• February 6, 2020

Robocalls Continue to Rile, But Help Is Coming

Americans received more than 4.7 billion robocalls in January, a 4 percent increase from December but a 16 percent decrease from October's all-time monthly record of nearly 5.7 billion robocalls, according to data from YouMail.

The January total amounts to an average of 150 million robocalls placed per day, or 1,771 robocalls per second.

Spam calls increased by 8 percent in January (as scammers likely returned from vacation) and payment reminders increased by 5 percent (as reminders for end-of-year expenses started going out).

Type of Robocall

Estimated December


Percentage December



2.1 billion (+8%)


Alerts and Reminders

1.1 billion (flat)


Payment Reminders

1.0 billion (+5%)



0.48 billion (-6%)


Top Illegal Robocalls in January 2020

In January, seven types of scams exceeded 100 million calls each, with a big decline in medical scams, and big increases in interest rate, debt reduction, and student loan scams.  


Type of Scam

Estimated January Robocalls

Summary of Scam


Health-Related Scams


Identity theft/scam payments/illegal solicitations


Interest Rate Scams


Identify theft/financial scams


Debt Reduction


Identify theft/financial scams


Student Loan Scams


Identify theft/scam payments


Govt. Imposter Scams


Illegal solicitations/scam payments


Easy Money Scams


Identify theft/scam payments


Warranty Scams


Scam payments

The cities, area codes and states with the highest volumes of robocalls in December were similar to the past months, with each experiencing decreased volumes. 

City with the Most Robocalls:

Atlanta, GA (185.9 million, +2%)

City with the Most Robocalls/Person:

Washington, DC (48.4/person, +5%)

Area Code with the Most Robocalls:

404 in Atlanta, GA (79.6 million, +2%)

Area Code with the Most Robocalls/Person:

404 in Atlanta, GA (65.1/person, +2%)

State with the Most Robocalls:

Texas (518.2 million, +2%)

State with the Most Robocalls/Person:

Louisiana (28.8/person, +2%)

Luckily, phone carriers Sprint and Comcast are rolling out anti-robocall technology to help protect consumers. 

The companies are using Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) protocols that authenticate calls between networks. The technology enables voice providers to "sign" and "verify" caller ID information, thus preventing bad actors from manipulating or "spoofing" caller ID information in an effort to deceive and defraud consumers.

"This is a major milestone in the fight to help our customers protect themselves from unwanted robocalls that have become such a plague for the industry," said John Saw, chief technology officer, which is introducing the technology across its Sprint and T-Mobile networks. "Our engineers have worked diligently with the teams at Comcast to bring this to fruition, and with work already underway with additional providers, we look forward to rolling out STIR/SHAKEN jointly across other networks as soon as possible."

"We've made great progress with our industry peers, like Sprint, in developing ways to thwart nuisance calls, and we will continue to work relentlessly to stop them from reaching our customers," said Tony Werner, president of technology, product, and Xperience at Comcast, which is rolling out the technology across its Xfinity. "Every STIR/SHAKEN implementation between providers, or bi-partisan action to pass landmark legislation like the TRACED Act, is another step forward in protecting consumers."

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