Over 10 billion robocalls have been placed to U.S. phones since the start of 2016, according to YouMail, a provider of cloud-based telecom services including call blocking. Complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about them are up nearly 50% since last year. Tax scams like the one I received are also up this year, according to the real IRS, and have netted the bad guys over $40 million since October 2013. The real reason for the recent robocall barrage? Technology. It’s so easy—and cheap—for scammers to dial thousands of numbers that they’re simply hitting more of us. They plug lists of phone numbers into software and fire off calls over the internet. The software also makes it easy to “spoof” numbers, falsifying caller-ID information so callers, even out of the country, can disguise their identity or location. Tax fraudsters even spoof the IRS’s own toll-free number.
Read the full WSJ story here.