iCloud scam, health insurance spam among top NJ robocalls
New Jersey residents each received, on average, about 13 robocalls during the month of November. And even though you're likely very frustrated by these auto-dialed calls, data suggest things could be much worse in the Garden State.
According to YouMail, a robocall blocker and tracker, 5 billion robocalls were initiated nationwide in November. The average resident received 15 of these calls — some legit, some not even close — featuring prerecorded messages. In Texas, the per-person average was a little over 18 robocalls last month.
"The challenge is ... a little more than half the calls are some sort of scam or illegal telemarketing," said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. "It's really a challenge right now to understand what's legit and what's not."
Their database shows 136.6 million robocalls in the Garden State last month, a 12% drop from the month prior. Residents in the state received close to 190,000 robocalls per hour, or about 53 per second.
Top robocallers to New Jersey in November 2019 (YouMail):
- Power outage alert (800-436-7734)
- Bank/Credit card payment reminder (800-955-6600)
- Substitute teacher alert (800-942-3767)
- Apple iCloud scam (800-692-7753)
- Bank/Credit card payment reminder (855-885-5834)
- Health insurance spam (800-318-2596)
- Back/Credit card payment reminder (866-890-3387)
- Bank/Credit card payment reminder (888-222-4227)
- Membership/Subscription payment reminder (800-897-6877)
- Debt collector (855-245-7098)
Even if the number that appears on one's caller ID matches with the company the call claims to be coming from, the call could still have bad intentions, Quilici warned. Scammers have the ability to "spoof" numbers in order to trick the folks on the other end of the call into giving up personal information.
"Never use call-back numbers anymore. You just can't trust that people are who they say they are," Quilici said. "If the voicemail claims to be Citibank, look at your credit card and call the number there. If it claims to be the New Jersey power company, go get your bill and look at the phone number there."
Quilici said residents would be wise to let a call roll to voicemail if they're unfamiliar with the number coming in.
Quilici estimated the nation is seeing roughly 20% more robocalls this year compared to 2018. He said "somewhere around 5 billion robocalls" per month appears to be "the new normal."
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.