It has been a long time! tellows hopes you enjoyed the summer. This time we would like to present the latest statistics about phone scams from the past two months. As a reminder, a bill ‘TRACED ACT’ was passed in July and it aims to lower the number of robocalls. However, according to Forbes, robocalls are still prevailing and the number of robocalls in the second quarter this year was 38% higher than last year; the number of imposter phone scams was also 28% higher.
It is already mid July! tellows hopes that you have a good start of the summer. In the last article, tellows shared information about the Bill of ‘Traced Act’ being passed in the Senate. Although we are now getting more and more help in preventing spam calls, caller ID and call blocking apps continue to be important!
In the US, half of the phone calls people received are considered to be spam calls. According to FTC, in 2019, 78% of frauds are conducted by phone and the total reported loss is 83M USD. Till July this year, there are already 143K reports of phone frauds. However, compared to last year with a total loss of phone frauds estimated to be 442M USD, we can already see that the measures adopted are helpful and it is promising that one day we will no longer have to deal with spam calls!
Robocalls have been bothering us a long time and it has recently been becoming more and more unbearable. Last year the number of robocalls reached 26 billion – a 46% increase comparing to the estimated robocalls in 2017. A bill regarding to nuisance calls is passed by the US Senate with 97 to 1 vote in the later of May. The bill, named TRACED (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) Act, will lift the fine to $10,000 per robocall and extend the statute of limitations on robocalls from two to three years.
According to CNN politics, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed that
“There’s very little more annoying to New Yorkers than being woken up in the dead of night by automated calls trying to scam them out of their hard-earned money,”
“The TRACED Act is just what we need to hang up on these nonstop robocalls, and the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass it ASAP.”
Telecom companies are happy with the result. With this new regulation established, carriers will be able to implement robocall blocking technologies for customers automatically.
According to First Orion, also sited by Federal Communications Commission report,almost half of the calls received in the US will be a spam in 2019. According to a caller ID and blocking company in the US, it stated that there were 26.3 billion robocalls made in 2018. All these figures point to a skyrocketed trends of spam calls and especially for robocalls, that bothering almost half of the residents in the US. We have all received spam calls more or less before, but what are these Robocalls and how do they get so popular?
What are Robocalls?
Just imagine you receive a phone call one afternoon from THE US Federal Grants Administration and you think to yourself, what could they possibly want with me? You receive the news of a lifetime – you have been awarded a grant to initiate any project or further your education of your choosing, all at a total value of $8000.00!*
Does it sound too good to be true? The latest scam to sweep across America is the Government Grant scam and unfortunately my friends, this one hasn’t landed anyone thousands of dollars richer. What usually happens to the contrary, is that the caller claims himself to be a representative of the US Federal Grants Administration and attempts to lure the recipient to believe that they have qualified for a government grant. In order to retrieve this “free money,” the caller firstly requires the person’s bank account number or a small figured deposit.
We have some beneficial information with what you might hear, see and expect, to help easily recognize this Government Grant Scam and useful tips for proceeding with the phone call.
Most of us now are glued to our mobile phones. Kids can be playing in the other room but by golly our phones are always within arms length or even closer. Have you ever asked yourself how you ended up with missed calls on your phone? Surely, you would have it heard it ring. And then we sight this phone number we’ve never seen before. Once upon a time we would just simply hit the call back button but we live in different times now, a time where we need to move with caution and implicate security measures with almost everything we do. We have another reason why.
Before we give you our Most Annoying Numbers for the week, here’s a list of institutions that can help you deal with a scam:
1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has consumer advisories on international and text message scams.
2. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information on phone scams and spam.
3. The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
4. All major U.S. wireless companies can help you with their spam blocking technologies.
And so this week for our top 3, we have a Spanish autodialer with 11 comments and 2085 search requests; we have a spammer looking for k.smith because her debit card has been locked, and lastly, we have our resident caller telling you to claim your Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise prize. Remember guys, don’t fall for it!
tellows is once again receiving several comments regarding Carribean numbers, this time from Montserrat, with code number 664. The scam starts by calling anyone, usually during late hours, so one would think that it is an emergency and would then make a return call. Unfortunately, it is often just a recording generated by a computer system with the purpose of making the victim stay on hold for a longer time. Apparently, it is coming from a „pay-per-call“ line (similar to area code 900 numbers in the US) that charges high fees including international rates.
This scam has been going on since the 90’s and because it is not a US-based number, it is not under US regulations. It would be difficult for those people who were scammed to get assistance and ask for a credit or refund from its local phone carriers since for one, they did make the call, and second, it is already another foreign company in the Carribean that they should be dealing with.
It’s one of those late night calls that you were not able to pick up. You called back early in the morning thinking that it was an emergency. Unfortunately, you heard obscene moaning and realized it’s a scam. Then your phone bill arrives, and there goes an extra $100 charge.
Due to the huge amount of complaints received, police departments across Utah are warning people not to answer and not to call back numbers from the 473 area code. Apparently, some residents in the area who just picked up the phone and did not even return the call were getting a $19.95 charge on their phone bill.