For some residents of the San Gabriel Valley, Mandarin-language robocalls are a daily occurrence.
They often begin with a recorded message from a woman claiming to be with the Chinese consulate and saying that you have documents or a package to pick up or that you owe money. In reality, the robocalls are linked to international scams aimed at taking financial advantage of Chinese nationals in America. The numbers are often "spoofed" or made to seem like they're coming from a number with the same area code as you have, the thinking being that the person being scammed is more likely to pick up a number with an area code they recognize.
An estimated 26 billion robocalls were made to cell phones across the country in 2018. The FBI released a report on March 28 about the Chinese embassy scam. It found that 35% of victims who were contacted about the scam reside in California and New York.
Have you received these calls? If so, how frequently? Have you reported any of them, either to the FCC or to the Chinese Consulate? How is the federal government addressing the issue? What solutions are already out there to address robocalls? What solutions are being developed to address?
For more information from the Federal Trade Commission on what to do if you receive robocalls, and links to how to report them, click here.
Ian Barlow, “Do Not Call” program coordinator at the Federal Trade Commission
Gerry Christensen, CEO of Mind Commerce, a consulting firm to the communications and technological industry based in Seattle