The Robocall Flood Can't Be Held Back
If you've had a call recently from a machine, like Lisa at Cardholder Services, then you're in very good company, or at least, in very broad company. A new report from the YouMail Robocall Index says that there's a new record-setting development afoot, as robocalls in the U.S. reached a staggering new high of 2.64 billion calls received just in the month of August alone. That's enough to mean a new record.
The previous record was set back in March, when the YouMail Robocall Index recorded a total of 2.5 billion robocalls received for the month. The new record breaks down in almost depressing fashion, equaling roughly 85.2 million calls per day, or just shy of 1,000 calls every second somewhere in the United States.
The most robocalls for the month went to Texas, which itself accounted for 298.3 million calls, with California not far behind. Florida, New York and Georgia rounded out the top five, but it was clear that area codes in southern states were the most frequent targets. As to where the robocalls came from, California provided the clear winner—if you can call it that—at 206.7 million calls placed in August. That took over from the previous high-water mark posted by Texas. Los Angeles autodialers specifically placed enough calls—67.7 million—to knock former autodialer kingpin city Chicago out of the running, which was knocked clear down to fifth place for calls made. Filling in the top five were New York City at 63.9 million, Columbus at 60.1 million and Dallas at 56 million. Debt collectors and credit card companies were the biggest users of robocalls, as debt collectors comprised 17 of the 20 biggest robocalling numbers.
What's more, the Robocall Index may not be telling the whole story, as bad as it already is. YouMail's Index is based on calls reported as spam or blocked outright by the growing numbers of YouMail subscribers. While it's possible that YouMail is doing some interpolation to cover the non-subscribers' call counts out there, any issues in the counting may well mean these numbers are even higher than YouMail indicates.
Still, the story as it sits isn't exactly a good one. The biggest issue here is that these numbers represent two major problems simultaneously: one, that we have so many robocalls to address in the first place, and two, that so many of these are related to debt collection. This suggests that there's a lot of unresolved debt out there in addition to the growing flood of robocalls, despite the best efforts of services like YouMail's line.
This study reveals a lot of trouble afoot for several reasons, and we'll have a tough time righting all these issues to get the record robocall numbers back to more manageable levels.
Edited by Alicia Young