The Margin: Robocall relief? FCC orders phone companies to stop annoying ‘auto warranty’ scammers

The Federal Communications Commission has ordered phone companies to block a slew of “auto warranty” robocalls.

These are nearly always scams, the FCC’s Robocall Response Team said this week. And the FCC said that more than 8 billion of these annoying “auto warranty”-related robocalls have originated from a group comprised of Roy Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones and their Sumco Panama companies, as well as other international associates, since at least 2018. Now all providers must block the robocall traffic from these callers immediately, the FCC said.

“We are not going to tolerate robocall scammers or those that help make their scams possible,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “Consumers are out of patience and I’m right there with them.”

These “auto warranty” scam robocalls, which typically claim that a person’s car warranty or auto insurance is set to expire, have led to more complaints to the FCC than any other form of unwanted call, the report said.

“‘Consumers are out of patience and I’m right there with them.’”

— FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

“Now that U.S. voice service providers know the individuals and entities associated with this scheme, the Enforcement Bureau will closely monitor voice service providers’ compliance with this order and take appropriate enforcement action as necessary,” said Loyaan A. Egal, the acting FCC enforcement bureau chief, in a statement.

These “auto warranty” robocalls are also currently being investigated by the FCC Enforcement Bureau and the Ohio Attorney General, the report said.

This is just one piece of the growing volume of spam calls blowing up everyone’s text messages and phone lines. Americans received more than 4.3 billion robocalls in June 2022 alone, which was a 8.5% increase from May, according to spam call-blocking app YouMail. And U.S. consumers lost $86 million from spam texts in 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FCC shared the following tips to protect yourself from robocall scams:

Don’t Share. Do not provide any personal information to anyone that calls you unexpectedly.

Be Aware. Telephone scammers are good at what they do and may use real information to gain your trust and imply that they work for a company you trust.

Caller ID. Criminals might use “spoofing” to deliberately falsify the information transmitted.

Double Check. If you think it might be a legitimate call, hang up and call the company with which you have an established business relationship using a phone number from a previous bill or on their website.

Let Us Know. File a complaint with the FCC:

Here are some tips to get rid of robotexts, too. Or watch this video for a few more ways to protect yourself from robocalls.

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