Robocalls, Subdued by Pandemic, are Bugging Us Again in NJ
Did you notice you were getting fewer annoying phone calls during the lockdown segment of the pandemic?
If you've missed them, don't worry — they've been making quite the comeback over the past several weeks.
According to Transaction Network Services, a robocall detection solution behind many of the major carriers, New Jersey residents received about 1.2 million unwanted robocalls in the month of July alone. From the start of 2020, the count is at about 67 million, the company said.
"There's definitely good robocalls, good use of the technology. But because the technology is so easy to use, and cheap, then bad actors can do the same thing," Jim Tyrrell, senior director of product marketing for TNS, told New Jersey 101.5.
A sharp decrease in unwanted calls was detected from March until about the middle of June, Tyrrell said. Just as call centers struggled at the start of the pandemic to get people working from home, so did fraudsters who likely operate in a similar manner.
"It's not just somebody making a bunch of calls out of their basement," he said.
Scammers, back in action after their slumber, are adapting a number of their practices to focus on COVID-19, TNS said. Categories include health insurance, student loans, contact tracing, fake test kits, and more.
According to the FTC, 126,902 COVID-19 fraud incidents were recorded in the first half of the year, amounting to about $70 million in losses.