Buybacks have gotten a bad rap from both Republicans and Democrats. But stocks would be trading at a massive discount without them.Marketsread more
Fiat Chrysler and France's Renault could soon partner up to take on the sweeping changes to the global auto industry, according to a report in the Financial Times. The...Autosread more
Microsoft shares have gained 133% since November 2015, outperforming a tech "basket of unicorns" over that stretch.Technologyread more
The president's state visit comes amid tensions with carmaker Toyota over potential auto tariffs. Trump has repeatedly threatened Japanese and European carmakers with tariffs.Traderead more
The IRS is about to release a new draft of Form W-4, which will more closely reflect the changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For workers, that means they'll need...Personal Financeread more
When commercial real estate investor Manny Khoshbin spent $2.2 million on the fastest production car in the world, he had no idea it would very quickly also become the...Autosread more
The Mega Millions jackpot has spilled over $400 million. It would be the ninth largest winning since the game began in 2002.Personal Financeread more
Trump was speaking at a meeting of Japanese business leaders in Tokyo during his state visit to Japan on Saturday.Marketsread more
The biggest U.S. gasoline price surge in years is running out of steam just in time for the start of the summer driving season.Energyread more
The federal minimum wage has remained $7.25 per hour since 2009. But several states, and even some companies, have since taken matters into their own hands to pay employees a...Workread more
Stocks rose on Friday, but notched weekly losses as investors worried the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.US Marketsread more
It's not your imagination. You are getting bombarded with robocalls.
Robocalling, a practice where marketers send automated voice messages to thousands of phones at once, surged 60 percent in the U.S. last year to 48 billion calls, according to preliminary year-end data from YouMail, a robocall management company that tracks the volume of calls.
"Scam calls have been increasing very steadily, and it's driving people to not answer their phone," said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. "It's driving people to not answer their phone and it's kind of created this death spiral of phone calls as the robocallers ramp up their efforts, and the legitimate roboccalls try harder to get through."
Both mobile carriers and smart phone makers are racing to keep up with the influx, but have been unsuccessful so far because the technology to deploy the calls is cheap, easy and lucrative for scammers. Scams make up an estimated 40 percent of all robocalls, Quilici said, while the other 60 percent are "legitimate" robocalls, like those that come from pharmacies, libraries, schools and political candidates.
"New, inexpensive technology and products have enabled scammers, including those located outside the U.S., to set up mass calling operations that can place high volumes of spoofed calls with minimal investment," said Andrew Morgan, a spokesman for AT&T. "We will have to continue to find new tools as illegal scammers adjust their techniques to overcome the latest innovations."
Most wireless carriers have adopted a security protocol called STIR/SHAKEN to limit the number of calls hitting their networks. The protocol helps verify that the number displayed on caller ID is the same number that actually originated the call, and isn't a number spoofed by the sender, said David Weissman, a spokesman for Verizon.
"Verizon continues to expand on spam identification and control features as part of our Caller Name ID app, which deployed over a year ago," Weissman said. "The latest update allows subscribers to automatically forward spam calls that correspond to their selected level of risk straight to voicemail."
In addition to STIR/SHAKEN, AT&T has been using data analysis and the "Call Protect" app to block calls, including 4.4 billion robocalls since 2016, Morgan said.
The problem for consumers and operators is that scams work, Quilici said. Several robocall schemes are quite lucrative, particularly the 50 to 100 million fake IRS messages that circulate each month.
While only 3 percent to 5 percent of people return the calls, the IRS schemes can net criminals thousands of dollars each, with some users even setting up recurring payments, he said. Identity theft scams have also become increasingly popular, with the robocallers masquerading as health-care providers who collect valuable personal details from return callers.
You can still add your number to the Do Not Call registry at donotcall.gov, and companies likely won't call you if your number is on the registry, Morgan said.
But robocallers who are illegitimate criminals calling from overseas locations have no stake in honoring the law.
Quilici said that when his company began tracking robocalls, it was under the impression that many of the "scam" calls were coming from legitimate but overzealous telemarketers. Further research has shown most of these were either identity or financial scams, he said.