Nearly $30 billion lost to phone scams in 12 months | How you can protect yourself

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Nearly $30B lost to phone scams in 12 months
Wireless carriers continue to improve their technology to stop unwanted calls, but a record number of scam calls are getting through.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could block all robocalls before you even have the chance to pick them up?

Wireless carriers continue to improve their technology to stop unwanted calls, but a record number of scam calls continue to get through. Illegal and spoofed robocalls continue to be the number one complaint to the FCC.

But today the scams continue, and that's because scammers are making huge amounts of money. According to Truecaller's latest numbers, phone scammers stole $29.8 billion from victims in 12 months.

One network carrier T-Mobile, in its 2021 Scam and Robocall Report identified more than 21 billion scam calls in 2021. When you break that number down, that's 700 calls identified or blocked every second in 2021.

The most common scam call in 2021, according to the carrier's report, involved fake car warranties. The report also shows in 2021, there was a 116% increase in scam attempts when it comes to robocalls.

With T-Mobile, it offers Scam ID and Scam Block. With Scam ID, when a call comes in if that call is flagged it will show 'Scam Likely' on the device. With Scam Block, you do need to opt into it, which prevents scam calls from ever getting to your phone.

"We have a known database of scam numbers and if that number matches our database which we're updating every six minutes then we can prevent that call from getting through or identify it as 'scam likely' in the first place, and that way customers are getting hit with far fewer scam calls than they would have otherwise," T-Mobile's Steve Carlson said.

Other cell phone providers like Verizon and AT&T also offer scam call blocking technology, but you do need to opt in to some of their services.

The best advice to try and stop or avoid scam robocalls is to make sure you have that scam call blocking technology on your device, don't answer numbers you don't recognize, and remember any time you're asked for payment by a random caller, hang up. Also, register your number on the do not call list. If you received an illegal call or text, or if you think you're the victim of a spoofing scam, you can file a complaint with the FCC here.