We’ve all been there. You’re sitting down, enjoying some quiet time with your family and your phone rings. You should just let it go to voicemail, but it could be important, so you answer. “Do you want to refinance your home? We can help,” the automated message shouts at you before you hang up in frustration.
If it seems like robocalls have gotten completely out of control in recent years, it’s because they have. In April of this year alone, 4.9 billion robocalls were placed in the United States according to a YouMail Robocall Index. That’s 1,900 calls a second over the course of only one month. The previous month was even higher with over 5 billion robocalls placed in March. On an individual basis, that’s about 15 calls a person, or a call every other day.
According to the same data, nearly 200 million robocalls have been placed to Nevada so far in 2019. That’s about 100 calls per person in this state. When just comparing April 2018 to April 2019 there are over 15 million more robocalls to Nevada this year for that single month.
Robocalls are a growing issue in the United States and one that has largely gone unaddressed. And, besides simply being incredibly annoying, robocalls are dangerous. Nearly 25 million Americans have lost $8.9 billion in phone scams according to a poll conducted last year on behalf of Truecaller. Furthermore, according to a study from First Orion, nearly half of all mobile traffic in the United States will be from scam numbers by the end of this year.
Even more worrisome, many of those calls are spoofed, where a scammer disguises their phone number to look local in order to better entice someone to answer. In fact, not answering has been one way to solve the robocall problem, at least for some. Many of us no longer pick up the phone, or are very wary of answering calls, from numbers we don’t recognize. Apart from possibly missing important calls from loved ones, this affects our businesses and clients as well. What if I miss out on an important call because I was worried it might be spam? A better question is, why haven’t we done something about this sooner? Why is it that scam artists are better prepared and more technologically advanced than everyone else? We have data on how these calls are being made, who is making them and how frequent they are; so why can’t we stop them?
Last month, Nevada’s Attorney General Aaron Ford joined with 41 other states to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take decisive action on this issue. Ford sent comments to the FCC requesting that further action be taken to protect Nevadans saying, “My office is heavily invested in protecting Nevadans from falling victims to scams. In recent years, the number of spoofed calls and the consumer financial losses tied to these scams have nearly doubled.”
Call To Action: I’d like to thank Attorney General Ford for his efforts. Ford’s comments to the FCC are a first step, but more must be done. Let’s stop simply ignoring calls from numbers we don’t recognize and start making some calls of our own. Call your representatives at the state and federal level and demand legislation that helps end robocalls and stop the people behind them.
BY WHOSE AUTHORITY?
For more information on my Commentary and to see some of my backup research, or if you wonder why I take the position I take, go to www.LyleBrennan.com.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”