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Scam of the Month: The Auto Warranty Scam

The phone rings and it is an unknown number. You pick up the phone just in case it is something important. When you answer you are greeted by a pre-recorded message warning you about your car’s limited warranty. They know your name, they have your number…the only issue is that you live in the city, you don't have a car, and you’ve never even had an auto warranty. You have almost fallen victim to a scam, an auto warranty scam to be exact. This classic con is one of the most popular ways that fraudsters try to collect your personal information.

What is the Auto Warranty Scam?

“Hi, this is Susie calling with the vehicle service department. We are calling about your vehicle's manufacturer’s warranty. We sent you several notices in the mail that you have yet to extend your warranty past the factory cutoff. This is a courtesy call to renew your warranty before we close the file.”

 

The auto warranty scam is defined by its script and a few key details that remain constant. Using Hiya’s honeypot– a series of legitimate numbers used for recording robocalls– we were able to get a better sense of how these scammers operate. There are key phrases and concepts that remain the same from one script to the next, these similarities can help you identify when someone is fishing for your information. 

 

There are a few variations to the auto warranty scam. While the classic warranty scam is the most frequented technique, scammers will use many different avenues to reach their targets. Be sure to be aware of service scams, dealer scams, and extended warranty scams. They are slightly different approaches, but the end goal remains the same. These scammers are trying to get as much personal information out of you as possible. They purposely use something sensitive and expensive as bait to entice you into calling back. They are willing to take the chance that you have a car and an active warranty, regardless of the situation. They are not necessarily just after information about your car, they will use anything they can to gain your trust and ascertain details about your life.

How Popular is It?

When analyzing distinct calls made to Hiya (starting from 2019) there was a large surge of spam calls seen in 2021. The world was opening up again, businesses were hiring, and people were spending money again. It is the perfect time for scammers to try and grab this influx of funds. When taking a look at the callers per month we discovered a consistent increase in spoofed calls over time. It is no wonder that the auto warranty scam is probably the most popular scam out there.

 

From February 2022 to today, Hiya has received over 11 million calls. After checking the honeypot and diving deeper into the data we realized about 2.5% of all calls received were the auto warranty scam. While it may not seems like a lot, when we are receiving thousands of calls it tends to add up. According to data gathered from calls made to Hiya, scammers show no signs of slowing down. There has been a consistent average of about 10 million spam calls made– per month– since the beginning of 2022.

How Effective is the Auto Warranty Scam?

If you take every variation of the auto warranty scam into consideration then the average pickup rate lands somewhere around 20%. This pickup rate has remained stable throughout 2022. For scammers the callback is key. They are looking for you to offer your information as freely as possible. It can be hard to resist engaging with these con artists, especially when they leave a voicemail with details about your life. As the pickup rate grows, you can assume that the callback rate grows with it. If the fraudsters can get you to call back they will do the best they can to manipulate you into giving them your bank account number, social security number, and so on.

 

Call duration is a key metric to investigate when it comes to recognizing the auto warranty scam. In 2022, successful auto warranty spam calls last around 5 minutes. However, the average length of an attempted or failed call sits at about 100 seconds. This means that when a scammer gets someone on the phone, they tend to hold them there for a while. The longer these fraudsters keep you on the phone, the more likely they are to gather more information about you.

How to Fight Back Against Scam Calls

According to Hiya’s State of the Call 2022, 94% of unknown calls go unanswered, but with a proper fraud filter, your customers will feel safe answering your legitimate business inquiries.

Don’t let spoofed calls ruin your reputation. With Hiya Connect you can guarantee that your call will come across with key identifying information. Be sure to check out the State of the Call 2022 to stay up to date on the scams plaguing your voice channel.

Carriers can protect their customers from phone scams by adding Hiya Protect, which blocks or labels spam and scam calls with high accuracy, without blocking essential calls. It is used by phone carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and network providers who are looking to create a differentiated voice offering and increase customer satisfaction.

Enterprises can help their customers feel safe answering the phone by adding Hiya Connect, which enables businesses to display their company name, logo, and reason for the call on the recipient’s mobile phone. Branded caller ID identifies who is calling so customers will not be afraid to answer their phones.

Individuals can check with their phone carrier to see if it offers spam/scam blocking capabilities. If not, ask your carrier to consider adding Hiya Protect.

 

Author Katie DeMatteis

Senior Marketing Manager

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