Robocalls, on the rise nationwide, skyrocket 154.8 percent in Lincoln

Robocalls are increasing across the country, and Lincoln saw the biggest jump nationwide from March to April of the cities studied, according to a company that tracks such phone calls.

Robocalling volumes set a record for the second straight month as Americans received 3.36 billion calls in April, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. That is a 6.5 percent increase over the previous record set in March, and a 34.4 percent increase over April of last year.

The YouMail Robocall Index tracks the calls to iPhones, Androids and landlines. Its statistics are cited by the Federal Communications Commission for national data trends.

Robocalls to Lincoln phones increased 154.8 percent from March to April, the biggest increase in the nation, according to a spokeswoman for the index. A total of 29,100 robocalls were made to Lincoln in April.

A distant second to Lincoln was Southfield, Michigan, where call volume increased 85.4 percent.

Omaha robocalls were not tracked by the YouMail Robocall Index, although the company estimates that the 402 area code received 9 million robocalls in April, equaling roughly 6.7 calls per person.

About 1,297 robocalls were placed every second in April nationwide, or some 112 million calls for each day. The monthly total for April marks the country’s highest robocalling rate since the YouMail Robocall Index was launched in 2015, said YouMail Index CEO Alex Quilici.

The most common reason for robocalls nationally in April was debt collection. In Nebraska, student loan collection was the most common reason.

“Despite the best efforts of regulators, industry groups, service providers and app developers, we are warning consumers to remain vigilant,” Quilici said. “Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, do your homework before calling any number back, and get a robocall blocking app on your cellphone.”

Jim Hegarty, president of the Better Business Bureau in Omaha, which serves Nebraska, South Dakota, southwest Iowa and parts of Kansas, encouraged those who do not wish to receive robocalls to add their names to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry, Scammers will not be deterred, Hegarty said, but legitimate organizations will honor your request.

We encourage people to be discerning,” Hegarty said. “If they receive a robocall, and it’s a topic that you have no interest in, just hang up your phone.”