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article imageNearly half of all cellphone calls will be scam calls by 2019

By Karen Graham     Sep 20, 2018 in Technology
Next year, almost half of all calls to cell phones will not be business calls or check-ins from loved ones, but scam calls. That grim forecast is according to First Orion, a company that makes caller ID and call-blocking software.
Nothing is more irritating than rushing from the kitchen or bathroom to answer the phone, only to find it's a robocall. And according to Arkansas-based First Orion, their data shows a drastic increase in mobile scam calls—from 3.7 percent of total calls in 2017 to 29.2 percent in 2018—and that number is projected to reach 44.6 percent 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,” said Charles D. Morgan, CEO and Head Data Scientist of First Orion.
Particularly disturbing are the scam calls being made to targeted groups - including immigrant communities, and just about any group that may have different political views than the current administration. Additionally, there are the scammers who call pretending to be from your bank, the federal government or your credit card company.
The fraudsters use every trick in the book, including the use of telephone numbers that mimic actual IRS assistance centers, claim to be IRS employees and use fake names and phony badge numbers. The IRS says that victims are told they owe money to the government and are urged to pay up using a gift card or wire transfer.
There is another trick fraudsters use called "neighborhood spoofing." First Orion says this happens when a scammer disguises their phone number and displays it as a local number on a user’s caller ID. For example, a scammer may spoof their phone number to match the area code and 3-digit prefix of the person they are targeting and ultimately increase the likelihood of someone answering.
First Orion says, "Not only is this tactic harmful towards the person being called, but the owner of the phone number used to make the call is also often subjected to return calls from the recipient of the scam call. These return calls come as surprises since the owner of the number used to make the scam call is not aware a call was ever placed from their number, leading to frustration and confusion amongst all parties."
Blocking scam calls
According to the Washington Post, over half the calls received by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are about unwanted calls.
Orion, along with several communications carriers has been working with the FCC to find solutions to ending robocalls and scam calls. After working closely with several carriers, Orion said, "we’ve found that in-network solutions that leverage sophisticated data analysis and machine learning are by far the most accurate way to pinpoint the origin of a call and identify it before it reaches your phone.”
To that end, First Orion is in the process of developing new “CallPrinting” technology, which it plans to implement through a major U.S. mobile carrier. Already, T-Mobile provides its subscribers with “Scam Likely” caller ID messages.
As Entrepreneur described in a piece on banishing scammers earlier this year, an iPhone user can tap the blue circled “i” symbol next to the number in their recent calls list and select “Block this Caller.” Android users can hold down the number in their recent call list and seleck "Block."
More about scam calls, Cellphones, 50 percent, First Orion, CallPrinting
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