T-Mobile: Customers protected from more than 40B scam calls in 2022

T-Mobile identified or blocked 41.5 billion scam calls in 2022, a 75% increase from 2021. #pressrelease

February 22, 2023

3 Min Read

BELLEVUE, Wash. – T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) today released its second annual Scam and Robocall Report, sharing new data looking back at 2022 to uncover insights related to scam, spam and robocall activity, as well as underscore how the Un-carrier helps to keep customers protected against these bad actors.

Scammers are continuously upping their game to find new tactics and targets, with total robocall attempts up 75% from 2021 to 2022. Scam call volume reached an all-time high in January 2022 due to a surge of caller retries resulting from the introduction of a new return code (608) mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. Then, scam call volume declined steadily each month throughout the year, with occasional spikes during seasonal scam surges. Several factors contributed to this decline, including ongoing improvements to scam protection technology like T-Mobile's Scam Shield, agility by mobile operators to implement new prevention tactics and regulator intervention.

Scam Shield is leading the way in keeping wireless customers safe from scams. In June, Verizon said they blocked 5B robocalls in the first half of the year. In that same period, T-Mobile's Scam Shield blocked an impressive 25B.

Common Scam Tactics

Scammers followed similar patterns from years past, targeting consumers more heavily on weekdays vs. weekends and heavily ramping up activity during the two weeks before Christmas (hello package delivery scams!). But even scammers need a break, accounting for why major holidays like Christmas, New Year's Eve, Easter, and 4th of July saw the lowest scam traffic dropping anywhere from 80-90%.

Vehicle warranty scams dominated the first half of the year, with T-Mobile's Scam Shield blocking nearly double the amount of scam and robocalls in the front half of the year – averaging 4.2B blocked calls/month – compared to the back half – which averaged 2.7B blocked calls/month. In July, an unprecedented FCC cease and desist identified eight wireless providers – not T-Mobile – in violation of carrying these calls, which effectively brought vehicle warranty scams to a halt.

Scammers never stay away for long, so as vehicle warranty scams went into hibernation, health and insurance-related scams quickly rose up to take their place. To maximize their profits, these bad actors adapted their tactics to target key moments throughout the year. Back to school? That's prime time for student loan fraudsters and Amazon scams. Tax season? IRS-related scams reigned supreme.

Target Regions/Demographics

Scammers hit some states harder than others, with Texas, Missouri, Nevada, South Carolina, and Oklahoma seeing the brunt of it, with victims often targeted by demographic and region. Texas received the highest volume of scam calls with insurance-related tactics targeting the uninsured and other unsuspecting victims. States with high senior populations like South Carolina are also key targets – imposters often mask as seniors' aid staffers going after Medicare and other health-related scams.

Hardest hit areas: Texas - San Antonio, Dallas, Tyler, Lubbock, and Fort Worth; Oklahoma - Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton; South Carolina - Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston

The industry continues to see a rise in robotexts as a way to deceive unsuspecting victims. As scammers adapt and use new methods, T-Mobile continues to adapt as well, increasing investment in network level robotext protection.

Read the full press release here.


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