Verizon has seen a significant reduction in the number of unwanted robocalls in the last three months according to Fierce Wireless. Over the last year, the number of these calls has increased dramatically so this recent news is a good sign.
Verizon, who recently joined numerous companies in boycotting Facebook advertising, appears to be making some progress in this area. A 30% reduction in robocall is a great sign going forward and a testament to the work Verizon has been doing.
Verizon fights back against COVID-19 scams
With public fear high surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, many scammers changed tactic to prey on this. Therefore, there was a significant increase in scams that centred around public health and the aforementioned disease. Verizon though has worked hard to fight back against this.
The company has identified 40 new COVID-19 scams since March. Verizon also has a Call Filter app which appears to be making a significant difference to efforts against robocalls. Ronan Dunne, chief executive of Verizon Consumer Group released a statement on the news.
He pointed out that "Verizon is actively working to help government enforcement agencies root out the bad actors". This is coupled with efforts such as the Call Falter app to ensure customers are protecting themselves. This overall effort hs contributed to seven months of consecutive reduction in unwanted robocalls.
Verizon leading the way against robocalls
Verizon is at the forefront of efforts to continue this reduction of robocalls. Unwanted robocalls are the top category for informal consumer complaints.
However, this proportion has reduced from 68% to 60% in the last 12 months. The disruption caused by the pandemic could also be a contributing factor to this reduction.
Estimates suggest that 2.9 billion robocalls were placed in each April and May 2020. This is down from roughly 4 billion to 5.6 billion for each of the 15 months prior. This, however, should not take away the significant progress that Verizon and others have made.
Other carriers offer similar sorts of defences against robocalls. AT&T offers Call Protect, T-Mobile has Scam ID and Scam Block, and Sprint offers its Call Screener for all wireless customers. AT&T's tools have blocked roughly 1.3 billion fraudulent calls since 2016.
T-Mobile claims it has detected 21 billion scam calls and blocked 5 billion of them since 2017. Verizon, however, estimates that its free Call Filter app has detected over 5 billion fraudulent calls since its launch in 2019. This is good timing for Verizon as it looks to push a national roll-out of 5G this year.
It is not all good news as some of these tools wanted calls have been blocked on occasion. Issues with this subject have led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider adopting an order to protect service providers from liability for blocking calls.
This would mean no action could be taken against providers for blocking calls. This is provided they did so based on "reasonable analytics designed to identify unwanted calls". Clearly there is a lot more to do on this issue. However, Verizon and other providers are making progress and long may it continue.