Ringing off the hook: How new tech is fueling the robocall explosion

Our investigation finds that new technology is fueling the explosive growth of unwanted calls.

News 12 Staff

Apr 29, 2019, 8:04 PM

Updated 1,845 days ago

Share:

Robocalls have become the No. 1 consumer complaint in America. Americans now get 5.2 billion of them a month -- 2,000 every second. And a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds that new technology is fueling the explosive growth of unwanted calls.
“The cost to place calls, especially international calls targeting the U.S., is almost nothing now,” says cybersecurity expert Scott Schober. “And they bulk it. They buy packages of 10,000 or more and they can dispatch, in one second, thousands of calls.”
LISTEN HERE - Walt Kane's companion podcast on robocalls for News 12 Talks New Jersey:
 
Two technologies make that possible. Voice-over IP, the technology first seen in voice-messaging apps like Skype, allows scammers, usually located overseas, to make international calls for pennies apiece to thousands of phones at a time. And “spoofing” allows robocallers to disguise their phone numbers, which is why so many now show up on our caller ID as local calls.
Just how easy is it to bombard unsuspecting people with unwanted robocalls? To find out, Kane In Your Corner spoke with Ethan Garr, whose company, Robokiller, makes robocall-blocking technology. Garr filled a table with more than a dozen cellphones, including three supplied by News 12. He then loaded a few lines of computer code into his laptop. With one click, all the phones began vibrating and ringing, as the calls came in simultaneously.
“The telemarketers can do this all day long,” Garr says. “Just one call after another. And it’s costing them either nothing or almost nothing to do.”
This is the first part of a four-part investigation into robocalls that airs this week. Tomorrow: why the federal government has been fighting robocalls for years, but the enforcement efforts don’t seem to be working.
MORE INFORMATION: Monthly robocall stats by region - Youtube Robocall Index
WATCH: Extended Footage - Auto Dialer Demo: Robokiller App

WATCH: Extended Interview on robocalls with Scott Schober, cybersecurity expert and author of 'Hacked Again'
WATCH: Extended Interview with Ethan Garr of RoboKiller, an anti-robocall app

MORE INFORMATION: The TRACE Act, an anti-robocall bill


More from News 12
2:37
‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

‘We’re asking to fight.’ Parents, students call on officials to save Wayne Catholic school from closing

1:44
Clouds, some rain expected for Saturday, weather should improve by Sunday

Clouds, some rain expected for Saturday, weather should improve by Sunday

0:25
Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

Prosecutor: Human remains found in 1 of 3 cars submerged in Cooper River in Pennsauken

0:21
Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

Officials: 3 people, including 2 officers, injured in car crash in Jersey City

0:15
Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

Police: Newton hospital temporarily put on lockdown amid reports of armed person

2:11
Paramus community honors student, teacher killed in school bus crash six years ago

Paramus community honors student, teacher killed in school bus crash six years ago

2:26
First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

First full week of Sen. Menendez’s federal corruption trial comes to a close

2:24
New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky

New Jersey man dubbed ‘most frequent flyer’ hits 24 million miles in the sky

2:05
36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

36th Annual Belmar Seafood Festival to take place this weekend at Silver Lake Park

3:17
Peapack-Gladstone residents, business owners split on decision to euthanize geese in borough

Peapack-Gladstone residents, business owners split on decision to euthanize geese in borough

1:30
Scottie Scheffler, charged with assault after officer dragged near fatal crash, tees off at PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler, charged with assault after officer dragged near fatal crash, tees off at PGA Championship

1:36
Hoboken introduces ordinance banning single-use food items in take-out orders. See the plan.

Hoboken introduces ordinance banning single-use food items in take-out orders. See the plan.

0:50
Main Street New Jersey: Restaurants, businesses to visit in downtown Somerville

Main Street New Jersey: Restaurants, businesses to visit in downtown Somerville

PSE&G warns of balloon, kite and drone hazards during outdoor celebrations

PSE&G warns of balloon, kite and drone hazards during outdoor celebrations

0:28
Bayonne fire captain honored for saving swimmer in Virginia

Bayonne fire captain honored for saving swimmer in Virginia

0:21
Police warn of phony $100 bills scam in Pompton Lakes

Police warn of phony $100 bills scam in Pompton Lakes

0:32
New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant ranks No. 1 must-see roadside attraction in the US

New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant ranks No. 1 must-see roadside attraction in the US

0:20
Prosecutor: Driver in fatal Newark pedestrian strike charged with suspended license

Prosecutor: Driver in fatal Newark pedestrian strike charged with suspended license

0:23
FDA approves first self-test for cervical cancer

FDA approves first self-test for cervical cancer

0:21
Robert's Cleaners in Sayreville returning customer’s clothing after car crash closes business

Robert's Cleaners in Sayreville returning customer’s clothing after car crash closes business