Robocalls are on the rise, but Californians are answering fewer phony calls

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Californians answering fewer phony robocalls
Robocalls are on the rise, but Californians are getting better at avoiding them.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new survey shows that robocalls increased 20% last year, with Americans receiving more than 58 billion calls -- and California receiving the second most-calls, following Texas. Sounds bad, but dig deeper into the numbers and there is a silver lining. Although most of us answer more robocalls than we should, we are, as a group, getting better at dodging these interruptions.

Ken Henry of Brisbane is a good example. "I hang up, I don't even answer them," he told me. "If I don't know the number, if it isn't one of my friends... I don't answer it."

That new 'avoid-the-call' skill is what's actually causing the spike in robocalling. How?

Alex Quilici heads up YouMail, an app that offers free robocall blocking.

"Robocallers have to work harder now," Alex tells me. "Enough people are running blocking apps, like YouMail, and the (phone) carriers are blocking stuff, so it is harder for robocallers to get through, so they have to call more."

So, the more we block, the more they must call. A vicious cycle to be sure, but one that California consumers seem to be getting a handle on.

"So people in California get 120 to 130 robocalls a year. That sounds like a lot, but it is very little when compared to Washington D.C., where residents are getting nearly 600 year," Alex says. "So we can look on the bright side. California is actually getting fewer per person than a lot of other places."

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.