With much of the nation indoors over the past couple months amid state-ordered 'stay at home' measures and the broader economic pause, Americans have faced a new "threat" — not dangerous to health, but nonetheless deeply annoying to the point of rage.
Robocalling was already out of control even before the pandemic, but robocalling fraudsters are now capitalizing on people staying at home, according to new data produced by the retirement community company Provision Living. A whopping 91% say the calls have become more common after the coronavirus crisis.
A survey of 4,000 people found that about 20% have received an unsolicited call or text related to COVID-19 believed to be scams seeking to exploit the pandemic, after Americans have already lost over $13.4 million in virus-related fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission figures.
And another 15% indicated they were called by unknown entities regarding their stimulus check — as more broadly Washington's trillions in stimulus has unleashed a torrent of cons and scam opportunities. This includes from people at times even claiming to be the IRS.
A summary of the new poll results are as follows, according to Newsmax:
- 65% of adults polled say they receive at least one robocall per day.
- 91% of respondents say robocalls are becoming more common.
- 20% of adults surveyed say they have received a robocall or text about coronavirus.
- 23% of people polled say they have seen an increase in robocalls since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here's a classic line from one report on the poll's findings:
More than a third of respondents said they’ve lost their temper and swore or yelled at a robocaller.
In prior decades such literal cold calling was once the domain of sophisticated telemarketers who at least perhaps had a local product or something remotely useful to sell.
But now it's a domain wholly taken over by cyber fraud, international telemarketing, and an apparently growing phenomenon of random unknown services that seem to 'dial' numbers with no reason, bizarrely enough, often to the great frustration of people trying to catch an occasional afternoon nap.
Above: Provision Living data on most common types of robocalls, based on respondents.
Robocalling scams in general have been on the rise even unrelated to the pandemic, increasingly bombarding random households ranging from fake IRS and social security claims, to sham debt collectors, to the ever-pervasive "car extended warranty" and "Google add listing" people (no, they are actually almost never with Google, the company assures).