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Sharp rise in spam calls projected in the US

Joint IIC - Italian Chapter and Agcom workshop

Nearly half of all cellphone calls in the US next year will come from scammers, according to First Orion, a company that provides phone carriers and their customers caller ID and call blocking technology. The Washington Post reports that the company “projects an explosion of incoming spam calls, marking a leap from 3.7% of total calls in 2017 to more than 29% this year, to a projected 45% by early 2019”. “Year after year, the scam-call epidemic bombards consumers at record-breaking levels, surpassing the previous year, and scammers increasingly invade our privacy at new extremes,” Charles Morgan, chief executive of First Orion, said. The barrage of fraudulent calls has taken a more dire turn in recent months as scammers have targeted immigrant communities with urgent calls claiming ambiguous legal trouble. Across several US metropolitan areas with large Chinese populations, scam callers have posed as representatives of the Chinese embassy while trying to trick Chinese immigrants and students into revealing their credit card numbers. The scammers told people that they have a package ready to be picked up at the Chinese consulate office, a first step in a ruse, or that they need to turn over information to resolve a legal issue, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Other prominent spam calls involve fraudsters pretending to be a representative from a bank, a debt collector or cable company. More than half of all complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission – more than 200,000 – are about unwanted calls. The FCC said Americans received about 2.4 billion unwanted, automated calls each month, according to 2016 estimates. “Charles Kennedy, at the tech policy think tank TechFreedom, said the problem of spam calls is difficult to solve because many of the offenders are hard to track down. It’s illegal for telemarketers to call someone whose number is on the national do-not-call registry, unless they have an existing business relationship or the phone owner’s explicit written permission. But Kennedy said that people who ignore the list or engage in deception are often hard to hold to account.” Read more

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

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