Among the six IRS calls, three Publisher's Clearing House calls and handful of other scam notification calls I received this week, the most sobering one may have been from a reader who claims his phone rings nonstop.
He didn't want me to use his name as he's in the process of trying to expunge his information from all official records, a last-ditch effort he said is his only remaining recourse to "try and stop the calls once and for all."
He said he put his name on the National Do Not Call Registry, reported scam calls to local authorities and even reached out to the individual organizations that were fraudulently being represented, but nothing worked.
Sadly, he's not alone. And the incessant ringing is not even the worst part of it.
According to a recent YouGov survey, 89 percent of Americans receive unwanted calls each month and 11 percent of adults in the United States have been a victim of a telephone scam. Of those scammed, 20 percent said they had lost between $500 and $10,000 as a result.
The survey, which spoke with 1,195 adults across the country, went on to reveal the top five U.S. telephone scams based on victim responses, and the list shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been reading this column regularly.
The top scams are the now infamous IRS calls (33 percent), followed by credit/loan scams (31 percent), lottery/sweepstakes scams (27 percent), banking scams (22 percent) and finally automated message scams (16 percent).
We've addressed nearly all of these scams in one way or another, but the numbers are still staggering. Especially when you factor in the calls that aren't necessarily scam related, but are still unwanted.
According to the survey, 60 percent of respondents claimed they continued to receive repeated calls from organizations despite asking them to stop calling, and 14 percent say they received more than 30 unwanted calls a month.
"With 89 percent of people claiming to received unwanted calls each month, the scale of the problem is out of control," said Kris Hicks of CPR Call Blocker, which helped commission the survey. "Not only are consumers contending with regular Robocalls, there is also a risk that they could be tricked into giving away personal details and financial information.
"We hope that by highlighting the most common types of scams out there, people will be more savvy when it comes to saying ‘no’ to unwanted callers.”
CPR Call Blocker offers a device, the V5000, that plugs into home phones and comes installed with 5,000 known unwanted phone numbers and offers the option of adding up to 1,200 more, but at this point it's hard to believe that there's any solution that can completely solve the problem. It retails for $99.99.
Fraudsters will continue to find ways around no-call lists and call blockers, and people will continue to be bombarded by unwanted calls and scams.
The best advice has always been to educate yourself on the most popular scams and to ignore or hang up on any call that seems even remotely sketchy.
The hope is that eventually the people calling will move on to someone else, and I have heard from some readers who said the calls have subsided after awhile.
But for the poor gentleman who I spoke with earlier this week, the constant calls may drive him to do the only surefire thing to stop the ringing once and for all — unplug his phone.
For more information on the CPR Call Blocker, visit www.callblockerusa.com.