Robocalls Exploded in 2018

January 29, 2019

The robocall problem exploded in 2018 with an estimated 47.8 billion robocalls made in the U.S., an increase of 56.8% over the estimated 30.5 billion robocalls in 2017.

"It's astonishing how many robocalls were made nationwide in 2018," said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. "We're now talking about 150 or more robocalls for every adult in the U.S. over the course of the year, and many of these robocallers are unwanted scammers trying to trick people out of their money or personal data.

Robocalls Continue to Be Driven by Scams

The robocall problem in 2018 was driven in large part by scams and telemarketing. There were nearly 27 billion robocalls classified as scams or telemarketing, which added up to almost the total number of robocalls made in 2017 (30.5 billion).


Type of Robocall

Estimated 2018 Robocalls

Percentage of Total Robocalls

Alerts and Reminders

10.1 billion


Payment Reminders

11.0 billion



8.9 billion



17.7 billion


The top 10 robocall scam types for 2018 were: Health/Health Insurance Scams, Interest Rate Scams, Student Loan Scams, Easy Money Scams, Search Listing Scams, Home-Related Scams, Travel Scams, Tax Scams, Business-Related Scams, and Warranty Scams. Remarkably, the top 5 scams all made over a billion estimated robocalls for each category.


Type of Scam

Estimated 2018 Robocalls

Summary of Scam


Health/Health Insurance Scams

5.1 billion

Identify theft/scam payments


Interest Rate Scams

2.3 billion

Identify theft


Student Loan Scans

1.3 billion

Identify theft/scam payments


Easy Money Scams

1.3 billion

Pay to make money/get job


Search Listing Scams

1.1 billion

Pay to keep search position


Home-Related Scams

908 million

Scam payments


Travel Scams

848 million

Identify theft/scam payments


Tax Scams

783 million

Scam payments


Business-Related Scams

753 million

Scam payments/identify theft


Warranty Scams

679 million

Scam payments


"Winners" in 2018
Atlanta was the city receiving the most robocalls in 2018, with just under 2.1 billion. Six other cities had over 1 billion robocalls made to their residents: Dallas (1.8 billion), New York (1.7 billion), Los Angeles (1.6 billion), Chicago (1.6 billion), Houston (1.5 billion), and Baltimore (1.1 billion).

The 404 area code in Atlanta was the area code that received the most robocalls in 2018, with 927 million robocalls. Six other area codes exceeded 500 million robocalls: the 204 (Dallas, 727 million), the 832 (Houston, 716 million), the 678 (Atlanta, 653 million), the 954 (Fort Lauderdale, 570 million), the 917 (New York City, 546 million), and the 310 (Los Angeles, 508 million).

The state of Texas edged out California as the state receiving the most robocalls in 2018, with 5.32 billion vs. 5.3 billion. Three other states had over 3 billion robocalls made to their residents: Florida with 3.8 billion, Georgia with 3.07 billion, and New York with 3.03 billion.

Potential Trends for 2019
We project between 60 billion and 75 billion robocalls in 2019, a further increase of at least 25% over 2018, and at least double the volume in 2017, just two short years ago.

This projection is based on looking at three likely scenarios: robocall volume staying flat for 2019 vs. the last quarter of 2018; robocall volume growing in 2019 at a similar number of robocalls as 2018; and finally, having robocalls grow at the same percentage pace as 2018 vs. 2017. 

Projected Robocall Volume for 2019


Project Volume

Flat with Q4, 2018

60 billion calls

Same volume increase as 2018

65 billion calls

Same rate increase as 2018

75 billion calls

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