In the News

Rise of the Robocall

Mar 26, 2021 NPR

Walt Hickey is a senior editor for data at Insider. Recently, he has been getting a bunch of phone calls about renewing his auto warranty, but Walt doesn’t even have a car! Where is all this spam coming from?

Cell phone spam calls have been on the rise for a few years now. Americans receive billions of robocalls per month. Most people, like Walt, just hang up as soon as they find out it’s a scam robocall. So why are advertisers, even scammers, spending money on them? Turns out, robocalls are so cheap that even luring in a few people is worth paying for billions of calls, and even though these spam calls are technically illegal, the government hasn’t successfully clamped down on robocallers.

On The Indicator, Walt helps us explain the economics behind how robocalls have become such a nuisance, and what this year holds for the dreaded robocall.