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Spam Texts and Robocalls on the Rise Again


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Robocalls and spam texts — the scourge of phones everywhere — are on the upswing.

Americans unhappily received around 6.2 billion spam calls in August 2021, which marked a 10% increase from July, according to RoboKiller, an app that blocks spam calls and text messages.

After dipping 5% in July, calls that use caller ID spoofing — the practice of disguising caller identity by falsifying the information transmitted to your caller ID display — increased by 4% in August.

And scam messages are not limited to phone calls. Spam texts also are increasing, and in fact are more prevalent than robocalls now. Spam text volume increased by 3% to 7.6 billion in August.

All of this is bad news for those who had been hoping that widespread adoption of STIR/SHAKEN — an industry-standard caller ID authentication technology — quickly would end robocalls that use caller ID spoofing.

RoboKiller says STIR/SHAKEN’s relative lack of success thus far may be the result of the fact that small carriers — those with 100,000 subscriber lines or fewer — have until mid-2023 to adopt the framework. However, RoboKiller also cautions people to temper their expectations of the technology:

“We do expect STIR/SHAKEN to prove useful, eventually, but it’s unlikely to stop the spam call problem on its own– even with full adoption.”

To make matters worse, the problem of spam texts is likely to grow. Robotexts overtook robocalls in terms of sheer volume in the summer of 2020, and the volume of such spam continues to grow.

In August, spammers sent 20% more spam text messages than they made robocalls, RoboKiller says.

RoboKiller predicts that by the end of this year, spam text volume will be up 55% over 2020, which could lead to projected financial losses from such texts totaling $101 million, an 18% increase from 2020.

For tips on keeping robocalls at bay, check out “8 Easy Ways You Can Stop Robocalls.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.