Robocalls have increased by millions in recent months
Robocalls are at an all-time high, following a brief downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to organizations tracking them.
Lee Williams, a California resident, said he's felt as if the calls have been endless: "There was a time when I would get 20 to 30 in a 24-hour period."
He said he once depended on his phone provider to fix the issue.
"They came out with what they call a 'spam blocker.' So, you’ll get a call, and it’ll say ‘spam likely’ but, I’ve found that probably a bit over 50% of those calls that were identified as scammers were actually calls you needed to receive. Family members that may not have been on your contact list or your doctor’s office," he said.
A person takes a call in their home. (Photo by Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images)
He said he downloaded an app to help screen calls more in-depth, but he still has received daily robocalls.
According to YouMail’s nationwide robocall tracker, such calls jumped by over 600 million from February to March.
Sandra Guile with the Better Business Bureau said it's because of the pandemic.
"When everybody was on lockdown and everybody was isolated, there was actually a dip in the amount of robocalls. Then, as things started to open up a little bit, that number went back up" Guile said.
The Better Business Bureau has tracked scams such as those linked to robocalls. It warned these scams could cost consumers thousands of dollars.
"If they have your personal identifiable information, they can use that data to open up credit cards, open up cell phones, or maybe even rent an apartment," Guile said.
The BBB has recommended either using apps that block robocalls or simply not answering — and helping it track and identify these callers.
"If you receive a phone number, and you don’t answer, and it goes to voicemail, but it really sounds suspicious because they’re claiming that perhaps your personal identifiable information is at risk, or it’s an organization you’ve never heard of, you can go ahead and report it to BBB.org/scamtracker," Guile added.
The Better Business Bureau explained that calls from legitimate businesses, campaign calls and charitable solicitations are allowed.
The FCC recently announced it may now require providers to submit a "Robocall Mitigation Plan" describing how it will further block and screen these calls.