New legislation introduced to tackle robocalls after Americans lost nearly $ 20 billion to phone scammers in 2020

According to Truecaller Insights, a group that studies robocall trends, Americans lost an estimated $ 19.7 billion to phone scammers last year.

Automobile guarantees. Medical equipement. Debt consolidation.

The common bond they share: they are often the hanging carrot during robocalls.

These persistent and automated calls to our cell phones and landlines are as ubiquitous as they are annoying in American culture.

A national investigation by TEGNA stations across the country – including WBNS-TV’s Unit 10 Investigates – found robocalls to be a national nuisance that plagues our phone lines and has cost U.S. consumers billions of dollars. .

According to Truecaller Insights, a group that studies robocall trends, Americans lost an estimated $ 19.7 billion to phone scammers last year.

In addition, it is sometimes difficult for law enforcement to rule them and find those responsible, as most automated call operations originate from abroad, according to interviews that TEGNA stations have gathered with prosecutors. state generals and the Federal Trade Commission.

The good news: new tactics, laws and regulations are being introduced to reduce them.

But the billions of automated calls and consumer complaints far exceed the relatively smaller number of police investigations aimed at stopping them, 10 TEGNA investigations and stations have found.

According to YouMail, a website that tracks robocall data and trends, the United States received 58 billion calls in 2019. Although calls fell at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, they still fell. increased again in 2021 – peaking at nearly 5 billion calls in March.

Ohio residents received 186 million automated calls in March 2021 alone, according to YouMail data.

Peter Maizitis, of North Royalton, Ohio, has spent years “collecting” robocalls.

“You know that movie – we’re crazy as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore?” It’s like that. I would drop my knife and fork and file another complaint, ”Maizitis said.

Maizitis has filed more than 50 complaints over the past year with the Ohio attorney general’s office, which developed its own automated call unit last March. His fight against them is personal.

To learn more about robocalls from victims like Maizitis, how robocalls are being investigated, and what you can do to protect yourself, please tune in to our “Stop the Calls” report at 11pm on May 10, only on WBNS 10TV.

Starting at 5 p.m. that day, you can also participate in a phone bank with consumer protection experts from Attorney General Dave Yost’s office. They will be available to answer your questions about robocalls or any other consumer challenge you may be facing.

About Joan Ferguson

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