We’ve all had those annoying words pop up on our screen: “Scam Likely.” For many people, they may receive a call from an unknown number more times a day than they get calls from friends and family. If you were to pick one up, there might be an automated message or live person whose main goal is to convince you to share identifying information or send money. These calls happen at such high volume because most of them are automated. This is what’s known as robocalling.
Thanks to technologies like VoIP and Softphones, robocalls have become even more prevalent in recent years. Now, scammers can make hundreds of phone calls all at once, without investing in a ton of expensive equipment. This leaves many people ignoring any unknown number altogether, which can have a number of bad side effects. They can miss important calls from doctors’ offices or reminders from companies and people they actually do want to hear from. The prevalence of robocalls reduces the overall functionality of your cell phone, keeping you from using it as it was designed: to answer calls.
One of the reasons they’re growing more frequent is because they work. Nearly 1 in 10 people are scammed each year, to a loss of billions of dollars. Though we may typically think of only our grandparents falling for these scams, the reality is the scammers are getting smarter and the technology is getting better, meaning its harder each year to tell what a scam call is.
Along with caller ID spoofing, and auto-dialing technologies, new technologies like AI and deep learning, some scammers can recreate the sound of someone else’s voice using only a few moments of an audio clip. This has massive implications. With the voice of a CEO at a company, a scammer could call an employee, and direct them in their boss’s voice to transfer money, buy gift cards, or wire funds from a company account. Though there are only a few reported cases of this happening, it isn’t long until this becomes more prevalent. For now, the only thing to do is to be cautious of everyone who calls you.
To learn more about robocalls and how they work, check out this infographic from Mint: