Robocall trends in August 2023
Here’s a quick review of robocall trends through August 2023.
The source data is from YouMail’s Robocall Index, a widely followed measure of robocall activity in the U.S.
Overall robocalls up in August
Figure 1 shows that overall robocalls were up 13% in August. The dashed green line shows that the linear trend for robocalls is leveling. This trend line had been increasing slowly across previous months.
The bar chart at the bottom of Figure 1 compares robocalls in each month with the same month in 2022. Every month in 2023 has had more robocalls than the same month in 2022.
Scam robocalls up in August
Figure 2 shows that scam robocalls rebounded in August with a 30% increase from July. The dashed green line shows that the linear trend for scam robocalls continues downward.
The bar chart at the bottom of Figure 2 shows that scam robocalls are generally lower than the same months in 2022.
Behind the numbers
We’ve been watching the upward trend in overall robocalls and wondering if this is a delayed reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook v. Duguid, in which they ruled in favor of a narrow definition of autodialer for TCPA cases.
We’ve seen another possible explanation in a recent blog post by TCPA defense attorney Eric J. Troutman, in which he wrote:
I spoke with in house counsel with a debt collector not long ago that suggested the entire industry was moving toward using predictive dialers without consent—and disregarding oral revocation efforts.
Perhaps this is fueling the increase in overall robocalls.
Mr. Troutman observed that, after the Facebook ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court reinterpreted the autodialer definition again in Borden v. Efinancial, LLC in what Troutman calls an “errant ‘only generating telephone numbers randomly matters’ philosophy.” He speculates that, with the volume of TCPA cases out there, and a circuit split, there’s some chance that the Supreme Court might look at another TCPA autodialer case.
As for the downward trend in scam calls (despite the uptick in August), we expect that increased traceback investigations and enforcement action by state attorneys general, the FTC, and the FCC might be having an impact on the volume of scam robocalls. Maybe.
Recent numbers have been volatile. We’ll keep watching to see where this goes.
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