Scams

Nearly Half of All Cell Phone Calls Will Be Scam Calls in 2019, Report Says

Here's how to (try to) block them so they stop interrupting your grind.
Nearly Half of All Cell Phone Calls Will Be Scam Calls in 2019, Report Says
Image credit: Bronek Kaminski | Getty Images
Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read

You’re not just imagining it: You're getting more robocalls.

Next year, almost half of all calls to cell phones will not be business calls or check-ins from loved ones, but scam calls. That grim forecast is according to First Orion, a company that makes caller ID and call-blocking software.

In 2017, First Orion estimated that about 3.7 percent of all calls to mobile numbers were spam. Today, they make up about 29 percent, but by early 2019, the company projects that proportion will skyrocket to 45 percent.

Some of the numbers for those incoming calls probably look eerily like your own phone number. (For me, the first six digits are often the same as mine.) That’s to trick you into thinking the call might be coming from someone who lives near you, whom you might know. If you’re like me, you’ve wisened up to this trick, dubbed “neighborhood spoofing,” and decline each call.

But for those who are fooled and answer, only to realize it’s the same pesky automated call from the same familiar-looking number again, there are tools out there to block these spammy scams, one number at a time.

The deluge of unwanted calls disrupts our busy days. As a reporter, I’ve more than once had my audio recording of an in-progress interview paused by an incoming call. Worse, they target individuals based on demographics, with attempts to convince immigrants they’re in legal trouble or fraudulently persuade people to wire them money, posing as utility companies, charities and more.

More than half of all complaints the U.S. Federal Communications Commission receives pertain to unwanted calls, The Washington Post reports.

There are several ways to combat this onslaught, but be aware that the perpetrators of scams are savvy, and have found workarounds to number blocking and other measures individuals can take. For one, they don’t honor the “Do Not Call” list many households are on to thwart telemarketers. First Orion is in the process of developing new “CallPrinting” technology, which it plans to implement through a major U.S. mobile carrier. Already, T-Mobile provides its  subscribers with “Scam Likely” caller ID messages.

As Entrepreneur described in a piece on banishing distractions earlier this year, an iPhone user can tap the blue circled “i” symbol next to the number in their recent calls list and select “Block this Caller.” Android users can hold down the number in their recent calls list, then select block. That is, until the next scam call comes in from a different number.

Check out Entrepreneur’s Guide to Reducing Unneeded Distractions and Time-Sucks so You Can Be More Productive for more tips on blocking robocalls and managing other types of interruptions.

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