Robocalls are up 46 percent from 2017

If you were bombarded by spam calls and texts last year, you probably weren’t alone. A new report, spotted by the Washington Post, reveals that Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls last year, up 46 percent from 2017. Spam monitoring service Hiya has been analyzing calls, and found that many people are just simply not picking up calls anymore.

While the Do Not Call Registry was established in 2003, the volume of calls has still grown significantly in recent years. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed to The Verge last year that it’s fielding an average of around 500,000 complaints a month over robocalls. The problem has led to some consumers filing lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) if they receive calls when they’re listed on the Do Not Call Registry.

Robocallers are increasingly masking their spam with genuine-looking local numbers, making it more difficult to detect them. Thankfully, there are a variety of apps and services available on both iOS and Android that help protect against robocalls. Carriers are also under increased pressure from the FCC to tackle nuisance robocalls. The regulator wants carriers to adopt the SHAKEN / STIR protocol, a framework that validates phone calls as they pass through networks and allows consumers to ensure the call is genuine.

T-Mobile is planning to activate the SHAKEN / STIR caller authentication soon, and AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are all committing to enabling it on their networks. With some analysts predicting half of all cellphone calls could be spam in 2019, the protections can’t come soon enough.