July is full of fireworks, barbecues, and the eventual mark of the end of summer. Scammers, however, never take a break. With our July Scam Call Trends Report, we’re cooking up the latest tactics to look out for and some tips to save your personal information in the future.
In our Mid-Year Phone Scam Report, we discovered that vehicle warranty scams were the most dominant scams in the first six months of 2022.
Due to this, the FCC went into overdrive to reduce this tactic by:
- Investigating a group called Sumco Panama and others for being behind a scamming operation of more than 8 billion robocalls.
- Ordering phone companies to stop carrying robocalls known to be car warranty scams.
With the increased effort against vehicle warranty scams, there’s been a noticeable decrease in scam volume since June – by 66%!
Most Common Scam: Social Security
In July, a new leader topped scam trends – Social Security (boo for more scams but we’re just glad it’s not a vehicle warranty)!
These scams haven’t had a large amount of growth, but rather are becoming a growing concern. Most people targeted tend to be retirees, who are trying to access their Social Security benefits.
There are a couple of themes these tactics tend to follow: Either threats of legal action and/or discussion of disability eligibility.
Scammers often use threats because it’s the quickest way for them to trick people out of their money. No one wants a threat of immediate action above their head. Threats typically lead people to scramble and make a quick decision – and can lead to victims paying the price to “stop the threat.”
Here’s a scam script we’ve found to be popular:
“Hi, this is Mary calling. More than 2 million Americans have social security and disability insurance, which can help ease the burden of being unable to work due to a disability. With my expertise, I can walk you through the process and you can start collecting your benefits today. Ready to talk, press one to connect with me.”
High Growth Scams
According to last month’s research, we’ve found that some of the lesser-tiered scams have grown and are making a name for themselves. It’s just another reason to be wary of scammers.
IRS-related scams have shot up in popularity among scammers recently. Currently, these tactics are all about falsely claiming that victims need to pay their back taxes, rather than prepping for tax season.
“This is a notification call about the tax compromise program. Do you still owe $5,000 in back taxes? Thank you for connecting. With the central processing center for federal back tax negotiations. The purpose of her call was to make you aware that the government suspended the tax collection act and we’ll settle all old tax debts that U.S. residents may have.”
These scammers are trying to blind you with their numerous calls promoting solar energy use. Pretending to be telemarketers, scam callers claim they will install solar panels or will offer energy via a solar farm.
“This message is provided by the administration of energy saving. The state has now set aside $1.3 billion. Your home is eligible for up to $10,000 to use for clean energy upgrades. For exterior paint, new windows, H.V.A.C., drought tolerant, landscaping, cool roof, and solar to find out how much your home is qualified for, press one. If your home has already been qualified, press nine.”
A telltale sign of this scam tactic is the offer of free solar panels or upgrades. Nothing is really “free” to scammers.
Identity theft is definitely not a joke. Over the past few months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection scams have run wild. Threats of impending legal action are often used with this scam tactic.
“Hi, this is officer Clark Mary calling you from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The reason behind the call is to inform you that a package has been seized, which is found under your name, and a legal course of action has been issued to be taken under your name. To avoid legal consequences and to know more about the investigation, press one.”
Scammers use spoofed numbers to fool victims, with some numbers only being used for a few calls before they are rotated. This tactic, in particular, is hard to detect and needs more real-time data to identify.
Financial-related scams cover a wide variety of areas, not specifically just credit, mortgage, or debt-related matters.
“Hi. This is Ayla. I’m a timeshare administrator in the contract department calling on a recorded line. How are you today? I’m with the consumer council regarding a financial matter. My callback number is (833) 213 3710.”
“Financial matter” is used in this script, which is vague enough to catch the unsuspecting victim off-guard. With this tactic, scammers use a strategy called “successive calling” to deliver several calls within seconds of each other. This tactic is used to evade scam detection and receive an answer quickly.
To be a bit more specific, financial-related scams focus on offering debt relief through promotional help. You can usually identify these scams with a few keywords like “approval,” “request” or “following back up.”
“Hey, it’s Alexis from credit relief, and I’m just following back up with your online request for getting some financial help as I was able to get you approval. Just know that the program is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Press one to finalize the details if you think this will help and any one of us can help you out or press two to be added to the do not call list.”
We’ve covered this before, but scammers are known to demand quick wire transfers or cryptocurrency transfers as a scam tactic, which no actual person or professional company would request from a customer. Using rushed payment methods is a difficult, if not impossible, scam to reverse once the payment has gone through.
First Orion, a leading solutions provider for mobile carriers and enterprises, tracks scam call data to help us transform the mobile communications experience. We also protect consumers with our free PrivacyStar app, available for Apple and Android devices.