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Today’s number: 5.1 billion robocalls in November alone

Thursday, Dec 6, 2018

* Yikes…

* Tribune

Hello, this is a very important message. Did you know that you probably received more robocalls per day in November than any previous month in the history of recorded phone messages? […]

There were 5.1 billion robocalls made in November — a record 1,963 per second — meaning that the average person did in fact hear more annoying health insurance, easy-money and interest rate scam pitches than ever before, according to a monthly YouMail survey.

Chicago ranked fourth among cities with more than 164 million robocalls received last month, trailing only Atlanta, Dallas and New York, according to the survey.

* From yesterday…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced she is joining with a bipartisan group of 38 other attorneys general to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls.

“Robocalls are an obnoxious form of consumer harassment,” Madigan said. “I am pleased to be part of this bipartisan group that will provide people simple ways to avoid annoying and invasive robocalls.”

Madigan and the multistate group has had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies about technological capabilities currently in existence or in development that would reduce robocalls. The coalition of states is pushing the carriers to, among other things, quickly develop and implement technology to help identify and block potential unwanted robocalls for their customers.

Madigan and the coalition will seek to develop a detailed understanding of what is technologically feasible to minimize unwanted robocalls and illegal telemarking. They will also engage the major telecom companies to encourage them to expedite the best possible solutions for consumers, and determine whether states should make further recommendations to the FCC.

All these robocalls are making polling vastly more difficult to do because people aren’t answering their phones. It also has to be hurting campaigns for the same reason.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:18 pm:

    they know that even if you are on a do not call list that the system for one to complain when an entity violates is burdensome. so they just keep doing it. not so many political calls on my landline, but credit card, vent cleaners, electric options, “hey lady, your Microsoft is about to blow up,” all of these and more are resulting in me and the husband finding creative ways to tell off the person on the other end of the line.

  2. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:19 pm:

    Amalia, I use the Hiya smartphone app. It’s a pretty good caller ID system that also lets you know if a robocaller is on the other end.

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    And what about robo texts. I hate those and got a lot this go around.

  4. - Retired - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    We no longer have a landline. If we don’t recognize the number on our cell phones, we don’t answer. If it is important, the calling party will leave a message. If there is no message, we block the call.

  5. - SaulGoodman - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    I’ve received so many of these in the last month or two. Never got any before that.

    Health insurance. Car warranty. Credit cards.

    Just. Go. Away.

  6. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    If you block one number, they just switch to another number. I do get calls from around the country, and the world. So I feel obligated to answer. 99% of the time it is a robocall of some sort.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:25 pm:

    This is one area we can find some real bipartisan support.

    Obnoxious these calls certainly are. I use my phone for important things.. Family.. Friends.. Trolling CapFax… I dont need some robocall mucking that up!

  8. - LXB - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    I can’t remember the last time I answered the phone when an unrecognized and unexpected number popped up. If it’s a legit call, they’ll leave a message.

  9. - siualum - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    Some of these callers seem to be able to “hijack” a local phone number, so it appears on caller id that its a local call.

  10. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    I’ve gotten calls from my own number. Twice. Not sure how that’s even possible, but it seems to me that jail time for anyone having a part in this system would be a good thing. And don’t even start on the first amendment. Harassment is not speech.

  11. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    Big deal. No one is harmed by this, it’s just an annoyance, like junk mail or email. I don’t like it but that’s the price of living in a free society. You really don’t like it, let your calls go to voice mail.

  12. - lakeside - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    I was getting so many of the six-digit spoofed number calls that I got an app (Calls Blacklist) to just send everyone except for whitelisted contacts to voicemail without ringing. I was getting 10+ calls a day, but they seem to have ramped down now that they’re seeing it’s not getting rings. But I dare not remove it either.

  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Pol’s will lead the charge against robocall’s because it’s hurting their campaigns. They didn’t care all that much until they saw a downside for them. Now it’s “Light up the torches, grab the pitchforks, and storm the Frankenstein Castle.” Typical.

