Incredible as it may be, con artists are responsible for at least a billion monthly phone calls. At this point in the year, one study estimates that figure to be closer to 100 billion. Billion is the correct spelling.
Typically, con artists will try to persuade victims to buy fake auto warranties. After money, health care and Social Security were the next most frequently discussed issues.
There was a 60% drop in vehicle warranty scam calls after the FCC issued cease-and-desist letters last month. However, this temporary calm won’t last forever.
U.S. phone companies were told by the FCC to stop making fraudulent auto warranty sales calls last month. Fortune was the first to report that the state of Ohio had filed suit against an individual or group of individuals, alleging that they were responsible for a widespread scam involving auto warranty robocalls.
Scammers aren’t going to go away quietly, as a new report detailing the most common types of scam calls and emerging scam trends demonstrated, despite this kind of government action.
The National Consumer Law Center estimates that in 2021 there will be “more than 50 billion” fraudulent calls made to consumers in the United States. However, First Orion, a provider of scam protection solutions, believes the actual figure is much higher. According to the “2022 Mid-Year Phone Scam Report” recently published by First Orion, an estimated 101 billion scam calls were made to U.S. consumers in the first half of 2022. According to estimates by security firm First Orion, this has led to over 80 million fraud attempts with potential losses of $40 billion.
First Orion found that 53% of respondents to a customer survey conducted in conjunction with the report said they had received more scam calls in 2022 than in 2021. Two-thirds of people between the ages of 18 and 34 who were surveyed by First Orion reported experiencing financial loss as a result of receiving a scam phone call.
The auto warranty scam was the most common, followed by the health care and Social Security fraud. This agrees with previous trends, says First Orion’s chief data officer Kent Welch.
Welch told Car and Driver that “vehicle warranty scams traditionally rank at the top,” especially in 2022. “However, the FCC warned eight voice service providers in July to stop transporting the suspicious traffic by issuing “cease and desist” letters. Calls related to fake auto warranties decreased by 60% in July compared to the previous month. “
However, we shouldn’t expect that decrease to last forever. Welch speculated that the temporary decline was due to the fact that only about 66% of Americans buy legitimate warranties, despite the fact that warranty calls can be effective for bad actors.
The con artists have put in time and effort to research you so they can fool you. You can’t assume that the caller has any good intentions simply because they have some accurate information about you, such as the year, make, and model of the car you’re driving.
The bad guys will use any background info they can find on the victim to make their conversation with them seem more genuine, as stated by Welch. “One way to get your hands on such data is by perusing public records. However, fraudsters have another option: they can buy personal data from a third party.”
Scammers may be content to add you to their database even if they don’t succeed in stealing any money from you this time.
According to Welch, “it is reasonable to assume that bad actors want to extract from their victims whatever information will result in financial loss for the victim.” If they fail to do so, they will try to scam you again using any information they have gleaned from you in the meantime.
The majority of fraudulent phone calls, according to a list compiled by First Orion, are concentrated in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Ohio. Welch stated that it is challenging to identify a single cause for the influx of scam calls in these regions, and that criminals are likely employing regionally specific strategies.
It’s possible, he said, that Texas’ high rate of uninsured adults makes scammers more likely to target the state in general because of the high profile of health care and health insurance fraud.
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