Spam. It wasn’t always a bad word. Some people even like the canned lunch meat that first hit grocery store shelves in 1937.
But, since 1937, consumers could choose to eat spam – or not. Unlike the unwanted phone calls, millions of Americans receive daily. Proactively registering your phone number on the National Do Not Call list doesn’t exempt you from getting them. That’s because many are illegal and spoofed robocalls, so much so that spam calls are the top consumer complaint to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Check out these statistics:
- This year alone, Americans will get more than 52 billion robocalls, which breaks down to approximately one billion calls each week.
- The U.S. saw a 56 percent increase in spam calls in 2021, 60 percent of which were robocalls.
- Arizona, Florida, and Texas are the top three states where scam calls are reported.
- Roughly 228 million robocalls were made every day in 2021.
- About 2,700 robocalls are placed every second.
These calls can be more than annoying – they can be costly. Last year, almost 60 million Americans lost money to phone scams, with an average reported loss of $502 per person. Overall, males are more often victims of this type of fraud than females.
Too Many Robocalls to Count
Unfortunately, most healthcare providers also fall victim to spam and robocalls. They can’t simply ignore calls and risk losing patients — and their trust.
Each day, a typical provider receives an average of 53 calls with requests for appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and questions about various health concerns. Practices for primary care physicians receive an estimated 150- 300 calls per week, about half of which deal with clinical issues. The average practice already misses about 34 percent of calls, so neglecting calls that might be spam is out of the question.
In addition to robocalls, through which auto-dialing software is utilized to transmit pre-recorded messages to a group of phone numbers typically sold in a group from one scammer to another, there are spoofing calls. And there’s not only one type of spoofing call.
Neighbor spoofing occurs when a scammer manipulates the caller ID number to appear as a local number, often with the same area code and the first three numerals of the recipient’s phone number. In enterprise spoofing, a scammer spoofs the phone numbers of legitimate companies and pretends to call on their behalf.
So Much Spoofing
Hospitals and other healthcare providers are increasingly victims of enterprise spoofing, causing stress for employees and patients. It harms the providers’ reputation because they can be falsely represented on such calls.
Providers dealing with a plethora of spam calls must also deal with the disputation these scams cause to their daily workflow, taking up time and resources that could better be put towards patient care. In more serious cases, these illegal calls have the potential to tie up a phone line through which a patient is attempting to place an emergency call.
The U.S. government has taken steps to limit robocalls, including a law passed in 2019 that increases fines for illegal robocalls from $1,500 to up to $10,000 per call. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED) requires the FCC to mandate the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification framework, designed to enable phone companies to verify caller ID information with a call that matches the caller’s real phone number.
More recently, the FCC in May 2022 adopted new rules to stop illegal robocalls that originate outside the U.S. from entering American phone networks. These robocall campaigns enter the American networks through “gateway providers.”
A Simple Answer to Stopping Spam and Robocalls
Although there’s currently no technology that can eliminate 100 percent of all spam and robocalls, healthcare providers should have a responsibility to at least attempt to keep them to a minimum. How can this be achieved? Implementing HIPAA-compliant phone systems built with the most up-to-date robocall blocking features and the best spam call protection in place.
RingRx helps healthcare providers stop spam and robocalls through our spam screening feature, which assists physician practices, hospitals, health systems, and other provider organizations by:
- Immediately identifying calls that are likely to be spam
- Rating the risk level of each call as “Low,” “Medium,” or “High”
- Outsmarting robocallers by requiring them to bypass a challenge
- Employing all these capabilities to reduce spam calls and create a more productive work environment
Our spam screening solution stops spam in its tracks by using call-reputation artificial intelligence (AI) to detect which calls are coming from sources that are likely to be spam. It works with Call Reputation to provide a multi-layered approach to filtering spam and other unwanted calls, including ones from telemarketers.
Each of our plans includes the spam screening feature, which is enabled on a per-user basis upon request to the RingRx support team. Contact us to learn more or to add this feature to your current RingRx plan.