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Why Are Illegal Robocalls Getting Worse?

Why are Robocalls Getting Worse?
Mark Thompson, Getty Images

This won’t come as a surprise to many Americans, but the problem of illegal robocalls — recorded messages which are used to sell everything from mortgage relief to extended car warranties — is getting worse, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In fact, complaints have more than doubled in the past two years.

In October 2010, the FTC received 65,000 robocall complaints, but the number jumped to 212,000 by April 2012. Officials say internet voice technology has made large numbers of calls cheap and it’s easier than ever to hide incoming phone numbers.

“The costs have gone down and the ability to set up robocall operations anywhere in the world has increased, which has made robocalling a more profitable endeavor for fraudsters,” said Will Maxon of the FTC.

To combat the problem, the FTC will hold a summit in October and discuss new ways to trace robocalls, prevent identity spoofing and stop calls from getting through. The FTC wants to take a fresh approach to the problem and use technology just like illegal robocalling companies do.

“No matter how many laws you pass, technology will make it possible for fraudsters to get around them,” said Howard Schmidt, President Barack Obama’s former cybersecurity coordinator. “That’s why it’s important to use technology to combat this misuse of technology.”

As of three years ago, all robocalls (except those that are informational, survey-based or from charitable groups) are illegal. This 2009 ban applies to all phone lines, regardless of whether they appear on the Do Not Call Registry.

[NBC News]

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