"Hel-lo. This is vi-sah master-CARD SERvi--" is really the most any of us need to hear before hanging right the hell up on yet another robocall. Some people even conveniently have services installed on their phones that preemptively flag spam. But lately, you might have noticed a bit of a reduction in the number of robocalls interrupting all the nothing everyone's been doing all day.
That's right -- the months of March and April saw the lowest volume of robocalls in what seems like forever. What got weird was that the style changed. A lot of the scam calls were taking advantage of the pandemic situation and peoples' natural worries about it to try and hook unsuspecting people. They'd pretend to be from, say, 3M and be offering coronavirus safety kits, or have access to tests. This is obviously bullshit, but if people fell for Nigerian Prince scams in the best of situations, they can certainly fall victim to wanting access to COVID-19 testing.
This prompted the FTC and FCC to take some serious action. They sent out a warning to three telecom companies saying that they had 48 hours to stop routing these overseas spam calls into the United States or face consequences. They also made big-name providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Cisco agree to stop routing calls from those companies entirely if they didn't comply. Nothing like a global pandemic to finally spur real action against annoying dinner* interruptions.
And so as much as people are rightfully upset about businesses closing, the fact that this pandemic has (at least for now) shut down a bunch of robocall centers has gotten lost in the new cycle. As many of these centers are located in places where there just isn't the infrastructure to allow everyone to "work" (and we use the term "work" there very loosely) from home, they just kinda shut down. There's a chance they'll rebound eventually because scammers are nothing if not annoyingly creative, but for now it looks like some major steps are working for once. Just pray that they don't take robocalling to the streets.
Top Image: Robin Higgins/Pixabay