Robocall trends in April
Two important robocall trends are headed in different directions. What’s causing this, and will it continue? Let’s have a look.
Robocalls of all types are increasing
Figure 1 shows the monthly trend for all robocalls. This is the number that is widely reported in news sources. Although total robocalls were down in April from the previous month, the statistics show an upward trend of almost 1.9 million additional robocalls per month.
The graph in the lower part of Figure 1 illustrates the changes from the same month in the previous year. This chart also shows a strong upward trend for each month compared to the same month in the previous year.
However, not all robocalls are illegal, and the trend among scam robocalls is different.
Scam robocalls are declining
Figure 2 shows the monthly trend of robocalls identified as likely scam calls. It shows a downward trend of about 1.1 million fewer scam robocalls per month.
The graph in the lower part of Figure 2 shows the changes from the same month in the previous year. This series is volatile from month to month, but there is not a strong long-term trend.
We expect the downward trend of scam robocalls to continue, for the following reasons:
- The Traceback process seems to be more efficient and effective.
- State attorneys general have been going after robocallers and service providers for possible violations of federal laws, such as the TCPA and TSR, and similar state laws.
- The FCC has extended robocall mitigation rules and proposed additional rules.
- The FTC has been sending warning letters to gateway providers identified as carrying suspicious robocalls. They report a significant drop in illegal robocalls among these providers.
Our crystal ball is a bit hazy about the future direction of robocalls overall. However, it seems likely that the upward trend might continue, for these reasons:
- The Supreme Court decision on the Facebook v. Duguid case established a narrow definition of autodialer for the TCPA, which makes it easier for robocallers to evade TCPA rules.
- Lawmakers pledged to introduce new legislation to amend the autodialer definition in response to the court’s decision. Two years have gone by, however, and Congress has not made this happen yet.
- The Florida legislature recently passed an amendment to the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) that, if signed by the governor into law, will narrow the FTSA autodialer definition and make it much easier for telemarketers to send robocalls to Florida telephone numbers.
We’ll be watching this space to see how this unfolds. Stay tuned.
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