters worse, the spam problem is likely to get worse. Bot texts overtook bot calls by sheer volume in the summer of 2020, and the volume of this spam continues to grow.

RoboKiller says that in August, spammers sent 20% more unwanted text messages than they sent automated calls.

RoboKiller predicts that by the end of this year, the volume of spam will increase by 55% during 2020, which could lead to expected financial losses from such texts totaling 101 million dollars, an increase of 18% from 2020.

For tips on keeping bot calls away, see “8 Easy Ways to Stop bot Calls.”

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