Science, Technology, and Social Media

Robocalls Slow, Spam Texts Explode

Americans received a whopping 225 billion robotexts, a 157% increase from 2021 and the most significant increase on record, according to a report released today. Scammers haven’t shifted too far away from robocalls yet, as those reached 78 billion in 2022, a modest 8% increase from the year prior, the report from Robokiller says.


Government efforts to stop harmful robocalls are paying dividends
In 2021, the FCC rolled out STIR/SHAKEN, a mandatory regulation for voice service providers designed to stop caller ID spoofing. Now, the bureau is going after some of the most harmful robocall scams with great success. Notably, they shut down an illegal car warranty scam operation, which dropped those calls from 1 billion in June 2022 to fewer than 7 million by September. The FCC also asked carriers to stop carrying student loan robocalls, which have dropped 33% since the announcement.

Robocall losses are higher than ever
Despite these efforts, scammers are stealing more money than ever before. According to Robokiller, Americans lost $65 billion to robocalls in 2022, more than double that of 2021. According to the FTC, the median money lost per phone scam is $1,500. With the average household unable to afford a $400 emergency expense, a loss to a robocall scam could cause financial hardship.

Robotexts earn dubious distinction of spam of the year
Unfortunately, while the government focused on stopping robocalls, scammers found opportunities elsewhere in the form of robotexts. Robotexts surpassed robocalls for the third year in a row, sending a record 225 billion unwanted SMS messages and stealing $20 billion from Americans, increases of 157% and 105%, respectively.

However, not all of those robotexts were scams: The significant increase is due in part to the fact 70% of messages in November and December were marketing-related. Robokiller estimates that, excluding brand marketing messages, Americans would have received 157 billion robotexts.

Looking forward
Robokiller predicts that in 2023 robocalls will reach 82 billion, a modest 5% increase as government efforts to stop harmful scams will continue to make a dent in overall robocall volume. Robotexts will continue to escalate to 236 billion with a predicted growth rate of 50% as the government and carriers continue to focus their efforts on combating robocalls.

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Duncan Idaho

Duncan is a science and technology reporter for CDN and serves as the lead geek correspondent. Follow him if you like rockets, mobile tech, video games or ... just about anything nerdy.

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