Scam robocallers are using an ever-increasing variety of tricks to maneuver around attempted crackdowns by state and federal law enforcement officials around the country and steal from vulnerable people, reports Pew Stateline. Earlier this month, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody led all 51 attorneys general, including the District of Columbia’s, in a letter calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reduce unwanted robocallers’ access to real phone numbers.
A new technique of companies sending robocalls directly to voicemail, without having the phone ring, means consumers must decide whether to listen to the message without knowing who left it. Robocallers argue that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1991, doesn’t apply to voicemail-only calls. The Federal Trade Commission reported that in the third quarter of this year, it received 134,366 reports of phone call fraud, with nearly $165 million in reported money lost. In 2021 so far, the FCC has received about 152,000 informal consumer complaints about unwanted calls. YouMail, a private company that sells call-blocking software and tracks the estimated number of calls, reported 4.1 billion unwanted robocalls in October, up from 3.9 billion in September. Consumer affairs offices, state attorneys general and federal agencies say robocalls are the most reported complaint from consumers.