Here's why robocalls will get worse despite blocking apps as COVID-19 pandemic eases

The Bay Area received an estimated 2.7 million robocalls everyday in February 2021.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- People working from home or minding kids distance learning know the endless barrage of robocalls. The economy is part of Building A Better Bay Area. But the bad news is the onslaught is increasing, despite apps to block them.

Those annoying telemarketing or robocalls you get while working from home are going to drive you crazy even more than they already do.

Call centers that were cut back by the pandemic are swinging back into action.

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"The pandemic hit or had to operate a greatly reduced capacity. Now that things are opening up dramatically, so are the call centers, therefore more robocalls," said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail which tracks robocalls and offers a free blocking app. Robocalls lately have been trying to grab your attention by mentioning COVID-19.

Here's an example provided by YouMail. "We can qualify you to get a free diabetic monitor and a complimentary testing kit for novel coronavirus COVID-19... Kindly do not hang up," said the recorded voice.

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The number of robocalls is expected to hit 51 billion this year. Last month, it's estimated 75 million calls were placed to Bay Area phones. That's 2.7 million calls per day. 112,000 calls per hour. Or 31 calls per second. On average, that's nine robocalls per person per day.

There's no shortage of robocall blockers in app stores, some free, some with a fee. So telemarketers switch numbers often to catch you off-guard.

"It's a cat and mouse game where they're trying to figure out the right number to call you from, the right caller ID. Whatever it is that will give them an increased chance of you responding and letting them do their pitch," said Quilici.

Even when they leave a message, Quilici estimates as many as one in 20 people do call back, which are good odds out of millions of calls made. However, some progress is being made to battle the nuisance calls.

"Rolling out enforcement and some of the technology at the network level, I think we will move to having fewer robocalls. But for now, the light at the end of the tunnel is a little bit away," he said.
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