ORLANDO, Fla. – It seems every time you get a call from a random phone number, it's a telemarketer trying to get your information.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that nearly half of the calls people receive in 2019 will be spam. In fact, more than 5.2 billion robocalls were made in the United States in March alone -- the highest monthly volume ever, according to YouMail, Inc. CEO Alex Quilici.
Quilici sat down with News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth for this week's episode of "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com."
"In 2015, maybe 1 billion calls per month was the average, so that's up five times in four years," Quilici said. "If it was a stock, it'd be great, but since it's robocalls, it's not great."
Quilici's Los Angeles-based company specializes in screening robocalls and staying up-to-date with the latest tactics being used by telemarketers, including the practice of using phone numbers that are similar to those of the people they're calling.
"It's called neighborhood spoofing," Quilici said. "They're picking a number in your prefix at random to call you in the hopes that you think it's somebody you know and pick it up."
News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld has been working alongside Quilici to inform Central Floridians on ways to avoid becoming a victim. Through his reporting, Holfeld was contacted by 70-year-old Grady Marshall, whose phone number was used by telemarketers to spoof absolute strangers.
"That is not only frustrating, it also angers me," Marshall reacted. "I had a lady who called me back and chewed me out, thinking I was the one calling her."
"What we saw here is that his number got picked up, was used to spoof a bunch of people and then they're mad and calling him back," Quilici said. "The spammers just stole his phone number to make phone calls."
So how can these robocallers be held accountable? Quilici says it's been difficult finding the people responsible because most of them aren't even calling from the United States.
"I think what's going to happen here is a technology-based solution," Quilici said. "If you think about computer viruses, they aren't really a problem anymore. It wasn't that enforcement got great or legislation got great, it was technology got great at recognizing and blocking them."