IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- American consumers and businesses were blitzed by some 30.5 billion robocalls in 2017, breaking the prior national annual record of 29.3 billion robocalls set in 2016. U.S. phones received an estimated 2.78 billion robocalls in December alone, equaling a 1.3% increase month-on-month over November and a stunning 19.2% year-on-year increase over December 2016.
That heightened pace in December 2017 equals some 89.6 million robocalls placed daily in the U.S. during the month. On average, this yearly pace equals 967 calls placed every second, adding up to well over 100 robocalls for every adult in the U.S. during 2017.
With these massive ongoing call volumes, it's no wonder unwanted calls, including illegal robocalls, are the top consumer complaint at both the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Robocalls continue to increase nationwide despite new regulations from the FCC and FTC. In November, the FCC approved rules protecting consumers from unwanted robocalls, authorizing phone companies to proactively block calls that are likely to be fraudulent. Last summer the FTC announced a new initiative to boost industry efforts to stop unwanted calls before they reach consumers. The FTC also announced measures to provide more data more frequently to help aid those working to fight back against robocalls.
In a further disturbing trend, more and more of these calls are now scams. Some of the more prominent robocall scams in 2017 included claims that robocallers would provide dramatically lower interest rates on credit cards or student loans, or they would magically preapprove large loans for people with bad credit.
These latest figures come from YouMail, a free solution for both mobile phones and landlines that helps consumers stop robocalls from ever reaching their phones. YouMail blocks unwanted robocallers by making sure the user's phone doesn't ring and then plays an out-of-service message that leads them to think that the number they dialed is invalid. The YouMail Robocall Index™ is a compilation of the scope and location of the worst robocalling hotspots across the country by area code, whose statistics are cited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a definitive source for national data trends.
"We continue to stress that consumers need to protect themselves and their families from scammers who use malicious tactics to convince innocent people to hand over their credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or other personally identifying information," said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. "As these scams become more prevalent and realistic, it makes sense to simply not accept calls from any unrecognized numbers, and instead allow them to go straight into voicemail."
Cities and Area Codes Facing the Most Robocalls: Lowlights from December
Atlanta, New York, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles held onto the top five spots as the most robocalled cities in America during December, respectively. Atlanta topped the list with 126.9 million calls received, up 4% from November. Buffalo, NY, and Jackson, MS, posted the largest monthly gains of any cities on the Top 50 List by moving up nine spots each on the Top 50 Robocalled Cities list, with Buffalo spiking 11% in December to 21.4 million calls received and Jackson gaining 8% to 20.9 million calls received.
Several smaller cities recorded unusually high increases in call volumes for December as well, including St. Cloud, MN, up 37.5% to 437,400 calls received; Lincoln, NE, up 37.2% to 18,124 calls; Rockford, IL, up 36.8% to 112,962 calls; and Hutchinson, KS, up 30.7% to 431,488 calls.
Four Georgia area codes (404, 678, 770 and 706) and five Texas area codes (214, 832, 817, 210 and 713) made the list of the 20 Most Robocalled Area Codes in December. Atlanta area code 404 topped the nation with 58.2 million calls received. Two New York area codes (917 and 347) and two Florida area codes (954 and 407) also made the Top 20 Area Codes List.
States Receiving the Most Robocalls: Lowlights from December
Texas led the nation as the most robocalled state for the third straight month, notching 315.0 billion robocalls in December. California was the monthly runner-up with 304.2 million calls received. California's total was more than 50% higher than third-place Florida, which received 201.4 million calls.
New Mexico posted the largest percentage increase in robocalls by gaining 14.8% month-on-month, followed by Minnesota (up 9.4%), Oregon (up 7.8%), Mississippi (up 6.2%), and Michigan (up 6.1%)
The Nation's Worst Robocalling Numbers: Lowlights from December
A majority 15 of Top 20 robocaller lines in December were made from debt collectors for banks, cable companies, student lenders and retailers.
One national credit card company held onto its status as the most-active robocalling number with 46.2 million calls place, a 39% increase over November. In the past 28 months since the YouMail Robocall Index was launched, this single number has placed 745.6 million calls, including 299.9 million calls in 2017 alone.
Dallas retained its leading position as the city generating the nation's most robocalls, with 78.8 million calls placed. Chicago overtook Los Angeles as the second most prolific robocalling city, placing 67.3 million robocalls in December compared to 64.1 million for L.A.
Southfield, MI, notched the largest increase of outbound robocalls for any city in December, gaining more than 10X with an increase of 5.4 million calls over November. Other communities posting large increases in outbound robocalls included Charlotte Amalie, VI (up 144.0%); Otterville, MO (up 138.5%); New Braunfels, TX (up 121.4%); Danvers, MA (up 119.8%); and Southern Virginia (up 111.8%).
For more information about the YouMail Robocall Index or to view the latest report, please visit http://robocallindex.com. To join the YouMail Robocall Index mailing list, please write to RobocallIndex@YouMail.com.
About YouMail, Inc.
YouMail, Inc. is the leading provider of intelligent, cloud-based telecommunication services. The company's flagship service provides an automated virtual receptionist that replaces the subscriber's voicemail on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. This service stops robocalls, and delights other callers by instantly greeting, routing, and responding to them, personally and memorably, and even provides free conference calls YouMail also provides data on problematic phone number behavior, through a reverse phone lookup service that allows anyone to identify and comment on suspicious numbers, an application program interface (API) that any telecom service provider or third-party developer can use to determine whether a number is problematic, and the YouMail Robocall Index™, which since its launch in in September 2015 has emerged as the nation's definitive source on robocalling data for telecom carriers, smartphone and app companies, and public policymakers. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., YouMail, Inc. was founded in 2007 and is privately funded.
Matt Russell for YouMail
SOURCE YouMail, Inc.