  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    The phone companies could put an end to these, if they really wanted to.

  15. - Me Again - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    In my opinion, a political robocall is just like any other robocall. I never listen to them. Get rid of them.

  16. - Not It - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Campaigns using robocalls should dump that money into social media ads. Much more effective. JB made that an art.

  17. - Stumpy's bunker - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    We still have to have landline ‘cuz of poor cell reception out in the boonies. We get about 7 unwelcome calls a day; basically don’t answer the phone anymore unless recognizable caller ID info.

  18. - RNUG - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Landline (yeah, still have one, easier for Mrs RNUG to hear on)

    We haven’t answered any calls from pollsters for years.

    We don’t answer any call without a valid name on it.

    We sometimes answer what appear to be legitimate business calls.

    Anybody else can go to voicemail. If they want to talk to me, they can leave a message.

    Multiple SPAM callers get blocked.

    Smartphone … between business and personal contacts, I’ve got about 1,000 numbers in it. If your name pops as one of those thousand, I’ll answer the phone. Otherwise, off to voicemail.

  19. - zatoichi - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    Do the robocallers really think this works for them? Selling a car warranty or health insurance, if they catch 1 sucker in 1,000, it must be profitable. Fischer Investments seems to have shared my number all over the country. Political robos are an immediate hangup and a dislike for the candidate. The calls at work from India providing the ‘latest study on cloud security’ with four ‘one last question’ are just the worst.

  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    I take every one of these calls for entertainment.

    If you heard the counter scams I run on these baby-grifters you would blush.

    I insult the Calcutta callers and their ancestors in Hindi…they usually hang up.

    Mean and fun at the same time.

  21. - Leslie K - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    As I began reading this post, my landline (don’t even–there are valid reasons) got a robocall. Both cellphones and the landline get multiples a day, in multiple languages. I would participate in legit polling if it was possible to filter out the noise. But if my phone doesn’t recognize your number, I don’t answer.

    ===Big deal. No one is harmed by this, it’s just an annoyance,==

    Actually, many of the robocalls are scams trying to defraud consumers. So yes, people are actually harmed.

  22. - Just Observing - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    === they know that even if you are on a do not call list that the system for one to complain when an entity violates is burdensome. so they just keep doing it. ===

    That’s hardly the issue. These robo-callers are calling from far-flung countries out of reach of the government regulators.

    === Big deal. No one is harmed by this, it’s just an annoyance, like junk mail or email. I don’t like it but that’s the price of living in a free society. You really don’t like it, let your calls go to voice mail. ===

    It’s not the same thing. Mail and e-mail are silent, and generally speaking, only interrupt your life when you choose to check mail/email. Non-stop calls (and I, at times, have had upwards of about 10 a day) are non-stop, distract, and distressing.

  23. - RNUG - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    Personal gripe - the people who don’t even know what they are selling.

    As a retiree / senior citizen, we get lots of calls during the switch period for Medicare. I understand they are just trying to get customers. I’ll answer the ones that show up as insurance companies and explain I’m a state retiree and they say they will take me off their list. But I got one idiot who kept trying to sell me a Medicare supplement even though I explained multiple times I already had a Medicare Advantage plan. He didn’t even know you can’t have a supplement with an advantage plan. Finally hung up on him and blocked his number.

  24. - Duopoly - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    = There were 5.1 billion robocalls made in November — a record 1,963 per second.=

    It seems like that’s about how many bogus calls I got if you total my home land line and my business cell phone.

    Phone companies love it. They want people to drop land line service and take cell service with higher profit margins.

  25. - Keepn' It Real - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    ===Big deal. No one is harmed by this, it’s just an annoyance,==

    Wrong. They spoof your number on caller ID so someone else is ID’d as the harassing caller. I got a call once demanding that I leave this person alone, I never called, but the robocalled used my number in the caller ID.

  26. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    In the last couple weeks, I’ve started getting robo text messages several times a day stating there is money for me.

