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Why Robocalls Will Never Truly Go Away

We should view robocalls like email spam, which was once incredibly prevalent but now has been largely reduced to a folder in your email that nobody ever really checks and is now more a minor inconvenience than a huge annoyance, according to a published report detailing why robocalling will never truly go away.

What it will take to get to that point is technology, not enforcement or legislation, according to the report, and the impetus is on wireless carriers to do more to identify robocalls and block them. But what the report does not talk about, in any way, is how to keep legitimate calls — such as those from debt collectors — from being blocked or labeled as spam. Giving individuals the power to label legitimate collection calls as spam or robocalls creates significant problems for an industry that relies on the phone to get in touch with people. And with no clear path to get a number removed from a list of blocked or spammed numbers, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for collection agencies to get through to individuals.

Innovations in technology, like the STIR/SHAKEN authentication technology for calls will help, but like spam, criminals will just find another hole in the defense and use that instead, experts predict.

“There’s no silver bullet. You build tools and protective capabilities and mitigation techniques,” said Jim McEachern, a senior technology consultant at the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions. “This is not a problem that you solve.”

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