It's not just you — social security scam phone calls are 23 times more common this year

I think we can all agree that the endless plague of robo-calls has spiraled out of control. But the folks at the public data directory  BeenVerified wanted to quantify exactly how much worse this onslaught has gotten. They collected data from more than 200,000 spam call reports from across the country, and crunched the numbers to see what they could find.

And while the results aren't really surprising, per se, they're certainly harrowing.

The frequency of Social Security spam calls has multiplied 23 times, from 0.4% of all spam calls in 2018, to 9.5% in 2019.

BeenVerified does acknowledge that their data does not necessarily reflect a complete picture. They actually suspect that things might be worse. "The Spam Complaint Monitor is a canary in the coal mine showing broad spam and robocall topic trends," said spokesperson Justin Lavelle. "As the data is self-reported, the total numbers of complaints related to each of these spam call topics are almost certainly higher."

They add:

The results from the BeenVerified Spam Call Complaint Monitor mirror broader trends, as more than 76,000 Social Security scam calls were reported to the Federal Trade Commission in the 12-month period ending in March 2019, with losses totaling $19 million. Losses related to IRS scams peaked at $17 million for the 12 months ending in September 2016, the FTC reports.

Less than 3.5% of Social Security scam complaints to the FTC resulted in lost cash, but when victims take the bait, the losses are comparatively high. The median reported loss was $1,500 in 2018, more than four times higher than losses from all other frauds, the FTC reports.

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Tech-powered war on robocalls pledged by 12 U.S. telephone carriers and 51 attorneys general

In the absence of any regulation or meaningful action by the federal government to tackle the persistent and annoying scourge of robocalls, twelve of America's largest phone companies on Thursday agreed to implement new technology that helps block robocalls as part of an agreement between telecoms and 51 attorneys general. Read the rest

Your phone is a crimewave in your pocket, and it's all the fault of greedy carriers and complicit regulators

Insider attacks, cell-site simulators, SIM-swap attacks, thriving markets in super-cheap, fine-grained location data, robocalls, fictitious coverage maps, and more: does the fact that all this terrible shit keeps happening, and only gets worse, mean that mobile companies and the FCC just don't give a fuck if your mobile phone is a crime wave you carry around with you on your pocket? Read the rest

Phone companies get to block robocalls if this proposed FCC rule happens

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai proposed a new rule to allow carriers to block robocalls. “The American people are fed up with illegal robocalls,” he said. Read the rest

FTC fines four robocallers behind “billions” of US calls

The FTC says the 4 companies made 'billions' of pre-recorded calls to phone numbers throughout America.

Trump's FCC relies on telcos to self-police anti-robocall measures and they're planning on gutting existing regs, so John Oliver is robocalling the whole FCC every 90 minutes

Every 90 minutes, the office phones of all five FCC Commissioners rings and John Oliver's voice comes out of it, demanding that they take action on robocalls, reversing FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai's policy of relying on carriers to self-police their anti-robocall measures, and heading off his plan to gut the existing, weak protections. Read the rest

Mexican election: saturation robo-calls spreading disinformation about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the front-running candidate for president of Mexico on a largely progressive ticket (tuition breaks, increased aid to seniors, drug war amnesty, though it's a mixed bag, reflecting the weird coalition of left-wing and right-wing parties he's fronting); and he is the target of a bizarre, mass-scale disinformation campaign being carried out by blanket robo-calling. Read the rest