  27. - Anon221 - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 5:14 pm:

    First it was timeshares and vacations (, now it’s healthcare and calls in Chinese. Reminds me of TV ads for scooters that got shutdown because of Medicare and Medicaid fraud- now we’re slamned with ads for braces of all kinds instead. Until there are substantial fines and jail time for these grifters, little will be done. I agree with the post above that until the pols started getting these 10-40 times a day, or their ability to poll took a hit, they weren’t interested in taking the robocallers on. I dropped the landline, and only have a flip phone, so I can block very few if any of these annoyances. I also love the texts that come in someone else’s name promising me big bucks. Oh well, for now keeping the phone on mute and just checking it throughout the day gets me by.

  28. - Responsa - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 6:30 pm:

    Thank you for calling these things what they are: harassment. They are especially dangerous and are hazards and often confusing for the elderly –which is exactly why these scammers seem to focus and prey on that population segment. A special pox on election season robos. A truly non-partisan and bi-partisan effort to stop them all? Count me in.

  29. - lost in the weeds - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 7:06 pm:

    This has been worse in last 3 months- cell phone and landline.

  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 8:12 pm:

    –All these robocalls are making polling vastly more difficult to do because people aren’t answering their phones. It also has to be hurting campaigns for the same reason.–

    Do not understand clients who buy into this grift. I know it’s relatively cheap, but it’s so low-rent annoying that it damages your brand.

    Seriously — who’s happy to receive a robocall? Who’s motivated by the call-to-action? The target is more likely to bounce the other way.

  31. - Behind the Scenes - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 8:58 pm:

    If the “Anti-Robocall” coalition could go after the call spoofers, I would be a very happy person. I’ve gotten calls from my own number, friends numbers and people and places I have done business with. Ought to become a very serious offense. If there is a limit to the number of calls I can block on my landline and cell numbers, I should have reached it by now.

  32. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 6, 18 @ 9:09 pm:

    Rich, thanks for the tip. (exclamation point)

  33. - theCardinal - Friday, Dec 7, 18 @ 7:18 am:

    Lock the callers into conversation for 3 or four mins and then say your not iterestedhang up. Seems to work I get less calls now than a I used to. Learned the trick from my retired father who seems to enjoy the idle banter.

  34. - Dave Fako - Friday, Dec 7, 18 @ 7:40 am:

    FYI, it is illegal per FCC rules / laws for an automated machine / computer dialer to initiate a call to a cell phone, and this has been the case for a long time. All calls to a cell phone must be initiated by a live, human person. This applies to commercial, public opinion research and political calls. Our firm was among the first political polling firms in the country to actively and legally dial cell phones starting in 2002 (yes that was nearly 17 years ago), and we have tracked this issue all along.

    “The facts
    Even if a wireless 411 directory is established, most telemarketing calls to wireless phones would still be illegal. For example, it is unlawful for any person to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with express prior consent) using any automatic telephone dialing system or any artificial or prerecorded voice message to wireless numbers. This law applies regardless of whether the number is listed on the national Do-Not-Call list.”

  35. - @misterjayem - Friday, Dec 7, 18 @ 8:59 am:

    This episode of the ReplyAll podcast will be of interest to those wondering who is doing telephone scams and why (and where)

    – MrJM

  36. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 14, 18 @ 9:14 am:

    on 12/14/2018 i received a solicitation for insurance from 734 789 1174 (spoofed?) when i demanded to be placed on “do not call” the agent said NO. what can I do other than bark at him?

  37. - anon - Friday, Dec 14, 18 @ 9:18 am:

    on 12/14/2018 at 0955 i received a robocall from 734 789 1174 (spoofed?) directing me to an insurance agent. when i asked to be placed on DO NOT CALL, he said NO. what can i do?

  38. - anon - Friday, Dec 14, 18 @ 9:19 am:

    on 12/14/2018 i received a solicitation for insurance from 734 789 1174 (spoofed?) when i demanded to be placed on “do not call” the agent said NO. what can I do other than bark at him?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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