Is the Government Winning Its War Against Robocalls?

Is the Government Winning Its War Against Robocalls?

According to an analysis by YouMail, warranty robocalls have dropped dramatically since the FCC took action. 

If you think you’ve been getting fewer robocalls lately about your car warranty, there’s a reason for that.

Back in July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a crackdown on some specific entities it identified as responsible for those ubiquitous bogus robocalls asking call recipients about their car warranties. 

“Billions of auto warranty robocalls from a single calling campaign,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in the early July release. “Billions! Auto warranty scams are one of the top complaints we get from consumers and it’s time to hold those responsible for making these junk calls.” 

A separate suit was filed by the state Attorney General of Ohio and forty-three states have joined with the FCC in a memorandum of understanding to assist in the effort. 

A few weeks later, the FCC moved to actually block the calls themselves. 

“Specifically, the Bureau notifies and directs all U.S.-based voice service providers to take immediate steps to effectively mitigate suspected illegal robocall traffic made by or on behalf of the following: (1) Roy Cox, Jr.; (2) Aaron Michael Jones; (3) their individual associates; and (4) associated entities (collectively, the Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama Operation),” the FCC said in the late July order. “A voice service provider may satisfy this obligation if it terminates a customer relationship with the Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama Operation or blocks all traffic from the Cox/Jones/Sumco Panama Operation.” 

“If any voice service provider, after investigation of the suspected illegal robocall traffic identified in this Order, thereafter does NOT terminate a customer relationship or block the traffic, it will be required to provide a written report to the Bureau with the results of its investigation, as required by section 64.1200(n)(2) of the rules,” the FCC said at the time. 

Now, it appears the moves have an effect. 

According to an analysis by YouMail, warranty robocalls have dropped dramatically since the FCC action began. 

“As of June 2022, significant progress had already been made by efforts to curtail these calls and had reduced their volumes from nearly 30 million per day prior to November 2021 down to approximately 5 million per day as of June 2022 which impressive industry-wide mitigation,” YouMail said. 

“It’s still early, but if the operations were still going, we would have expected to see these auto warranty campaigns continue at their normal volume on July 14 and onward but instead it appears the public is no longer receiving these calls as of July 18th,” YouMail added. “There are still warranty robocalls out there but they are relatively minor in terms of overall volume relative to the massive operation that has been uprooted through the coordinated efforts over the past nine months.  We have gone from nearly 30 million warranty calls per day that were defeating network filtering down to under 1 million warranty calls per day now apparently being received by consumers…Let’s hope it stays this way.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.