No doubt you’ve gotten an automated phone call at one point in your life. But since 2015, reports of robocalls have increased at quite an alarming rate, with around 4.5 million robocall complaints filed in 2017, an increase of about 2.4 million robocalls since 2015. A few million calls may sound like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the billions of robocalls being made every month.
A New York Times report details the extensive lengths robocallers are going to circumvent attempts from both government officials and phone companies to curb the number of robocalls. The report also highlights the removal of a particular US Federal Communications Commission guideline that defined what an auto-dialer was, which could make it even more difficult for companies and federal officials to stop the spread of the robocall phenomenon.
The content of the calls themselves vary, but the most popular robocall scams revolve around offering “0 per cent interest rates,” solving problems with a credit card you most certainly do not own, or forgiving one’s student debt.
As for who receives more robocalls, iOS users seem to be taking the brunt of the impact compared to Android users, according to one study. YouMail, a call manager and call blocking app, released a report claiming that, of the 3.1 billion robocalls made in March of 2018, iPhone owners received 29 per cent more calls than Android owners. YouMail’s report also shows that AT&T saw about 15.1 robocalls per user in March, a 14 per cent uptick since February. T-Mobile users on average received about 14.8 robocalls each in March.
YouMail claims the reason iOS users receive more calls is due to the nature by which iOS handles blocked calls. Call blocking apps are unable to properly implement dynamic block lists, or whitelists for calls that need to go through. “In theory, Apple’s block list approach is well-intentioned,” said YouMail, which would certainly benefit if Apple were to loosen the reins on third-party call blocking apps. “However, the unintended side effect is that iPhone users wind up getting exposed to far more unwanted and scam phone calls, which are not only annoying but carry substantial risks.”