FCC Fails, Robocalls (and Complaints) Increase, Along with Number-Hijacking

“Despite new initiatives by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and carriers, robocalls aren’t on the wane,” reports Forbes.

“Americans are still facing a scourge of 200 million unwanted robocalls a day, according to a report from Transaction Network Services (TNS), a major telecommunications network and services company. And nearly 30% of all U.S. calls were negative (nuisance, scam or fraud calls) in the first six months of the year, TNS said…” Nuisance calls jumped 38% from the third quarter of last year, while high-risk calls — such as scammers targeting identity theft — were up 28%, TNS said. And the FCC actually saw an 8% increase year-over year in consumer robocall complaints when comparing February-June 2019 to February-June 2018, as cited by TNS in the report. There is a limit to what major U.S. carriers can do. They are only a small part of the problem, TNS said. While 70% of all calls (normal calls and unwanted calls) come from major U.S. carriers, only 12% of the high-risk calls are from the big carriers. That means the problem lies with lesser-known providers…

A growing threat is robocall hijacking — when a subscriber’s number is hijacked by a bad guy — doubling over last year’s figure, TNS said. TNS estimates that 1 in 1,700 numbers were hijacked by spoofers in 28 day-period. In the last report the frequency was only 1 in 4,000. In one case of hijacking, a spoofer placed over 36,000 scam calls in a 3-day period according to the TNS report.

Another spoofing threat cited in the report is that of legitimate toll-free numbers of leading tech companies. Here, the scammer will claim there is something wrong with the victim’s account at the company and try to get personal information.
You can stop getting robocalls with a “simple but very effective” solution, according to the article. Both Android and iOS phones have a “Do Not Disturb” option in Settings — so just enable that for everyone except your own contacts.