New Report: The #1 Phone Scam in America

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Phone scams are increasingly out of control.

That’s the word from a recent report from anti-spam call website RoboKiller.com. The 2022 Mid-Year Phone Scam Insights, which covers scam calls and text messages, gives a mid-year status report on how prolific phone scammers have gotten and how much they’re costing consumers.

In this article, I’ll cover some of the main aspects of the report as well as some things you can do to curb scam calls.

Here are some key findings from the report, which covers from January to June 2022:

  • U.S. residents have received more than 66 billion robotexts already this year. That number is projected to surpass 147 billion by the end of the year.
  • Americans received 40 billion spam calls in the first half of 2022 and are on pace to reach 86 billion by year’s end, a 19% hike compared to last year.
  • Criminals have taken $30 billion from American consumers via scam phone calls so far this year, which matches what they lost in all of 2021. If the trend continues, scam victims are projected to lose a total of $60 billion by year’s end, a 96% increase over last year.

What Is the #1 Scam Call In America?

No scam call has gained traction like the vehicle warranty scam, which RoboKiller projects will account for nearly 13 billion calls in 2022. That’s more than the next five most common types of scam calls combined.

Money expert Clark Howard says, no matter how convincing the person on the phone is, turn down that car warranty offer!

“You can have absolute frauds where people tell you that they’ll cover everything on your car, and people fall for it. But there is no warranty at all. They just steal your money,” he says.

“Even if they are some kind of marketing company, the truth is getting paid on a claim from one of these marketing firms is nearly impossible,” he adds.

What Are the Top Phone Scams?

Want to know which phone scams criminals are using the most? Here’s a look at top phone scams by topic, estimated through the end of this year:

Category2022 YTDProjected in 2022% of Total
Vehicle Warranty5,862,635,56112,587,829,86914.59%
Health Insurance1,764,014,4013,787,564,9854.39%
Pharmacy514,336,7731,104,346,9661.28%
Medical261,186,643560,801,1940.65%
Student Loans221,004,082474,524,0870.55%
Insurance216,985,826465,896,3760.54%

Read RoboKiller’s 2022 Mid-Year Phone Scam Insights.

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How To Stop Scam Calls

Because scam calls and other robocalls are such a problem, you may be wondering what you can do about them. Here are some tips.

Register Your Phone on the Do Not Call List

The free National Do Not Call Registry is mainly to stop telemarketers from inundating you with calls, but if you want to cut down on spam calls in general, it won’t hurt to register.

You can add your landline or cell phone number to the list by going online to DoNotCall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.

Don’t Know Who’s Calling You? Don’t Answer

Clark says he has a simple way to avoid unwanted calls.

“If I don’t recognize the number as being from someone I know, I do not answer the call.”

Use Your Wireless Provider’s Call Blocker

Many major wireless carriers have implemented the industry standard protocol STIR/SHAKEN, which stands for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN).

The protocol lets customers know whether a call is really coming from the number listed on caller ID.

Some mobile phone companies offer paid services to block callers, but here are the free options for the major carriers.

  • T-Mobile: The carrier offers the Scam Shield app (iOS and Android), which allows you to report robotexts.
  • AT&T: The mobile phone provider offers wireless customers Call Protect, which uses automatic fraud blocking and warnings on suspected spam calls.
  • Verizon: The company offers its mobile customers Call Filter, a free app (iOS and Android) that screens and autoblocks incoming calls.

Final Thoughts

You can bet that criminals are going to continue to find ways around everything we, the phone companies and even the U.S. government are doing to block their calls.

At the end of the day, if you don’t know who’s calling you, you shouldn’t answer the call. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

Read our comprehensive guide on how to stop robocalls for good.

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Are you sick of spam calls? Share your opinion in our Clark.com Community.

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