U.S. consumers received just under 3.8 billion robocalls in December, representing a 16.3% decrease from November’s volume, despite an additional day in the month. December averaged 121.6 million robocalls/day and 1,407 robocalls/second, a full 19% lower than November’s average of 150.2 million robocalls/day and 1,738 robocalls/second.

December’s drop made it the lowest volume month of robocalls since February 2022, and its volume was a stunning 20% below this year’s average volume of roughly 4.6 billion robocalls/month, according to a new report.

These latest figures are provided by YouMail, a free robocall-blocking app and call protection service for mobile phones. The figures are determined by extrapolating from the robocall traffic attempting to get through to YouMail’s millions of active users.

Annual Call Volume Trend Shows Steady Increase Year-Over-Year

In 2023, the overall robocall volume grew at a rate of 9% over 2022, with just over 55 billion robocalls vs. 50.3 billion in 2022.

However, that overall increase hides some positive trends. First, there was a 38% reduction in scam calls, down to just over 8.1 billion scam calls for the year. This stems from a combination of much less call spoofing due to Stir/Shaken being rolled out almost universally, as well as scammers getting much more targeted in their calling campaigns. Secondly, this reduction in scam calls led to likely unwanted calls declining from 49% of all calls to 43% of all robocalls, with over 1.3 billion fewer likely unwanted calls for the year.

Type of Robocall

2023 Annual Volume

2023 Percentage Calls

Notifications

18.4 billion (+16.3%)

33% (+2%)

Payment Reminders

13.1 billion (+35.2%)

24% (+5%)

Telemarketing

15.4 billion (+32.1%)

28% (+5%)

Scams

8.1 billion (-38.4%)

15% (-12%)

On the negative side, all other categories of calls grew for the year, with telemarketing calls and payment reminders jumping 32% and 35% respectively, and notification calls jumping 16%. This appears to be in large part a response to calls either not getting through because of how they are labeled to consumers, as well as consumers simply deciding to no longer answer unknown numbers.

December’s Unwanted Call Volume Was Down Significantly

December showed some major changes in call volume, with all types of call volume down significantly. Unwanted telemarketing and scam calls were down over 400 billion calls to just over 1.5 billion, with scam calls down almost 24% from November and telemarketing calls down almost 19%.

Type of

Robocall

Estimated December

Robocalls

Percentage December
Robocalls

Notifications

1.23 billion (-15.5%)

32% (+1%)

Payment Reminders

0.98 billion (-10.5%)

26% (+1%)

Telemarketing

1.17 billion (-18.9%)

31% (-1%)

Scams

0.39 billion (-24.1%)

10% (-1%)

Further, as in the past, some calls initially viewed as telemarketing are eventually identified as illegal telemarketing or scam calls. Hence, it’s important to measure the overall quantity of scam and spam calls combined. A scam call contains illegal or fraudulent behavior, such as a call from an enterprise imposter, or one that has a spoofed caller ID. Stir/Shaken’s deployment appears to have materially reduced the number of robocall campaigns based on spoofed IDs, which drives down the number of obvious scam calls by making them harder to detect since they appear to be telemarketing campaigns unless there is other evidence of fraud.

“Winners” in December 2023

The top cities, area codes, and states with the most robocalls and robocalls/person remained mostly unchanged from November. The changes included Chicago moving back into 3rd place, replacing Houston, in the cities with the most robocalls. And South Carolina replaced Louisiana as the state with the most robocalls per person.

Cities with the Most Robocalls:

Atlanta, GA (144.5 million, -17%)

Dallas, TX (133.9 million, -21%)

Chicago, IL (121.1 million, -17%).

Cities with the Most Robocalls/Persons:

Baton Rouge, LA (38.1/person, -16%)

Memphis, TN (34.1/person, -16%)

Macon, GA (29.4/person, -13%)

Area Codes with the Most Robocalls:

404 in Atlanta, GA (58.6 million, -20%)

832 in Houston, TX (57.0 million, -20%)

214 in Dallas, TX (47.1 million, -20%)

Area Codes with the Most Robocalls/Person:

404 in Atlanta, GA (47.9/person, -20%)

225 in Baton Rouge, LA (38.1/person, -16%)

901 in Memphis, TN (34.1/person, -16%)

State with the Most Robocalls:

Texas (463.3 million, -20%)

California (321.0 million, -15%)

Florida (307.9 million, -16%)

State with the Most Robocalls/Person:

South Carolina (24.5/person, -15%)

Louisiana (24.1/person, -17%)

Tennessee (20.4/person, -15%)

These data points are provided by YouMail, a free call protection app for mobile phones. YouMail won the American Business Awards’ Gold Stevie Award for Technical Innovation of the Year, and the YouMail app was named the nation’s best robocall-blocking solution in a competition organized by Geoffrey Fowler of the Washington Post.

YouMail provides the YouMail Robocall Index to estimate robocall volume across the country and for specific area codes every month. This estimate is formed by extrapolating from the behavior of the billions of calls YouMail has handled for its users, and these statistics are regularly cited by the FCC as a definitive source for national data trends.

Source: YouMail, Inc.