While Americans talk on the phone less often, robots seem to be more keen to do so. An analysis by spam protection app provider Hiya
has found that 26.3 billion calls were placed by machines in the U.S. in 2018 – and that most robots were up to no good.
The company estimates that the number is an increase of 46 percent in robocalls over 2017. Considering that there were 274 million mobile phone plan subscribers in the U.S. in 2018, robots called every mobile phone user an average of eight times a month. Robots were used to scam people with fake vouchers or lottery wins. Other phone users were charged when calling back an overseas number.
The biggest segment of calls made by robots were just annoying spam (32.1 percent), according to Hiya. Cases of actual fraud amounted up to an estimated 25.5 percent of all robocalls made. Another 24.7 percent of calls were placed by telemarketer machines.
Texas was the state most heavily targeted by robocalls in 2018, in part due to the fact that a popular scam had machines call people and tell them they won a free trip or the like with Dallas-based company Southwest Airlines.