Robocalls annoy 9 out of every 10 Americans, yet few take any steps to cut down the number of these incoming calls.
And, despite their annoyance and anger, most people, including senior citizens do not take proactive steps to limit the number of robocalls. Indeed, a recent estimate indicates that robocalls increased to 48 billion in 2018 — a 57 percent jump from 2017!
Fifty percent of respondents estimate that they receive at least seven robocalls a week. Eleven percent were victimized by these phone scams. These phone scams are expensive, costing Americans $429 million dollars last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The survey of 1,852 adults was conducted April 8-19 by the University of Chicago.
Robocalls: Frauds And Scams
The survey found people are more likely to get scammed when the caller threatens them with facing jail time for missed jury duty, or, owing unpaid taxes to the Federal government.
For example, 51 percent of respondents, would respond to a negative call; only 41 percent would respond to a positive offer to a positive pitch.
Other key findings:
- Only 14 percent of respondents said they now use a robocall-blocking service. Another 77 percent did not; and 9 percent weren’t sure.
- Only 35 percent said all of their phone numbers had been submitted to the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry.
Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud-prevention programs, urges people to use caution when the phone rings.
“Be wary when you pick up the phone,” she said. “A number that looks familiar or local may be neither familiar nor local.”
Con artists, she added, “have become increasingly sophisticated and devious, and once they connect with you and get you talking it’s far too easy to fall prey to their schemes.”
Even though these calls trigger negative emotions, large majorities of people said they don’t bother doing anything about them.
When asked about robocalls received in the past month, respondents said most often they had heard about a product or program for which they reportedly qualified, such as a low-interest credit card.
The other top pitches involved sales calls or news that they had won a free trip or gift card.