About 30 percent of phone calls placed in the United States are fraudulent ‘robocalls,’ amounting to about 30 billion total each year that cost U.S. consumers $ 350 million in telemarketing fraud costs, according to figures from multiple sources.
The Federal Trade Commission noted that it received more than 3.4 million robocall complaints in 2016 and, between January 2017 and August 2017, had received more than 3.5 million.
The increase in complaints about robocalls – automated voice calls used by scammers to try to take people’s money – came despite consumers adding themselves to ‘Do Not Call’ registries that make such calls illegal.
Between January and August 2017, more than 3.5 million consumers complained to the Federal Trade Commission about ‘robocalls,’ or automated voice calls used by scammers to try to take people’s money. Pictured is an angry woman on a home telephone service
‘The problem is all the people who don’t respect it, who are the scammers who [couldn’t] care less,’ the CEO of blocking service YouMail told CNBC this past summer.
So while legal telemarketing operations – certain sorts of fundraisers, for example – cannot call people who are on Do Not Call lists, scammers who are not bothered with legal technicalities simply bypass them.
CNBC notes that many such scammers are actually calling from abroad, and so to a certain extent are untouchable by U.S. authorities.
All the while, the phone user cannot differentiate a legitimate call from a robocall and wastes valuable time on the phone.
Some of the more elaborate robocall scams use a tactic known as ‘spoofing,’ or calling ‘from’ numbers that appear to be authentic.
Once a person answers one of these calls, their phone number is marked and will be exploited at some point, regardless of whether the number has been registered on the ‘do not call’ list.
Small businesses and/or start-ups that have their employees use cell phones rather than landlines can be particularly affected by such ‘robocalls’. Pictured is an angry man on the telephone
The Federal Communications Commission has been waging war on such scammers and recently issued new call-blocking rules in an effort to curb such calls to cell phones.
But their efforts still do little to deter criminals looking to take advantage of consumers.
Aside from wasting time, there is a risk to businesses here – particularly to small business start-ups, which often rely on employees using their own personal cell phones for business calls in the absence of landlines.
Recommendations for small businesses to avoid the pitfalls of robocalls include using business lines rather than personal lines.
Businesses can do so through, for example, utilizing a cloud-based phone system that runs off of the Internet rather than a telecommunications provider.
‘The role of technology is to enhance business efficiency and quality.
‘Cloud-based Voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] phone systems offer advanced phone system features and a unified workplace phone system that works where the team works,’ said Amr Ibrahim, the CEO of cloud-based phone service ULTATEL.