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Unwanted Vs. Wanted Robocalls

Consumers want calls from the likes of utility companies, cable operators, or security monitoring businesses calling for directions or to say "I am running late". Answering the call from a plumber who can help you with a broken water main is also very high on the list of "wanted calls". To be clear, not all robocalls are bad. Kids love robocalls about school closings (e.g. snow days).

Parents don't want to get calls about a school being on lock-down (usually for some scary reason), but would rather get the call than not if there could be a real problem. There are also churches and other community of interest groups that ethically, morally, and legally use robocall technology for certain communications needs.

While "wanted" is in the eye of the beholder, unwanted calls are typically classified as those calls that involve overstepping ethical boundaries and/or violating applicable laws such as the Do Not Call list and/or committing a TCPA violation. They also typically involve some type of scam (misrepresentation) and/or intent to defraud the intended call recipient, which represents a violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

However, there are some gray areas such as calls from ethical, lawful businesses that follow the rules. For example, law-abiding telemarketers and debt collectors do not want to be labeled as "nuisance" or "spam" calls. Unwanted calls exist within a spectrum of legal, but potentially nuisance call traffic, ranging from surveys or solicitations, to maliciously fraudulent activity from scammers. Not all calls within this spectrum carry the same weight of importance or warrant the same consequence such as call blocking.

In this article, we cover:

Robocalls are the scourge of our existence. We know because we beat this drum to death, and for good reason. Robocalls across the board spiked in March 2022 (4.4 billion) by 16 percent over February 2022 (3.8 billion). It was the second major jump in the last three months — an alarming trend. But like spiders, not all robocalls are the same. Naturally, we focus on the ones that drive us mad: the expired vehicle warranty warnings, the panic calls pretending to be the IRS claiming fraud, the health insurance scams.

Scams And Telemarketing


A deeper look at YouMail's Robocall Index shows that in March of 2022, 57 percent of all robocalls (approximately 2.4 billion calls) were categorized as scams (33 percent, or approximately 1.4 billion calls) or telemarketing (24 percent, or approximately 1 billion calls.

At best, these unwanted robocalls seek to annoy you with a scattershot approach to marketing. They program their computers to ring as many phone numbers as possible and hope to profit off a pitifully low (but not zero) conversion rate. Although the rate of telemarketing calls held steady between February and March, the total number rose by roughly 100 million calls.

At worst, unwanted robocalls are full-on scam attempts. They peddle out-and-out lies meant to deceive and rip off the most vulnerable among us. The rate of these calls barely ticked up a point from February to March; however, the total number of scam robocalls increased by about 200 million calls.

These unwanted robocalls are the ones that result in a never-ending game of vishing (voice phishing) dodgeball. You try as best as you can to parry these calls, which account for roughly eight of every 13 robocalls received per person in March. 

Alerts And Reminders

Believe it or not, people receive robocalls that they actually want. We’d be remiss if we didn’t account for these calls.

Certain authorized organizations use robocalling for lawful and ethical reasons. For example, schools and churches leverage robocalling to reach students, families, and members to provide audio advisory messages pertaining to weather delays, special events, or emergencies.

Public safety agencies will make reverse 9-1-1 robocalls in the event of a natural disaster or some catastrophe such as a train derailment. While none of these calls may be considered “good” (except to children excited about a ‘snow day’ at school), they are certainly not unwanted calls because they provide a public good.

Certain commercial entities also use robocalling. However, it is important to note that there must be a relationship between the calling and called parties. It is illegal in the USA to use robocalls to initiate sale of a product or service without permission.

In March 2022, 27 percent of robocalls (approximately 1.2 billion calls) were categorized as alerts and reminders. These might be automated announcements from your children’s school, notifications that your online order is ready, or reminders that your dentist appointment is coming up tomorrow. These robocalls decreased in share from February to March, but the raw total bumped up by roughly 100 billion calls.

Robocall payment reminders are something of a mixed bag. Payment reminders are helpful to some people but a major annoyance to others. In March, 15 percent of robocalls (approximately 700 million calls) were payment reminders. Payment reminders occurred at a slightly lower rate in March than February, but the total number still increased by about 50 million calls. Whether that’s a positive or negative is entirely up to the individual.

YouMail Robocall App Protects Users and Helps Everyone

If you’re ready to put an end to unwanted robocalls, get started with a free YouMail account today. Did you know that becoming a YouMail app user that you help block unlawful robocalls for others? The YouMail robocall app protects its users from unwanted robocalls as well as others through the YouMail Sensor Network. For example, intermediate network service providers rely upon YouMail to block unlawful robocalls before they reach terminating carrier networks.

YouMail Protective Services Robocall Mitigation Solutions for Network Operators

The YouMail Protective Services division provides solutions to leading intermediate network service providers and terminating carriers for blocking unlawful robocalls at the network level. YouMail Score identifies unlawful usage based upon patented technologies including artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital fingerprinting. This is truly "AI for good" and you can also feel good yourself that you are protecting the greater community by using the YouMail app.