Americans got twice as many robocalls this year than in 2018, and the industry is still growing, according to a new study released this week.
"The reason that it's increasing so rapidly is that this is a profitable industry for the scamsters and the fraudsters," Kush Parikh, the CEO of Hiya, a company that develops tools to detect caller identity and protect people from being scammed, told The Hill. "It's a $9 billion industry and growing."
According to Hiya's new report, 54.6 billion robocalls were placed from January through November of this year, up 108% from last year. Meanwhile, the calls went up 46% from 2017 to 2018.
The average American receives 14 robocalls and spam calls, a month in 2019, many that are intended to steal customers' personal income, the report revealed.
The company said it calculated the growth by analyzing spam calls among its users, combined with data from national carriers.
Lawmakers and federal officials are working on legislation to tackle the problem, including the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, named after its sponsors in the House and Senate, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
The legislation will require phone companies to block robocalls without charging consumers more money, and to require U.S. carriers to be sure calls are coming from real numbers, but Parikh said that will not be enough, as spam callers are improving their methods.
The Federal Communications Commission also voted this summer to allow phone carriers to block suspicious calls by default, and last month, attorneys general from 50 states and Washington, D.C., joined with phone company executives while announcing an effort to fight back against robocalls.
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