Atlantans get more robocalls than anyone else in America.
The telecommunications service company YouMail says for the 14th month in a row in January, Atlanta was the most robocalled city in the U.S., receiving 100.7 million calls that month alone. Nationwide, 2.3 billion robocalls went out in January.
"2.3 billion robocalls in a month means 73 million robocalls per day, or 845 robocalls placed every second," says Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail. "Regulators, carriers and software makers all need to step up by implementing stronger protections for the American people." Among its services, YouMail provides call-blocking technology for mobile phones.
Atlanta area code 404 topped the list with 47.5 million calls received--nearly 40 calls per person in January. Area code 678 came in at #4, and 770 ranked #17.
Atlanta residents say the calls are becoming unique in their pitches.
Robocall recipient Pam Roberts says she gets six or seven such calls per week, and doesn't know how the callers got her cell phone number.
"I think the one that annoys me the most is I say 'Hello?' and I hear a woman's voice saying, 'Hello!' and then there's a pause, so you think it's going to be a real person on the other end of the phone. And then she says, 'Oh, I'm sorry, was having trouble with my headset,' or 'Oh, sorry, I was distracted,' and you know it's a totally automated call. That's gotta be the most annoying," says Roberts.
David Danzig says although every phone number he has is on the Do Not Call list, he still gets easily three to four robocalls a week.
"I've won thousands of cruises," says Danzig. "I've been hired by Google, Facebook, and just about everybody in Silicon Valley. I live a very exciting life, according to these robotic calls that I get."
WSB consumer expert Clark Howard says these are just the tip of the iceberg.
"The average person gets more than one robocall per day. Some people get a lot more than that," says Clark. "The technology that's available today allows criminals and con artists from overseas to reach beyond our shores and make essentially unlimited calls at no cost to people all across the United States."
YouMail's Robocall Index tracks robocalls by area code and most frequent senders. In Atlanta, banks and bill collectors appear to be the most frequent robocallers, but Clark says you can't always trust caller ID, because phone numbers and caller names can be "spoofed."
"The call will appear to be coming from a company, and you answer it thinking you're talking to that company, but it could just as easily could be a robocall or a scam," says Clark.
Clark lets his cell phone's voice mail screen calls for him. He advises to ignore calls from business numbers, unless you have communicated with a particular company and are expecting a call back from them.
"If you get a number from a private number or an unknown number, never, ever answer that call," says Clark.