Soon half of the calls will be from robots. Tip: do not answer (?)

Original author: LINDA ROBERTSON
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Today we have an unusual material - this is a translation of an article about illegal automatic calls in the USA. For centuries, there have been people who used technology not for good, but to fraudulently cash in on gullible citizens. Modern telecommunications are no exception, spam or outright "divorces" can overtake us by SMS, by mail, by phone. With phones it has become even more fun, because today there are automatic calls (hereinafter - robozvonki). Invented as a legitimate and transparent way to inform people and make additional sales, they are very fond of scams; if normal robozvonki occur by agreement of the parties and the client phone numbers themselves are obtained in a legal way, then illegal calls at least disturb people to waste, as much as possible - they steal data and money. We came up with Smartcalls.ioThe "good corporation" sculpts Google Duplex, etc. - high-tech tools bring cyberpunk at the speed of light, because soon we will no longer be able to understand who is talking to us, a robot or a human being. This is a great opportunity and the same size trouble. Our company is categorically against any illegal actions and believes that technology should help both businesses and customers on a compromise basis. Alas, such values ​​are not shared by everyone, so under the cut you will learn about the record fine for illegal phone calls, statistics on calls to the USA, tools for dealing with such calls and, of course, recommendations on how to behave. Because forewarned is forearmed.

Soon half of the calls will be from robots. Tip: do not answer (?)

Tax is going to arrest you for tax evasion. The collector is required to pay immediately. Hotel chain offers a rest for free. You are going to turn off the electricity for non-payment. Your bank reduces the interest rate on a credit card or reports a security breach. The doctor wants to sell you back pain pills at a reduced price.

In the Middle Ages, plague descended on humanity. Today, we were swallowed up by an epidemic of robobers

Every day, all day, we are besieged by calls from scammers who want to steal our money and personal data. Even if you are not stupid and not being led to schemes like:

  • "Restore credit card";
  • use the last chance not to appear before the court - for this you need to talk to a federal agent and get your case number;
  • get a free medical alert system, as reported to you by the Los Angeles number;
  • etc.

in any case, the voice of the robot has already burst into your personal space.


The number of unwanted automatic calls that Americans receive has grown to 4 billion per month, which is about 1,543 calls per second. The percentage of fraudulent calls increased from 4 (in 2016) to 29 (in 2018); First Orion, which develops call blocking and call management technology, predicts growth of up to 45 percent next year .

"Scammers are finding more and more ways to violate our privacy," says Charles Morgan, a data scientist and company manager, whose site contains the phrase: "We know that this is a heroic mission to teach people to answer calls again."

Automatic dialing is a big, profitable business. Using technology for bad purposes is also profitable: Americansbeing cheated by 9.5 billion each year, according to Truecaller. Elderly people, students, small business owners and immigrants are at risk.

One of the recent fraudulent schemes was aimed at the Chinese communities in the United States and hit a jackpot of $ 3 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The fraudsters who speak Mandarin presented themselves to the Chinese embassy staff and requested personal data or credit card numbers in order to resolve certain legal issues.

After the hurricanes of Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence, fake charitable foundations were activated, making calls asking for donations for hurricane victims.

In South Florida, where scams breed like rabbits, the volume of such calls is one of the largest in the country. Regions 305 and 954, taken together, in August tookin 5th place among the 20 largest cities in this indicator. The gamblers say that if 1 potential victim is born every minute, then for South Florida this number is more, because This state is a real magnet for gullible lovers of quick money. If you live here, most likely you will receive at least 2 robot calls per day.


- Do you know Abramovich?
- The one that lives opposite the prison?
- Well, yes, only now he lives opposite his own house.
Adrian Abramovich, a businessman from Miami, was fined a record $ 120 million by the Federal Communications Commission , which describes his actions as "one of the largest illegal dial-in campaigns we just investigated." Abramovich made more than 100 million calls in the last three months of 2016, about 46,000 calls per hour. As a callerID, he substituted Marriott, Expedia, Hilton and TripAdvisor to get people involved in buying “exclusive” tours. The victims heard the automatic message “press 1”, and if they did, they were transferred to the operators of the Mexican call center, who paid Abramovich for the traffic.

Adrian Abramovich is accused of deliberately creating one of the largest schemes for illegal dialing.

This activity also disrupted the work of the medical company for the delivery of urgent packages. “Presumably, Abramovich could have delayed the delivery of vital medical care, and this is already a matter of life and death,” says Ajit Pay, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Government action

The rapid growth of robot calls due to the development of technology. The so-called "robotex" is also on the rise. If phones use the Internet, scammers can make thousands of untracked calls for a penny, very cheap. "And if you manage to fool even a small percentage of people, then cheaters are still in the black," says the CEO of YouMail .

Consumer advocates are worried that a new wave of unblockable calls is coming if the commission follows a court decision that repeals the rules adopted by the administration of the past US president. Lawmakers put forward draft laws (HANGUP Act, the ROBOCOP Act) and other measures, but the banking and credit industries are against these initiatives. What is not surprising, because most of the automatic calls make banks and collectors, as well as fraudsters under the guise of insurers and lenders.

In the US, there is the Do Not Call Registry, which already has 230 million American numbers; last year, the registry grew by 4.5 million records. The registry was created to allow only legitimate telemarketing to remain on the market, but fraudsters ignore this list. They are always one step ahead of the government because they change names and numbers (physically or virtually moving abroad, for example). Thus, the present number is replaced - the subscriber will think that he is called from his region, with a recognizable regional prefix, which increases the chances of a response. It also uses threats like: “Local authorities will detain you because you are charged under 4 articles.” At the same time, fraudsters can determine that your number is working (even if you did not answer), and then sell the number to your “colleagues”.


Want to avoid fraud? Do not respond to suspicious calls. If you have already answered, but you hear a recorded message, hang up. Do not press or say anything. Do not provide personal and financial information, do not agree to make money transfers. Be on the lookout for too good offers, because they are always like that with scammers.

If you are asked "you hear me", do not answer "yes", because they can write down your "yes" and use against you. Of course, it may be tempting to talk to a fraudster and pretend that you fall for the bait, and then suddenly unmask him, ha! But better not do it.

Beware of calls from Apple or Windows support, which ask to download the program, which in fact will be a trojan.

Be on the alert, if you have been informed about suspicious activity on your credit card - better call yourself at the official number listed on the credit card and check everything again.

Don't be fooled by “free” gifts when asked to press 1 for details. Details will be the fact that you were fooled.

False calls from the tax are easy to identify: the tax authorities never call citizens threatening to jail for not paying taxes.

Any mention of Nigeria? Goodbye.

Instead of conclusion

The automatic call and telemarketing industries spawned the call blocking / tracking industry. There are many call blocking applications — for example, RoboKiller — that pick up the phone, connect with the operator, and play the recorded message (“Gotcha!”); Another example is Nomorobo , which intercepts calls. There are also lists of spam numbers that can be replenished or look for suspicious numbers in them. Telephone operators also do not stand aside, trying to find new ways to identify real numbers and mark fake ones.

“We have already blocked more than 4 billion calls in our network,” says Kelly Starling, an AT & T representative in South Florida. - “We have learned to identify the sources of calls, block them, and also give our customers the tools to block ”.

Americans (I suspect that most people around the world - approx. Translator) react to telephones like Pavlov's dog - the fact that they decided to use this was inevitable. Perhaps the epidemic of robozvonkov gives you a good reason to just ... turn off the phone.

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