November 16, 2022

Car Warranty Robocalls Plummeted in Late 2022: Here’s Why

Car Warranty Robocalls Plummeted in Late 2022: Here’s Why

For as long as RoboKiller has tracked robocall trends, car warranty calls have held the infamous distinction of most pervasive scam. But that’s all changed — swiftly and dramatically.

According to RoboKiller estimates, car warranty robocalls plunged from nearly 1 billion in June 2022 to fewer than 7 million just 3 months later. Whereas these unwanted messages accounted for between 13-17% of all robocalls in the first half of 2022, that figure now sits well below 1%.

What gives?

First things first: How big of a problem are car warranty robocalls?

Until recently, auto warranty scams were a part of everyday life for Americans. In fact, it’s statistically possible that every person with a smartphone received at least one of these unwanted messages in the past 12 months.

Here’s a closer look at the severity of the problem.

  • In 2020, Americans received 6.5 billion car warranty robocalls, 12% of the 54.6 billion overall spam calls that reached their phones.
  • In 2021, auto warranty scams doubled to 13 billion, accounting for 18% of the 72.2 billion robocalls placed by scammers that year.
  • In the first half of 2022, Americans received 5.7 billion car warranty calls, just shy of 2021’s pace and good for 14% of the 40 billion spam calls sent to that point.

But then something dramatic happened.

Why did auto warranty robocalls fall off a cliff in late 2022?

The steep decline in car warranty robocalls can be traced back to July 7, 2022. That day, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a series of actions designed to mitigate these scams. The agency’s Robocall Response Team had identified a specific group responsible for sending billions of these scams and a select number of voice service providers who were letting them go unchecked. So, they set out a series of repercussions for both, detailed below.

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Who did the FCC identify as responsible for the robocalls?

The FCC named Roy Cox Jr, Aaron Michael Jones, their Sumco Panama companies, and international associates as the operatives behind upwards of 8 billion auto warranty robocalls since 2018.

Although Cox Jr and Jones may not be household names, they’re well-known to federal agents. In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned Cox Jr from telemarketing after he orchestrated an illegal robocall operation designed to steal from Americans via credit card scams, auto warranty scams, home security scams, and other fraudulent means. In 2017, Jones was likewise banned from telemarketing for making hundreds of millions of calls to people on the Do Not Call registry.

In addition, The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau sent cease and desist letters to 8 carriers (Call Pipe, Fugle Telecom, Geist Telecom, Global Lynks, Mobi Telecom, South Dakota Telecom, SipKonnect, and Virtual Telecom) the Cox/Jones operation had used for their schemes. These voice service providers were given 48 hours to stop permitting the traffic, otherwise they’d risk legal action and be removed from the Robocall Mitigation Database — meaning none of the traffic on their networks would be allowed to pass through. The FCC also issued a warning to all other U.S.-based carriers to cease carrying these robocalls.

What were the contents of the robocalls?

The Cox/Jones operation was massive in scale and unsurprisingly involved a number of prerecordings. The robocalls generally contained marketing for nonexistent vehicle service warranties. The calls would open with a message along the lines of “We’ve been trying to reach you concerning your car’s extended warranty” or another variation. The recipient would be encouraged to follow prompts to speak to a “warranty specialist” about extending their car’s warranty.

What’s happened to auto warranty scams since the FCC action?

The FCC’s action yielded spectacular results virtually immediately. In July 2022, Americans received 43% fewer robocalls than they did in June. That percentage dropped another 40% in August. By September and October, car warranty robocalls had descended all the way to 7 and 12 million, respectively, a far cry from the nearly 1 billion in the two months prior to the FCC’s crackdown.

What does this all mean for robocalls at large?

This is an overwhelmingly positive step in the fight to eliminate robocalls once and for all. Car warranty robocalls in particular have been a thorn in the side of Americans and the driver behind financial hardship for many. The FCC demonstrated that the telecommunications industry is capable of shutting down these predatory calls. If everyone works together — from government agencies to carriers to third-party robocall blocker apps — the results can be spectacular.

It’s also worth noting that these schemes can be massive but also centralized in terms of operations. The Cox/Jones group was responsible for more than 8 billion robocalls in a 4-year span. Therefore, targeting major players like this can make an immediate and lasting impact.

What should I do if I receive a car warranty robocall?

If you do receive an auto warranty call — or any other scam for that matter — be sure to follow these steps:

  • Don’t answer any call or text from an unknown number, particularly one that arrives at odd hours.
  • Don’t follow prompts like “Press 1” (this was part of the Cox/Jones scheme) or click any links.
  • Don’t provide personal information like banking details to unknown callers.
  • Download a robocall and robotext blocker app like RoboKiller to equip your phone with the latest technology to stop scams.
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More about RoboKiller

At RoboKiller, we’re on the front lines of the fight to end malicious robocalls for good. No matter what happens legislatively, keep in mind that our award-winning technology is here to protect you against nefarious robocalls and robotexts. With RoboKiller, you’ll benefit from:

  • 99.9% effective spam call and text blocking.
  • Peace of mind in knowing you’re safe from over 600 million known scammers.
  • Protection against financial loss (because anyone can let their guard down). We’ve prevented over $400 million in losses and counting.
  • Customizable features that empower you to decide how you want to receive and block calls and texts.
  • A free 7-day trial to see if the app is right for you.

Get started with RoboKiller today.

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